Today, June 9, 2016, kicks off National Nursing Assistant’s Week. This week we honor nursing assistants around the globe, whether they are known as nurse aides, direct care workers, caregivers, certified nursing assistants, geriatric aides, orderlies, home health aides or hospital attendants. These are the individuals who provide hands-on care and perform routine tasks under the supervision of nursing and medical staff.  As one certified nursing assistant put it, “in addition to being the eyes and ears of the nurses, a nursing assistant’s work is a mixture of janitor, maid, entertainer, family member, and forklift.” (Nursing Today)
National Nursing Assistants Week
Over 2.5 million nursing assistants help the elderly, frail or chronically ill individuals that live in nursing homes, their own homes and other long-term settings, as well as hospitals.  They provide nearly 80-90 percent of the direct care received by the patients in extended care facilities. Nursing assistants are special because they choose to do a job other people “won’t do” and often for minimum wage.
According to Corey Anne Rotella, CNA, who wrote in a blog for In The Know, she has learned many life lessons from her patients: They inspire me every day. To live with cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, cancer or dementia and still laugh and love and find joy is nothing short of amazing.  It’s such an incredible gift to be a part of their lives…to walk them through the tough days and celebrate with them during their triumphs.  They have shown me the uselessness of the word ‘impossible.’”
A colleague of ours, Mary, related her personal story about working as a nurse’s aide in a nursing home.
“I remember lifting men and women in and out of bed by myself. There were two aides on each wing for 60+ patients and only one nurse for the entire facility on our shift. We did everything, from dressing wounds to administering medication that the nurse dispensed, to feeding patients, changing bedding – some hourly – and doing laundry. We worked four days on and two days off. The hardest thing was returning after our days off to learn that one of our patients had passed away. It was one of the hardest jobs I ever loved.”
We hope you’ll join us this week in thanking the nursing assistants around the world.
~Michael and Frida Donner