National Guard troops begin CNA work at Green Bay Nursing Facility

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) – National Guard troops like Ian Mlsna were once trained in the use of weapons.

Then they were taught how to distribute the Covid vaccines.

“Maybe it’s not my area that I was necessarily going to play in, but I’m up for the challenge,” Mlsna said.

And today, the infantryman and his unit are charged with a new mission in the field of health.

“Wherever help is needed or whatever area you have to play in, you have to somehow do it and that’s what our leaders are training us to do,” Mlsna said.

After more than two weeks of training, a group of Wisconsin Guard members are now working as full-time CNAs — or certified nursing aides — at Odd Fellow Home in Green Bay.

“Before, I was quite nervous about the amount of training we were going to get,” Mlsna said. “I think we have just the right amount.”

Since Wednesday, Mlsna, a 25-year-old resident of Neenah, has been alone. It helps senior Odd Fellow residents and those recovering from medical issues.

“I think everyone has settled in really well at work and kind of understood ‘okay, I need to be a bit more relaxed here,'” Mlsna said. “It’s not about how much I can bench or lift. It’s about being fragile and making sure the residents are comfortable.”

It’s part of an effort with Bellin Health and HSHS to bring in troops, transfer patients and free up hospital beds.

But without sufficient personnel, the establishment needed the Guard.

“They’ve boosted morale in the building because they’re playful, but they take it very seriously,” said Charlene Everett, CEO of Odd Fellow. “I’m really proud, really proud to be a part of what they do.”

Members of the Guard are scheduled to serve in Green Bay until mid-March.

“It’s crazy to see when we walk into the room and all of a sudden they light up,” Mlsna said. “It’s kind of a change.”

Prior to this deployment, Mlsna worked in hospital security. But he says he may have found his new calling.

“It was something I wasn’t going to explore at first,” he said. “And now I’m kind of getting into it, looking into healthcare and maybe that could be a career path for me in the future.”

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