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Get the latest coverage of the 2023 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and 90.7 WMFE.

Lawmakers say CNAs taking more responsibility is one way to address nursing home worker shortage

Under a bill moving through the Florida legislature CNAs could get training as Medication Aides in nursing homes.
Christina Victoria Craft
Under a bill moving through the Florida legislature CNAs could get training as Medication Aides in nursing homes.

In an effort to address the ongoing worker shortage at Florida’s nursing homes, lawmakers are looking into a plan that would let Certified Nursing Assistants get trained as medication aides. Supporters say the plan would free up nurses and create a glide path for CNAs to get more training.

 “This bill would allow licensed nurses to concentrate on higher level care by delegating routine non-narcotic medication administration under their supervision," said bill sponsor Sen. Colleen Burton (R-Lakeland)

Burton said to earn the designation, CNAs would need to get specified training and must have worked as a CNA for at least a year.

Sen. Rosalind Osgood (D-Tamarac) says she saw firsthand when her grandfather was in a nursing home how over-taxed many nurses are. She thinks the proposed change makes sense for both patients and nursing home workers.

“So this opportunity will allow our CNAs to level up. They’re already there. A lot of times they have the best relationship with the patient because they’re already doing the caregiving," Osgood said.

Sen. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) sees the move as a chance for CNAs to advance their careers.

“I think this really gives our CNAs a glide path to become an LPN and then an RN. This is exactly what we want to do to build our workforce," Harrell said.

During a Senate hearing on the measure several groups including Leading Age Florida and the AARP signaled their support. Nobody spoke against the move during the committee meeting. A similar bill is moving forward in the House.

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Regan McCarthy covers healthcare and government in Tallahassee, Florida. She is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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