Growth and Opportunities

Training -- Skills for Coping with Life


  • Provide educational inservices, with paid guest speakers, relative to personal life. Focus on topics such as stress management, parenting, budgeting, loss, death, family conflict, assertiveness, and motivation.
  • Provide programs specific to women's needs and women's issues.
  • Provide various modes of training (visual impact) and activity.
  • Provide onsite speakers.
  • Provide the opportunity for offsite classes at no cost to the employee.
  • Make connections with technical schools.
  • Utilize an employee assistance program (EAP) and encourage its use.
  • Provide a good explanation of the benefit package.
  • Training should be geared to employee learning needs and disabilities. Consider providing audio tapes and video tapes for reinforcement as well as providing additional one-on-one training as needed. Invite families to attend these educational offerings.
  • Provide employees with professional career assessment; encourage employees to pursue interests; help employees determine their abilities.
  • Set up special interest groups where discussion could take place on breaks or outside of work; examples include wellness programs, budget planning.
  • Support groups before or after work; brown bag lunches.

Training -- Professional Development


  • Provide educational inservices, with paid guest speakers, relative to professional development.
  • Focus on topics such as teamwork, facility goals, conflict resolution, cultural awareness, and communication.
  • Seek employee input for facility goal setting.
  • Host special theme days to educate employees about cultural diversity.
  • Conduct role playing sessions for which employees play the parts of residents and family members. This is excellent for a resident rights inservice. It allows you an opportunity to model acceptable responses to both appropriate and inappropriate resident and family interactions.
  • Create a career ladder; post jobs and in-house promotion opportunities; team leader positions.

Educate in Dealing with Difficult Behavior


  • Have nurses do role playing and have the CNAs critique them.
  • Incorporate a psychologist or a social worker from a geriatric program in your training.
  • Rotate the assignment of difficult residents.

Improving Organizational Skills


    Offer training in organizational skills.
  • Provide clear assignments.
  • Cluster assignments for better efficiency.
  • Provide needed equipment in good repair.
  • Have efficient employees train others on how they organize their tasks.

Written Growth Material


  • Develop and publish a VIP newsletter.
  • Share the Brown University Newsletter as appropriate.
  • Subscribe to a geriatric newsletter and share it with your employees.
  • Develop growth-oriented check inserts and send them with your employees' pay checks.
  • Provide geriatric magazines.
  • Provide a staff library.
  • Encourage employees to provide and edit informational material to share with other employees.
  • Purchase monthly mini-lessons dealing with care of the elderly.

Off-Premises In-Services


  • As you consider educational programs, include topics that enhance personal life.
  • Offer tuition support for offsite educational programs.
  • Allow an employee to attend an offsite program as a reward for good performance.



  • Provide scholarships for continued education in any health care field.
  • Suggest your auxiliary provide scholarships.
  • Suggest family groups contribute to your school fund.
  • Seek memorial contributions for scholarships.
  • Support staff fund raisers for scholarships.

Employee Assistance Programs


  • Offer facility-sponsored counseling services. Examples include six free hours of counseling for each employee after the 90-day probationary period, pastoral counseling for staff, and/or small group rap sessions with supervisors.
  • Provide informational material regarding parenting, divorce, drug, alcohol abuse, wellness topics, and financial planning.

Tuition Assistance


  • Provide tuition assistance and link its payback to continued service.
  • Include tuition assistance as a benefit.
  • Pay for textbooks.
  • Contract with a specific school for lower rates for your employees.

Educate Employees in How to Accept New Employees


  • Develop and establish preceptorship or partnership programs.
  • Conduct preceptor/buddy training; always work with the same trainer initially.
  • Assign a mentor to be a personal advocate for each new employee.
  • Assign each new employee a resource person for several weeks.
  • Provide one month of orientation for new employees.

Management/Supervision Training


  • Teach managers/supervisors to give clear direction and expectations and then how to respond when an assignment is done correctly or not done.
  • Instruct managers/supervisors in employee role requirements.
  • Stress programs on attitudes toward other employees.
  • Devote a portion of each employee meeting to management issues. Do role playing.
  • Utilize a RAP small group session structure and encourage open communication.

Specify Staff Responsibility


  • Have a good overall organization of the work.
  • Have good written job descriptions.
  • Provide unit specific assignment sheets and include special duties.
  • Develop a written protocol for resident cares available on each unit.
  • Dedicate special inservices to learn about other roles.
  • Periodically schedule a time for a few hours of job exchange.

Provide Reasons and Rationale for Duties


  • Providing clear direction with rationale for each task should be your standard operating procedure.
  • Feature regularly scheduled inservice and training programs.
  • Conduct annual skill testing.
  • Videotape live presentations to replay for those who were unable to attend.
  • Provide programs on coping skills to help employees adapt to a rapidly changing industry.

Career Ladders


  • Establish a career ladder for your CNAs. Consider steps for each of the following positions: preceptor, medication aide, ward clerk, data entry, and restorative aide.
  • Offer training for specialized units.
  • Develop criteria for each level of the CNA career ladder.
  • Have a charge CNA for each shift. This provides an opportunity to receive CNA feedback through one individual and to get new information to CNAs through one individual.
  • Promote from within.



  • Ask one of your employees to speak at a high school health occupations class.
  • Create a video describing the role of the person you hope to hire. Utilize this video for pre-employment purposes. Require job applicants to view the video prior to hiring them.
  • Incorporate employees at every level in your recruitment program at local career fairs.
  • Provide shadowing opportunities in addition to your verbal explanation of the CNA and other long term care professions.

Post Job Openings


  • Post job openings and update the listing weekly.
  • Search out qualified applicants within your facility.
  • Encourage promotions from within.

Trainer Bonus or Reward


  • Pay a different rate for trainers as part of your career ladder.
  • Pay a bonus at the end of the training period.

Peer Review


  • Allow employees to develop standards for themselves in the areas of inservice, attendance, scheduling, policies, and job routines.
  • Allow for peer input when conducting performance evaluations.

Self-Esteem Building


  • Encourage all employees to provide positive feedback.
  • Select an Employee of the Month or celebrate special staff recognition days.
  • Include line staff on facility committees.
  • Create a staff council for suggestions and problem solving.
  • Integrate the CNA as part of the resident care planning team.
  • Encourage employee participation in your quality improvement program.
  • Insist all employees show common courtesy related to the basics of life.
  • Offer training for specialty programs.
  • Provide literature and guest speakers on self-esteem.

Allow Day to Show Family and Friends Employee Duties


  • Have family members play the role of the resident for sensitivity training; talk about how they felt.
  • Host an open house and provide a demonstration of what the CNAs and other employees do.
  • Feature a "scatter board" of residents' interaction with staff.
  • Feature employees in your local newspaper.
  • Establish a program to allow a child to come to work with his/her parent.

Promote Good Health


  • Include training and tools as part of your employee assistance program (EAP).
  • Conduct health screenings onsite.
  • Provide wellness programs onsite and off.
  • Re-educate your employees about body mechanics.
  • Develop a back program and feature it at a work retraining session.
  • Insist on pre-work stretches.



Chapter One: Good Wages and Working Conditions

Chapter Two: Scheduling Options

Chapter Three: Recognition

Chapter Four: Feeling In on Things

Chapter Five: Fringe Benefits and Other Incentives

Chapter Six: Growth Opportunities

Additional Resources