Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Today’s reader note poses an interesting question about professional certifications.
Hi Sharlyn. I have a question. I hired a certified nursing assistant (CNA) for a few months last year. Now, they want to return for about a month. I’m struggling to find information as to whether they would have to complete their entire training again or if there were only some trainings that they would need. For example, only the ones where the content has changed.
I have looked at the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) websites but have not been able to find any specifics. Would you happen to know anything about this? Thanks so much, and I hope your week goes very well!
Unfortunately, I do not know any specifics regarding certified nursing assistants and their training requirements. I did do a quick internet search and found that my state board of nursing has information about CNA licenses, so that might be a place to start. I’d also suggest calling your legal and risk departments to see who has accountability for maintaining the proper training – the person holding the license or the organization, possibly both.
But I think this note really raises some questions about professional certifications and how individuals and organizations need to view maintaining them.
First, I couldn’t help but wonder why the CNA couldn’t provide this information to their organization. They are the person who is holding the license or certification. Even when the organization supports an employee getting a certification or license, it belongs to the employee. The employee should know the requirements for maintaining and renewing their professional certification.
But for a moment, let’s cut the employee some slack. Things have been crazy lately and the employee just simply let monitoring their training requirements fall off the radar. From personal experience, I have months were I’m super diligent about tracking my professional development credits (PDCs) and months when I’m not. But I will say that the closer it gets to my renewal date…the more focused I am on making sure I have everything I need.
That takes me back to the employee. When they contacted the company to see about coming back to work for a month, why didn’t they already have the answer to the training question? As in, “Hey there! I’d like to come back for about a month. I already checked with the state board, and I only need to take these two classes – ABC and XYZ – to keep my license current.”
And again, I don’t know the specifics when it comes to CNA licensing, so I don’t know what happens if you don’t do what you’re supposed to. However, I do know for my own professional certification that it can be revoked, after a disciplinary review. It’s outlined in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Certification Handbook.
While I don’t know the details of a certified nursing assistant, there are some expectations and rules around certifications that seem quite consistent. The person holding the certification should know how they appropriately maintain their license or certification. If they don’t, they should be able to find the organization that gave them the credential and get some answers. And they should be able to work with the organization to make sure that the proper processes are followed.
Bottom-line: Employees, make it easy for the organization to support your license or credential – in terms of time, training, and money. Organizations, set the expectation with employees that they are expected to stay educated about the requirements of their credential and keep the company informed of any updates. Professional certifications are a great thing and we need to stay educated on the proper activities to maintain them.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby at the SHRM Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA17