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Without CNAs: ‘I am really afraid there won't be the care that is needed for our elders to survive.’

Provided by Karren Ganschinietz

Karren Ganschinietz lives and works in Boss, Missouri. She’s been a CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant, for nearly 40 years – working in assisted living facilities and home care.

She spoke with Missouri Business Alert about the shortage of CNAs in Missouri and how that could impact our healthcare systems, as well as the care patients receive.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words.

Karren Ganschinietz: There has been a lot of shortages – more due to the pandemic, and I really feel that shed a light about the shortages, but the shortages have always been there.

There's a lot of CNAs that are leaving the field due to lack of support – by their management, by their administrators – they're leaving because of the rate of pay, and it's really causing a lot of issues in long term care and in home health, and it's really putting our elders that we care for in a predicament that could cause harm.

We are the backbone to long term care, assisted living, home health, home care, hospice. We do everything that most people do not care to do.

It is a low paying job, but it's not all about the money – it's having the compassion to be so involved and be connected in our residents and clients and patients’ lives on a daily basis.

There is a shortage of CNAs all over Missouri, according to a 2023 workforce report from the Missouri Hospital Association. Along with hospitals, staffing nursing homes is a cause for concern.

And without us – they're gonna be lost because your doctors are not going to do that bedside care that needs to be done. Without us, I am really afraid there won't be the care that is needed for our elders to survive in this world. They're going to be forgotten without us.

You know, a lot of people tend to look down [on] being a CNA. We do get asked a lot, you know, why don't you want to go on and be an LPN or why don't you want to go on to be an RN? And I think a lot of people need to stop saying that because being a CNA is a very rewarding career.

You know, we don't get in the spotlight all the time, and the other thing is, you know as CNAs we do not judge who we take care of. So, I wish they would not pass judgment against us

I hope that people will see us as professionals because we are professionals. We want to be part of the team.

Hopefully our pay will increase, and just really let them [CNAs] know that we are part of the team, we are professionals, and, you know, rely on us because we rely on them to keep leading us in the right direction.

Katie Quinn works for Missouri Business Alert. She studied radio journalism and political science at the University of Missouri- Columbia, and previously worked at KBIA.
Rebecca Smith is an award-winning reporter and producer for the KBIA Health & Wealth Desk. Born and raised outside of Rolla, Missouri, she has a passion for diving into often overlooked issues that affect the rural populations of her state – especially stories that broaden people’s perception of “rural” life.
Missouri Business Alert keeps business decision makers and entrepreneurs informed about the stories important to them, from corporate boardrooms to the state Capitol.