Social distancing brings certified nursing assistant programs to standstill, healthcare workers say

Because of social distancing guidelines, healthcare workers said close to 200 private certified nursing assistant programs are not able to operate fully right now.

"When you have to do foot care, you're teaching blood pressure, you have to be in close proximity," Dr. Cshanyse Allen, the owner of Innovative Healthcare Institute, said.

Registered Nurse Erika Stubbs told us students haven't trained since March.

"We have students that are becoming discouraged, they're wanting to work, wanting to go into these healthcare facilities, and help with the shortage."

A shortage that led Governor Brian Kemp to announce in his March executive order that nursing homes can offer an eight-hour training program for temporary nurse aides.

However, Stubbs believes student’s training to be CNA's are far more prepared to assist. Their nursing programs require 85-hours of training. 

"We would like to provide these facilities with the use of our students that have received more than eight hours of training. We trained with the proper use of PPE, handwashing."

But Dr. Allen believes the governor's temporary program doesn't benefit future CNA's.

"They're able to work for up to four months, but still they get no credit towards the CNA course or towards their clinical so that they can become certified," she mentioned.

The most recent numbers from the Georgia Department of Community Health notes more than 670 long-term care facility residents died after contracting the virus.

"We would love to be able to continue to train CNAs so that we can assist with the crisis with staffing in these facilities," Dr. Allen said.

Allen created this online petition asking the governor for an exception or removal of the six-foot social distance guideline.

Earlier this week, Allen and her colleague also took their concerns to the state capitol.

"It’s difficult teaching someone, the vital skills of blood pressure, how to transfer clients with this social distancing thing in place," Stubbs explained.

Allen said they are also planning a rally at the capital.