Imagine that you’re working full time, and in the middle of a 24-month MBA program that requires monthly out-of-state travel, your CEO challenges you to join him in becoming a certified nurse assistant as well.

In 2011 and 2012, I was working as the chief innovation officer for a multistate, long-term care organization. Our CEO challenged the entire leadership team to become CNAs along with him. Several of us were simultaneously enrolled in a two-year executive MBA program with the University of Miami in Florida.

During this time, we had six months to complete our CNA coursework plus the licensing test. Talk about an eye-opening experience. We took the course through a local university and learned our clinical skills at a campus health lab and a long-term care facility. We performed the multitude of tasks for residents under supervision. We read materials, watched videos, took quizzes and chapter tests, all without the benefits of technology. Not everyone passed the first time.

Before joining the world of CNAs, I had a lot of respect for clinical teams. But after my training, I reached a whole new level of respect. Being a CNA was very difficult and the CNAs that I met during training demonstrated dedication to caring for vulnerable people. I saw people who truly loved and cared about the people in their charge. Yet, with so many dedicated people in the industry, why is there still so much turnover?

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