Lorien Health Services Responds to Nursing Shortage by Hosting Certified Nursing Assistant Apprenticeship Program

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball tells students a career in nursing, especially caring for elderly residents, will “help lighten their load, help brighten their day, and make their lives better.”

Lorien Health Services, a family-owned and operated assisted living/nursing home company and industry innovator, hosted 30 Howard County high school students interested in finding out more about what it takes to enter the nursing field.

Like many other states, Maryland is facing a major nursing shortage with the state having just 8.08 nurses per 1,000 people, which is below the 9.22 average for the U.S. and puts Maryland in the bottom 10 states, according to the publication, NurseJournal.

In response, Lorien is doubling its efforts to educate students in high school about careers in nursing and at nursing homes by providing them with resources to make the nursing assistant certification process more accessible.

Lorien Columbia Director of Nursing, Alfred Sesay, demonstrating how to use a lift transfer wheelchair with student.

Student group from HCPSS high schools.

Howard County Executive, Calvin Ball, addressing students.

(from left to right) Lorien Health Services COO Wayne Brannock, Lorien Health Services Director of Recruitment, Cherie Carter, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, Lorien Health Services Regional Human Resources Director, Ashleigh Cross.

“This shortage means opportunity,” Chelsea DuBey, Administrator at Lorien Columbia, told the students. “Opportunities for you at Lorien are endless.We are looking for talented young people who want to become Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) and Geriatric Nursing Assistants (GNA). We will train you. We will pay for your testing and training materials, and we will provide a path to success.”

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball addressed the students saying he hoped they remembered this day as a point when their careers began. Ball said a career in nursing, especially caring for elderly residents, will “help lighten their load, help brighten their day, and make their lives better.”

He shared a story about his mother who had “a significant health incident that was very challenging for her.”

“As we looked throughout the entire region … we came to Lorien because we knew she would have the best care possible. And she is thriving today, in large part because of that care,” he said.

The students, who are part of the Apprenticeship Maryland Program, Howard County Public School System, toured Lorien’s Columbia facility, met with Lorien executives and nurses to learn about what it takes to become a CNA and GNA.

The Lorien Recruitment team gave the students tips for resume writing and spoke to them about communication, working together and being punctual. They spoke about job pathways within Lorien, including becoming a dietician, a registered nurse, an infection control specialist, or even getting involved in marketing and communications.

“Don’t be afraid to open up and show us who you are,” Paige Keltz, a Lorien Recruiter, told the students.  “We are happy to talk to you. There is a place for you.”

This was the second apprenticeship program Lorien has held for Howard County students in the past two months.

Stephanie Discepolo of the Apprenticeship Maryland Program said this is the third year the organization has worked with Lorien and that 60 high school juniors have applied for the CNA/GNA apprenticeship program.

“The interest has grown tremendously,” she said. “In year three with Lorien we have seen a big increase in interest from the students.They rotate through the departments working in dietary, housekeeping, and activities. They are building on their competencies and by the end of the year, they are CNAs and GNAs. They are being paid to learn hands on.”

In addition to partnering with the Apprenticeship Maryland Program, Lorien is working with Baltimore’s Dwyer Workforce Development, an innovative nonprofit whose mission is to remove barriers to entering the healthcare profession as a CNA, and to encourage workers to stay by providing wrap-around services, mentoring, and opportunities for advancement to LPN and RN certification.

A demographic shift in the U.S. caused by the increasing number of older adults in society, is fueling what is known as the “silver tsunami.” The aging population, led by the baby boom generation, poses economic and societal challenges, including greater healthcare costs and stresses on the system especially when it comes to driving a demand for nurses.

The silver tsunami paired with a nationwide nursing shortage puts patients at risk, yet Lorien is determined to find an answer to the problem.

About Lorien Health Services 

Lorien Health Services is a family-owned and operated Assisted Living and Nursing Home organization that was founded on strong family values. Lorien continues to conduct itself in accordance with those values which also extend to our residents, their family members, and our dedicated employees. Our goal is to exceed the expectations of the people we touch by providing patient-centered care utilizing the latest in healthcare technology to attain the finest outcomes for our residents. Lorien Health Services was founded in 1977 by the same family that continues to lead the company today. Their mission and vision remain as they did then. For more information visit https://www.lorienhealth.com/about-lorien.