On November 22, Governor Walz activated over 300 members of the Minnesota National Guard to help fill gaps caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing assistant services at nursing homes throughout the state by early December. These national guard members needed current medical training, and 16 Minnesota State colleges stepped up, including Saint Paul College, which provided Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training for 31 guard members.
Upon notification, Saint Paul College’s staff rapidly prepared on-campus CNA training for 12 hour-days beginning November 27 to help ensure soldiers are ready to deploy to nursing homes by December 6. This intensive 75-hours of training included lectures, skills, and hands-on application in our labs. Six instructors worked around the clock on this urgent mission, including two who came out of retirement, to help meet the demands of this unique situation. All 31 soldiers passed their test and were deployed to locations throughout Minnesota in advance of the December 6 deadline.
Many came together to help with making this event a success. The Dean of Health Sciences welcomed soldiers to campus, members of the school’s Veterans Committee helped with coordination, security and maintenance staff came in over the holiday weekend, and yellow-ribbon partner, Hiway Credit Union, brought in pizzas the first day of training. The team was grateful to serve with this vital mission:
“I feel privileged to be able to train the National Guard. This training has only come together because we have wonderful people at Saint Paul College. Every department had a hand in pulling the class together in record time!”
Linda Meyer, Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide Program Instructor
The Saint Paul College Certified Nursing Assistant program serves approximately 80 students who were all accommodated without impacting their regular schooling during this mission. This exceptional program is already on standby for another possible national guard deployment and unique training for various youth groups in the Saint Paul regional area.
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