Kaleida, Union and BOCES Address Nursing Shortage

Released: 11/5/2009
Tina Cieri, RN, Erie 1 BOCES LPN teacher; Carolyn Thomas, MS, RN, Erie 1 BOCES nursing program coordinator; Melody Jason, associate director of Workforce Development and Adult Programs at Erie 1 BOCES; Maureen Caruana, MS, RN, vice president of long-term care at Kaleida; Marc Walker, administrator of the Deaconess Center; Cathleen Calleri, program specialist of the training and upgrading fund, 1199SEIU.

West Seneca, NY - Faced with impending license practical nurse (LPN) shortages in their long-term care facilities, Kaleida Health administrators met with 1199SEIU union representatives to brainstorm solutions. The result was a unique training agreement between labor, management and a partnership with Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).   

The agreement formed a BOCES LPN class at Kaleida Health’s Deaconess Center. Over the next year, select Kaleida certified nursing assistants (CNA) will attend classes and hands-on clinics to prepare for their LPN exams. Fully committed to the program, Kaleida provided classroom space, clinical opportunities and schedule flexibility for their CNAs. The union, 1199SEIU, is assisting students with their tuition costs.

The adult LPN training program, offered by Erie 1 BOCES, is traditionally booked solid a year in advance. Although Erie 1 BOCES did have a teacher available to accommodate Kaleida’s nursing class, they did not have the space. Kaleida’s commitment to provide the classroom space and clinical rotations at their long term and acute care facilities enabled Erie 1 BOCES to offer another class for 20 students. More than half of the LPN students at the Deaconess Center are Kaleida CNAs.

“The objective is that they will continue working for Kaleida after they achieve their LPN license,” said Maureen Caruana, Kaleida’s vice president of long-term care. “In addition, this was a significant step forward in partnering with the unions to create a win-win nursing solution.” 

"This is an incredible opportunity for career advancement for our members and the convience of the classes being offered so close to where they live and work is an added bonus," says Cathleen Calleri, program specialist of the 1199SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund 1199SEIU.

About Kaleida Health
With 9,500 employees, Kaleida is Western New York State’s largest private sector employer. More than one million patient visits are recorded annually at Kaleida Health’s Buffalo General Hospital, DeGraff Memorial Hospital, Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and over two-dozen community health care centers.  The not-for-profit family of health care companies also includes the Deaconess Center and Waterfront long-term care facilities, plus the nation’s oldest – and original - Visiting Nursing Association.

About Erie 1 BOCES Workforce Development and Adult Programs

For more than 30 years Erie 1 BOCES has been one of the largest leading providers of adult training in Western New York. Offering a wide array of part-time and full-time training programs under the direction of the New York State Education Department, their highly qualified instructors and state-of-the-art training facilities provide comprehensive training at competitive tuition costs in one year or less.