Thursday is an opportunity to show appreciation for caregivers who support some of the most vulnerable
Thursday June 15 is the 40th annual Career Nursing Assistants’ Day. This day recognizes nursing assistants who have dedicated their lives to the well-being of others for at least 5 years. This is an excellent opportunity to review what these healthcare professionals dedicate to our society, and to find ways to show thanks to a nursing assistant you may know.
What Career Nursing Assistants do
Nursing assistants play a key role in the lives of the people for whom they care. Today there are more than 4.5 million caregivers who provide hands-on care in long-term care settings such as nursing homes. These dedicated individuals care for a population of some of our most vulnerable citizens, who may be elderly or chronically challenged.
What roles constitute Career Nursing Assistants
The various titles of these important workers include:
- Certified Nurse’s Aide or Direct Care Worker
- Caregiver, Care Assistant, Health Care Assistant, Patient Care Assistant, or Personal Care Assistant
- Hospice Aide or Hospice Assistant
- In-Home Care Aide, ED Assistant, or Resident Assistant
- Geriatric Aide or Restorative Aide.
Nursing assistants advocating for themselves
William Painter, a past president of the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants (NNCNA), believes that all nursing assistants should take the initiative to advocate for themselves. He has offered several suggestions for how to do this:
- Use the Language of Respect and Cooperation on a daily basis when working with clients, coworkers, families and the community
- Make sure that you and your co-workers are registered to vote.
- Educate yourself and co-workers about the political issues that affect your jobs and the care you give. (Check news stories. Pay special attention to articles about wages and benefits, overtime pay, parity, staffing ratios, safety on the job, and job-training.)
- Get to know your lawmakers! Call your legislators. Write letters. Find out who the influential people are in long-term care and contact them. Get a small group together and make an appointment to visit.
- Practice your message and avoid complaining—be assertive and professional. It is your government and your money being spent! Don’t be chicken! They hear from the other “experts,” but if they are ever going to understand how it really is, they have got to hear directly from you!
- Look for and create opportunities to speak to churches, civic organizations, seniors groups, etc.
If you do know a nursing assistant, be sure to reach out to them on Thursday and thank them for the work that they do. Perhaps honor them with a card, or treat them to a coffee. Given all the responsibilities that have, it’s a small gesture than can go a long way in helping them to feel that they work they do is widely appreciated.
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