CNA Shortage Index
The CNA Shortage Index is a quarterly estimate of how well the production of new certified nursing assistants (CNAs) is keeping up with the loss of CNAs through attrition.
Latest Update: Q2 2021
The CNA Shortage Index estimates that as of Q2 2021, there are 6.15 CNAs leaving the profession for every 1 new CNA certified in the state of Florida. The state of Florida faces an acute shortage that will compromise the quality of patient care if not remedied quickly.
Why CNA Shortages Hurt Patient Care
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) provide much of the direct patient care in many facilities, including assisting patients with eating, bathing, dressing, and repositioning, as well as monitoring their needs and alerting other staff about medical issues. CNAs are a vital part of the healthcare team, seeing to their patients’ daily needs and comfort and often supporting their social and emotional needs.
CNAs are employed in many healthcare settings, including hospitals, long-term care (nursing home) and skilled nursing facilities, and in-home care providers. Nursing homes are particularly vulnerable to CNA shortages, because CNAs make up the largest employee job group in these facilities by far, and state regulations require minimum ratios of CNAs to residents.
If there are not enough qualified CNAs to be hired in an area, one or more consequences may result, all of which hurt patient care in some way:
- Healthcare facilities may limit patient or resident occupancy by limiting intake of new patients or by more quickly transferring patients to other types of settings or facilities that have fewer staffing requirements
- Employers may cut corners on either the number of available CNA staff or the qualifications of individuals hired to perform CNA duties, even at the risk of being noncompliant with applicable regulations
- Industry pressure may force a watering down of already barebones staffing requirements
The CNA Shortage Index is calculated from data sources including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) annual update of occupational data and the Florida Board of Nursing’s (FBON) CNA exam pass rates by training provider.
The BLS data provides an annual census of individuals employed as nursing assistants, by metro area and by state, each May. Our analysis infers the number of individuals employed in this occupation per quarter based on actual BLS data or our projections based on the BLS data.
FBON’s quarterly release shows the number of individuals who successfully challenge the state’s CNA test for each approved training provider. Adjustments are made to account for CNA passes by individuals who do not graduate from state-approved training providers and a portion of CNA exam takers who never intend to be employed as CNAs.
Combining the BLS and FBON data, we can calculate the gross number of CNAs added per quarter and the number of CNAs estimated to have left the occcupation that quarter. The ratio between these two figures is the CNA Shortage Index.
For more information about the CNA Shortage Index, contact Mike McHugh at 913-254-6014.