This week – June 17-24, 2021 – is National Nursing Assistants Week, a time to recognize the more than 1.5 million professionals who have dedicated themselves to providing care for others. Every day, in a variety of settings, certified nursing assistants (CNAs) help the elderly, disabled and other frail individuals maintain their dignity and improve their quality of life. 

These five facts underscore just how important CNAs are in supporting quality healthcare:

  1. Nursing assistants handle a variety of responsibilities. Working under a nurse’s supervision, nursing assistants help patients and residents with essential needs, such as eating, bathing, and dressing. Depending on their training, their duties might also include monitoring vitals and dispensing medication.
  2. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of nursing assistants work in nursing homes and hospitals.
    – Nursing care facilities – 37%
    – Hospitals – 27%
    – Retirement and assisted living facilities – 11%
    – Home health – 5%
  3. In many settings, nursing assistants are the primary caregivers. In nursing homes, for example, nursing assistants are estimated to provide 80% of direct patient care. About 1.3 million people reside in the nation’s more than 15,000 nursing facilities on any given day.
  4. Certification of nursing assistants became a federal requirement in 1987. Based on concern about the quality of care, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation that incorporated nursing home reforms, including the certification, testing, and training of nurse’s aides.
  5. World War I spurred the first nursing assistant positions. As nurses were deployed, the Red Cross trained nurse aides to help make up for the shortage at home. According to Red Cross history, the Volunteer Nurses’ Aide Service was established in 1918 to help provide care for returning veterans and address ongoing domestic needs. Then as now, the need for caregivers far outweighed those available.

Nursing assistants continue to be some of America’s most essential workers. To all nursing assistants across the country, we wish you a great week and we thank you for all the kindness and commitment you show to those who depend on you for care.

Are you a certified nursing assistant interested in new work options? At Gale Healthcare, we have thousands of professionals just like yourself working in long-term care and other settings. We offer you the option to work when and where you want, and we provide the added benefit of same-day pay. We invite you to apply today!


Photo Credit: Felice Fusco and Elwood Johnson / American Red Cross