As of January 7, 2011, a new law was put into place changing the way that certified and registered nursing assistants complete requirements for their annual continuing education. This law change occurred because of an initiative that was run and passed by the Washington voters. (Initiative 1163) This first year of this law has been somewhat confusing for many businesses as well as nursing assistants because it changed a few issues : 1. December 31 is no longer the date for completion for yearly requirements, this changes to their birthdate yearly 2. No longer can a nursing assistant take any relevant continuing education, the law now requires DSHS to preapprove all continuing education that is considered “legal” . The new date for completion is a person’s birthdate, although DSHS required all nursing assistants with birthdates in the first 6 months of the year to complete their yearly requirement in 6 months (by June 30, 2012) and now everyone else to complete their 12 pre-approved requirements by their birthdates. From now on, all nursing assistants will be required to complete 12 pre-approved continuing education courses by their birthdate or CareForce (and all other employers) are required to terminate that person.
Confusion: Most nursing assistants, while informed of the change, were still in their minds holding to the December 31 requirement. In addition, most nursing assistants (and quite frankly myself) did not fully appreciate that the only continuing education programs that would “count” were those that were preapproved by DSHS.
Fortunately: CareForce is a member of the Home Care Association of Washington. Being a member of this association is crucial to both our being informed as well as our ability to contribute to the quality of care in the home health and home care arena. One of our benefits is complete access for our nursing assistants to the Home Care On Line University. This continuing education benefit is available 24 hours per day/7 days per week to our home care aides and allows them to take courses relevant to their care in the comfort of their own home, the library, or the CareForce offices. As a benefit, it is free to CareForce and all of our employees.
Success: With new deadlines and new learning for the CareForce nursing assistants, CareForce was able to achieve 100% success in staying compliant with the new law. By the end of July , 2012, our home care aides had completed 557 continuing education hours on the On Line University. These topics have all been pre-approved by DSHS to be “legal” continuing education. Such topics as boundaries, hospice, bathing, skin care, keeping the environment clean and helping the hearing impaired, we believe, will help our nursing assistants to provide excellence in care.
Thanks: To All of our staff who rocked the new continuing education law and keep us both informed and compliant with the law. YOU ROCK!!!!