Wisconsin News Roundup, Music From Building On Buildings, Seniors To Help Fill CNA Shortage

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Nursing homes around the state are having a hard time filling Certified Nursing Assistant positions, and an organization will soon start training senior citizens to fill those roles. We learn more about the shortage, and discuss the story behind the organization. We also recap the biggest news stories from around the state this week, and enjoy some music from the Madison-based group Building On Buildings.

Featured in this Show

  • New Program Will Train Senior Citizens To Become CNAs

    A new program set to launch next month will train senior citizens as certified nursing assistants and hopefully, alleviate the state’s shortage.

    Wisconsin currently faces a significant shortage of CNAs and that’s expected to get worse as the state population continues to age, according to reporting by USA Today Network’s Nora Hertel.

    “It’s not an easy job … it’s not glamorous work,” Hertel said. .

    With an average pay range between $11 to $14 an hour, Hertel said it can be hard to recruit new people to the position. In fact, she added, CNA is largely used as a stepping-stone to higher-paying jobs in the medical field.

    “People can get better paying jobs at McDonald’s and Walmart. Those retail and restaurant jobs are starting to pay more and CNA folks can’t compete with those wages,” Hertel said.

    Jean Burgener, a retired healthcare administrator, noticed the problem and seeked a solution. The problem, she said, was identifying a cohort of people who would be ready to take on the opportunity of taking care of others.

    “And with that I started thinking about, what about seniors in Wisconsin?” said Burgener. “We’re very capable, were very compassionate, we probably have cared for parents, we could maybe look at meeting that shortage.”

    Burgener met with CNA administrators at nearby Northcentral Technical College in Wausau to begin discussing a pathway towards certification for seniors who could work in nursing homes and other facilities part-time. Soon after, the Senior CNA Academy was formed and the first classes begin in February.

    Pinecrest Nursing Home in Lincoln County has already expressed interest in having the senior CNAs work at their facility, said Burgener. She said she hopes the program can continue to grow and help fill the CNA shortage gap.

  • State News Roundup For January 29, 2015

    A news editor joins us fpr the latest on a foiled mass-shooting plan in Milwaukee, the latest Wisconsin political polls and other headlines from around the state this week.

  • Madison Band Building On Buildings Balances Careers And Families With Music

    Madison band, Building On Buildings started out as a duo in 2013, and in the years since, vocalist and guitarist Erin Fuller has added three other members to fill out their sound.

    Fuller, along with the rest of the band, recently stopped by the WPR studio to play some songs from their latest self-titled album, and talk about how they balance their musical lives with career and familial responsibilities.

    Video highlights and audio of the artist’s entire performance in WPR’s Buck studio.

  • Can Senior Citizens Fill The Gap In CNAs?

    With a shortage of people to fill Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) jobs, one solution may be to recruit older adults into the field.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Matt Oleson Producer
  • Karl Christenson Producer
  • Galen Druke Producer
  • Nora Hertel Guest
  • Jean Burgener Guest
  • Rob Mentzer Guest
  • Erin Fuller Guest
  • Kris Hansen Guest
  • Eben Christensen Guest
  • Shawn Pierce Guest