Senate Approves Senator Ward’s Bill to Provide Certification to Temporary Nurse Aides

HARRISBURG – The Senate approved a bill this week that would allow temporary nurse aides hired during the COVID-19 emergency declaration to receive certification to continue working in the field.

At the outset of the pandemic, Pennsylvania authorized individuals to be hired as nurse aides on a temporary basis after they completed an approved 8-hour online training and passed a preliminary examination. Unfortunately, under current law these individuals will no longer be able to work as nurse aides once these temporary provisions expire.

Senate Bill 1268, sponsored by Senator Judy Ward (R-30), would amend the law to deem temporary nurse aides hired during the COVID-19 emergency declaration to have satisfied the necessary training and testing requirements to be certified to work as a nurse aide on a permanent basis.

Candidates would be required to complete the online training program and competency assessment, complete a minimum of 80 hours working as a nurse aide under the supervision of a licensed or registered nurse, and competency by way of exam, certification or assessment.

Without this legislation, nurse aides hired on a temporary basis will no longer be able to work as nurse aides when the pandemic emergency provisions expire.

“This legislation provides a path to full-time employment for those who have served admirably and compassionately as a nurse aide during the severe challenges of caring for our most vulnerable citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ward said. “I am thankful to see this important measure advance through the Senate to bring us one step closer to providing for the workers who stepped forward during these challenging times.”

“We greatly appreciate Senator Ward’s strong support for long-term care providers during the pandemic and her leadership on this important bill. It is critical that individuals who stood up to care for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens during COVID-19 be recognized for the work they have continued to do, despite the risks.  Senator Ward’s bill will allow these individuals, who have demonstrated both their competence and their dedication to nursing home residents, to continue their important work and be recognized not as temporary workers but as full nurse aides,” said Adam Marles, President and CEO Leading Age PA.

“Since the temporary nurse aide position was formally approved in the Commonwealth, nearly 3,000 Pennsylvanians have completed the training program, and hundreds have been hired to assist long-term care providers in their response to COVID-19. We are grateful to members of the Senate for moving this legislation forward, and for Senator Judy Ward’s leadership in standing up for nursing homes in her district and throughout the state. If enacted, this bill will recognize the heroic and compassionate work these caregivers have performed since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and put them on a path to full-time employment as certified nurse aides,” said Zach Shamberg, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Health Care Association.

CONTACT:  Cheryl Schriner (717) 787-5490

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