BHS Launches New Training Program to Support Nursing Assistants

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) is taking action to address staffing challenges that are currently impacting the healthcare workforce. 
 
With position vacancies and high turnover rates impacting hospitals across the nation, BHS has been piloting a series of workforce development pipeline programs for nursing assistants, medical assistants, licensed practical nurses, and registered nurses designed to expand and build a skilled healthcare workforce, right here in the Berkshires.   
 
"There are many in the Berkshires who are looking for meaningful work—they may be just starting out, looking to make a change, or hoping to take the next steps in their career," explained Patrick Borek, BHS Vice President of Human Resources.   
 
Borek continued, "Our goal is to create a direct career path from education and training to full-time employment in healthcare.  We recognize that many strong candidates face personal challenges that can create huge hurdles to employment, and we are designing our training programs to help reduce those barriers and help candidates succeed."  
 
For example, BHS covers the cost of all training in its pipeline programs and, in most cases, also pays a full-time salary with benefits to the program participant while they are completing their training course so that no candidate is required to make the difficult choice between receiving a full-time salary and completing the training requirements necessary to advance their career.  
 
One area of significant pipeline growth has been in the Nursing Assistant Training Program, which helps train and place candidates as nursing assistants at Berkshire Medical Center. Program participants receive three weeks of intensive, on-the-job training from an expert team of nurse educators and are eligible to receive full-time nursing assistant wages and benefits as soon as they begin their training. At the conclusion of their training, nursing assistants are accepted into full-time caregiving positions. The program accepts new applicants monthly and recently announced a significant hourly wage increase, in which starting nursing assistants can earn up to $25/hr. 
 
"We are thrilled to be welcoming new nursing assistant candidates into this pipeline program that helps to connect motivated individuals with a meaningful career where they can make a difference for patients every day," said Brenda Cadorette, RN, Chief Nursing Officer at Berkshire Medical Center. 
 
Cadorette continued, "Our nursing assistants provide foundational support to patients and families at the bedside. We are excited that this nursing assistant pipeline program recognizes the importance of nursing assistants and the incredible value that they bring to the patient care team."   
 
To learn more about the Nursing Assistant Training Program and all of our pipeline programs, please visit www.berkshirehealthsystems.org/careerpipeline.

Tags: BHS,   BMC,   

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20 Years After Suicide Attempt, Kevin Hines Talks Prevention

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

DALTON, Mass. — Kevin Hines was just 19 years old when he jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and immediately regretted the decision.

He survived because a phone call from a bystander and the help of a sea lion and has since dedicated his life to suicide prevention, becoming a best-selling author and a producer.

On Monday, Hines spoke to a crowd of about 60 people in the Wahconah Regional High School auditorium. The prior day marked 22 years since his suicide attempt.

There was complete silence as he detailed his early life of squalor, his adolescent years of masking emotional pain, and when he decided to take his own life.

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