How to Train and Retain Your CNAs

Post - How to Train and Retain Your CNAs

The increasing percentage of individuals who need nursing care is unprecedented in US history. The rise in the population of patients who need quality care is rising, and unfortunately there is not always nursing care available to meet the demand. Luckily, an influx of nursing care can be provided through training and education programs for certified nursing assistants (CNAs). According to research conducted by the National Library of Medicine, the nursing staff in nursing homes comprises sixty to seventy percent of CNAs and provides eighty to ninety percent of direct resident care. Additionally, there are over 16,000 nursing homes in the United States, with over 1.7 million beds. The number is set to increase in the near future, and there is a need to train more CNAs and develop retention programs, to reduce turnover. It is important to highlight a greater need for CNAs to be trained and educated to offer quality for patients and their families. In the United States, there is a concern about insufficient CNA education. According to CNA Certification, learners in CNA programs attend approved education interventions comprising one hundred hours of preparation, thirty hours of clinical experience, and seventy hours in the laboratory or classroom. The curriculum topics in these programs generally entail assisting with daily living activities, introducing health care systems, fundamental nursing assistant skills, and many others. However, CNA education should not end in the classroom. The main areas requiring training or education among CNAs in long-term care facilities include role delineation, care goals, communication and interactions, and symptom management. In addition, CNAs need to be educated or trained on communication with nursing care residents and families, personal development and self-care, loss and grief, and pain management. This is why it is important for skilled nursing facilities to properly train and retain their CNAs, so that their patients receive the best possible care. 

The Causes of Turnover 

There are many factors that contribute to high CNA turnover. Some reasons include: 

  • Limited opportunity for advancement
  • Heavy workloads
  • Inadequate benefits
  • Low wages. 

Chronic staffing shortages, disproportionate CNA staff to patient acuity, rigid work hours, lack of communication and teamwork at all levels, insufficient recognition for their work, and lack of respect from managers, colleagues, and peers can lead to poor job satisfaction and escalate the chance for CNA turnover.

The Prevention of Turnover 

Employee engagement and supervisory support are two main factors that could positively influence recruitment and retention efforts. Supervisory support is linked to reducing workplace stress levels and intentions to leave a facility. Studies have shown that CNAs who felt high empowerment were likely to have higher commitment and job satisfaction, less burnout, higher self-esteem, good peer support, enough time to provide care, and positive performance.  In addition, training on time management, receiving or giving feedback, team building, professionalism, communication, and assertiveness improves retention among CNAs. The CNA task force, which was discussed in the article written by the National Library of Medicine, was developed to research and determine the challenges that can adversely impact CNA retention. The survey data found mandatory overtime, lack of resource groups, educational opportunities, involvement in committees, and recognition among the factors that led to higher rates of CNA turnover.


Management initiatives to enhance organizational culture are essential to improve CNAs’ retention. Various surveys have identified ways to improve CNA retention. These include:

  • Scheduling staff fairly
  • Maintaining adequate staff
  • Career advancement opportunities
  • Mentoring programs
  • Ongoing education

It is crucial for healthcare institutions to invest in these programs early in the employment cycle, beginning with the hiring process, to ensure maximum CNA retention level.


Ongoing training is pivotal to the success of CNAs. Providing monthly or quarterly training sessions will ensure that CNAs are empowered to give the best quality care possible to patients. Training platforms like offer training solutions for skilled nursing staff including Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).  provides ongoing educational development for CNAs, and ensures that your facility remains compliant with federal and state regulations. Retention of CNAs in healthcare institutions is essential as the high CNA turnover rate has proven disastrous to the cost incurred in quality care. The number of individuals needing quality care is rising, and thus, more CNAs are required. It has been identified that limited opportunity for advancement, heavy workloads, inadequate benefits, lower wages, chronic staffing shortages, disproportionate CNA staff to patient acuity, rigid work hours, lack of communication and teamwork in all levels, insufficient recognition for their work, and lack of respect from the management, colleagues, and peers can put the CNA team at risk of poor job satisfaction and increase the chance for turnover. Therefore, scheduling staff fairly, maintaining adequate staff, developing career advancement opportunities, creating mentoring programs, and providing ongoing education to improve CNA retention is essential. In addition, CNAs must be trained or educated in role delineation, care goals, communication and interactions, and symptom management. 

For more information on how can help you train and retain your CNAs, and so much more, click here. 


A view of the showdme compliance training experience across multiple devices

Let Us Show You More

See how showdme's unique service-first approach helps hundreds of healthcare organizations ensure compliance. Request a demo today!