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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: April 1, 2021 11:11 AM
From: Senator Judy Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Online Education & Nurse Aide Training Program
I am introducing legislation that would allow individuals participating in a state-approved nurse aide training program to complete the education portion of their instruction via online courses.
Presently, a state-approved nurse aide training program is comprised of at least 120-hours of in-class and clinical training. While learning has traditionally taken place in a bricks-and-mortar classroom, times have changed.
More and more students are pursuing their education online. According to a Babson Survey Research Group report entitled “Grade Increase: Tracking Distance Education in the United States”, distance education enrollments have increased for the fourteenth straight year. The study indicated that 31.6% of all students now take at least one distance (online) education course. In addition, online learning has grown significantly since the outbreak of COVID-19 as schools and universities were forced to provide distance education.
Recognizing the increasing role that online education is playing in learning, I believe we need to update the current program requirements for nurse aide training to allow individuals the ability to take courses online in satisfying the educational portion of their instruction. This revision would allow more individuals who have an interest in being a CNA to consider it by taking classes online and help address a long-standing labor shortage issue that the nursing home industry has been facing. Online courses would offer individuals the flexibility of taking classes on their own schedule and the convenience of completing assignments from home.
It is my understanding that Minnesota already permits online education as part of their nurse aide training program and other states are considering it. This measure is supported by LeadingAge PA and the Pennsylvania Health Care Association.
Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB729