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WI National Guard’s next mission: Nursing training at Madison College

The Evers Administration announced the initiative last week, predicting that 200 of the new certified nursing assistants would fill nursing homes.
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 5:24 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2022 at 6:39 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin National Guard members headed back to school as they prepare for roles in the state’s nursing homes. The plan is they take a crash course at Madison College to become certified nursing assistants before heading to the facilities, which will then send some of its members to fill temporarily staffing shortages at hospitals across the state.

The Evers Administration announced the initiative last week, predicting that 200 of the newly certified nursing assistants would fill nursing homes and expand capacity. At the time of the announcement, 50 Guard members had already deployed and 80 more were beginning their lessons.

“We see ourselves as neighbors helping neighbors, and when we say that, we mean it. We will continue to assist our state in any way we can because we live and work in these same communities across Wisconsin,” Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp said at the time of the announcement.

To get certified, Guard members will need to complete a 75-hour curriculum. The training also includes earning two digital badges based on nurse aide training and supervised practical training.

The effort is the first time the Dept. of Health Services, the National Guard, and Madison College teamed up to train future nursing aides as a way to offer relief to hospitals driven to capacity by COVID-19 and other patients.

The National Guard explained its members would not be assigned to a facility until that location requested assistance, nor would they go on their own initiative. After this class is complete, another 80 Guard members will step up for the same training in February, with the hope of deploying by the end of that month.

This effort is just the latest in the Wisconsin National Guard’s role in battling the COVID-19 pandemic. According to its figures, the Guard has administered 1.2 million COVID-19 tests and nearly a quarter-million vaccines among other missions.

“The Wisconsin National Guard has been heavily engaged in the battle against COVID-19 since day one of this pandemic,” Knapp added.

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