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Celebrating Nursing Assistants Week June 13-20th

Now more than ever before a lot of attention is being directed to the care of our elders, frail, and disabled citizens. Nursing Assistants, or direct care workers, are a vital part of the healthcare team for patients and clients in many healthcare settings, and are honored during the week of June 13-20th by celebrating Nursing Assistants Week. There are about 1.5 million jobs in the United States filled by certified nursing assistants, nursing aides, and direct care workers with the demand for qualified nursing assistants expected to grow over the next 10 years.

The history of the nursing assistant actually dates back to the time of World War II.  The American Red Cross created a program to train individuals to assist nurses during the war time.  The program was referred to as the Volunteer Nurses’ Aide Corps and more than 200,000 women participated in this program pledging a minimum of 150 hours annually to perform non-technical nursing services at civilian and military hospitals in the United States.  Officials predicted that by the end of the war and after the return of the nurses from service that the need for nurse’s aides would be eliminated, but they were wrong.  Time has shown that the need for good health care assistance that is provided by nursing assistants is still a vital part of our healthcare system. 

Nursing assistants earn our admiration every day by providing direct care to the sick, frail, and elderly in a variety of settings: hospitals, assisted living facilities, long term care facilities, and in the patients’ homes.  Those that have walked in their shoes know the hard work and dedication of a nurse’s aide and unfortunately they are often the unsung heroes of healthcare. 

Research has shown that a high turnover rate among our nurse aides corresponds with poor quality of care. Culture change initiatives are underway in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home health agencies across the nation to make aides’ jobs more fulfilling; sometimes not so much by higher pay but by offering better training, more responsibility, and more appreciation and respect from superiors.   It is through these improvements that staff turnover will be reduced and the overall care of your clients and residents improve.

These direct caregivers truly are the heart of caring in our healthcare systems, as National Nursing Assistant week will be celebrated for the 36th time in the year 2013 please join us in expressing our appreciation for the important role these care givers provide.
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