Second-career CNAs in nursing homes: Tapping an underused resource

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The purpose of this study was to describe the characteristics, work perceptions, and factors influencing employment of second-career certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in nursing homes. The qualitative descriptive design included a purposeful sample of 17 participants from 5 nursing homes. Data generation consisted of demographic surveys and audiotaped interviews that were transcribed, coded, and analyzed for emerging themes. Four themes were identified: negative first impressions of the work did not deter second-career CNAs, second-career CNAs lived out personal ideals and values through their work, positive relationships and job benefits retained second-career CNAs, and second-career CNAs expressed hopes for transforming nursing homes. Results revealed a group of committed, mature workers to fill labor shortages in an essential health care setting.

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