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Program prepares assistant nurses for geriatric care

November 28th, 2010

A $750,000 grant awarded to Texas Tech University Health Science Center (TTUHSC) by the federal Department of Health and Human Services will lead to the creation of a nursing program, which will train individuals to care for the elderly, according to the Abilene Reporter-News.

TTUHSC and the Sears Methodist Retirement System will offer the free, certified nursing assistant (CNA) training program at the Sears Windcrest Alzheimer’s Care Center beginning November 29.

Around 15 students will be trained every two weeks in the 75-hour nursing program, which requires individuals to pass certification tests and undergo evaluations.

Pearl Merritt, the regional dean and professor at the Abilene campus of the TTUHSC, says “the overarching goal of the program is to prepare more CNAs for the workforce to care for our senior population.” She also believes this program may be a stepping stone for students who seek higher levels of nursing education.

According to Merritt, the hope is to graduate between 250 and 300 certified nursing assistants over the next three years.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing states that the demand for nurses is expected to increase as members of the baby boomer population reach their 60s and beyond.