Why We Can’t Live Without Our Nursing Assistants

« Back to All Blogs
nursing assistant helping a patient walk
Published:  June 17, 2024

When you think about the members of your care team you see most frequently, you may think of your certified nursing assistant (CNA). These selfless caregivers provide near-constant support for so many aspects of patients’ lives. That includes medical care, lifestyle support, and being someone to talk to.

This June 13-19, we celebrate Certified Nursing Assistants Week. This is a time to recognize the role and importance of these crucial members of the care team. Learn more about why we simply cannot provide care without nursing assistants.

History of Nursing Assistants

The role of nursing assistants began in 1918 when the American Red Cross began the Volunteer Nurses’ Aid Service. This group supported overworked nurses caring for returning World War I veterans and victims of the Spanish flu.

Today, nursing assistants continue to provide crucial support for nursing staff. Certified nursing assistants must complete a basic nursing assistant training program to practice. This certification often varies by state. Generally, these professionals offer personal health care and support to patients in their homes. These services include providing a safe and clean environment and collaborating with patients in their care.

Nursing assistants help care teams in hospitals, nursing homes, home health and hospice situations, and more. They care for long-term patients or those with serious medical conditions needing constant, hands-on support.

Role of Nursing Assistants

Nursing assistants care for the physical, emotional, mental, and even spiritual health of their patients. While roles vary depending on the patient, nursing assistants support patients with activities of daily living. This support includes:

  • Cleaning: Nursing assistants can help patients stay clean, safe, and comfortable by maintaining a safe and healthy environment. That includes disinfecting surfaces and picking up items that patients might trip on.
  • Emotional support: Nursing assistants interact with patients regularly. That means they get to know patients and their families on a personal level. They play an important role in creating a positive, supportive, and healthy environment for healing.
  • Hygiene: CNAs support patients with bathing, dressing, grooming, and going to the bathroom with dignity. These tasks may not seem like medical care, but they help ensure proper hygiene that can aid in keeping patients healthy.
  • Medical support: Nursing assistants provide direct patient care under the direction of registered nurses. They support treatments and procedures and take vital signs to monitor certain conditions.
  • Moving: For patients with mobility issues, CNAs can help with moving in and around their homes and to and from their transportation.
  • Nutrition: Nursing assistants assist patients in eating and drinking. This service helps ensure patients can maintain a nourishing and healthy diet.
  • Patient monitoring: Nursing assistants are constantly with patients and can check for changes in health. They also provide documentation to the care team that helps with continuity of care.

We are proud to recognize all our nursing assistants who provide hands-on care every day to keep our patients safe and comfortable.

Share with a patient, family member or colleague