This year, we celebrate the 44th annual National Nursing Assistants Week from June 17-24, which spotlights the exceptional contribution that nursing assistants play in delivering quality patient care.
The Role of Nursing Assistants in Patient Care
Nursing assistants, also known as CNAs, work in hospitals, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities. Their primary focus is caring for elderly and chronically challenged patients, and they are responsible for a majority of the direct care administered to them. Elders require a unique set of care. Nursing assistants provide an attentive, patient, and caring environment for them to live comfortably in their homes or other long-term care facilities. Although they primarily work with elders, they also work with patients of all ages in various healthcare settings.
Nursing assistants play a critical role in keeping their department running smoothly to registered nurses when they have many medically complex patients. Their direct responsibilities will vary based on what facility they are employed in and what level of need the registered nurses have.
Becoming a Nursing Assistant
Nursing assistants (CNAs) are supervised by a registered nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Many nursing assistants are already in nursing school and often leverage this career to learn more about the healthcare industry and gain real-world experience in the field. In some cases, they use it as an opportunity to see if they want to continue with the next steps of becoming a registered nurse or higher-level healthcare worker.
Since nursing assistants interact with patients on a daily basis, there are certain attributes that are imperative to finding fulfillment in this role, including:
- Advanced communication skills
- Time management
- Physical strength
You’re required to complete a state-approved training program to become a nursing assistant. These programs are held at certain institutions but vary based on students’ individual needs. However, most programs have the same prerequisites to get accepted. Additionally, there are some institutions that offer online programs.
Celebrating Nursing Assistants
This week is an excellent opportunity to inform others of how valuable nursing assistants are to providing high-quality patient care. The demand for nursing assistants is only growing at higher than average rates due to being primary caregivers for the aging population.
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