Certified Nursing Assistants: The Healthcare Industry’s Infrastructure

One of the healthcare industry’s largest segments, and growing by the day, is the long term care facility. This is evidenced by the booming LTC business fueled by the ever growing number of elderly entering the market place in need of a residence that supports their round the clock need for safety and comfort. Enter the long term care facility, i.e., the nursing home.

And who is the most valued member of the LTC healthcare team? The humble nursing assistant. It is the nursing assistant who logs the most time with residents of long term care facilities, satisfying their every day needs as they help the elderly LTC resident with their activities of daily living in this communal life style setting. It is the nursing assistant who interfaces with the nursing home resident, enhancing their quality of life by rendering compassionate, competent care while at the same time observing and reporting “red flags” to the higher-ups in order to stave off any looming healthcare crisis that may adversely affect the well being of their charges.

The role of the nursing assistant is so key that it is regulated by the government. In 1987 the Omnibus Budget and Reform act (OBRA) mandated that each state maintain a registry of nursing assistants. Since then, nursing assistants in each state have been screened,  trained and tested according to state standards and then entered into the state’s registry of Certified Nursing Assistants. Upon entering the state’s registry, the CNA is qualified to work in a nursing home, and the state keeps track of such things as certification dates and reports of abuse and neglect. The Omnibus Budget and Reform Act not only protects the vulnerable nursing home resident, it also validates the role of the nursing assistant in modern-day nursing homes. CNAs perform the most important and pivotal role in the long term care setting. Certified Nursing Assistants are the eyes and ears of the healthcare team in any nursing home – the first responders, if you will, in the care of nursing home residents. The CNA, by virtue of their job description, is the “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to the proactive delivery of care in nursing homes. 

While helping nursing home residents, the CNA is expected to recognize the initial signs of any number of healthcare crisis’, and know when and how to report those signs to the appropriate staff members who are authorized to intervene. The CNA is required by law to stay within the limits of their scope of practice, and that too is something they must be aware of and comply with. The CNA is the first line of defense for the residents they are taking care of. The role of the CNA is critical in the care people who are living in nursing homes. 

There are innumerable nursing assistants who have worked in nursing homes for years and years, caring for the needs of their residents often times without recognition for their selfless efforts. There is nothing more noble than the nursing assistant who has made a career of working in the nursing home setting. The job is often times thankless, except for the gratitude given by the nursing home resident who depends upon the kind and competent CNA who comes to them every day with a gentleness that can not be quantified. It is this quality that, undeniably, makes the CNA an important part of the healthcare industry’s infrastructure.

Bo Ramsey is a CNA Instructor at Express Training Services, LLC at the Destin Training Center. ETS is home based in Gainesville, Florida and has several other training centers in Florida that offer fast-track instruction for certification in many healthcare occupations. For more information call 866-346-0660 or go to expresstrainingservices.com

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1 comment
  1. Thank you for the shout-out! I love the job, despite the hard, often thankless work. Seeing that shine in the eyes of a lonely patient (I work in a hospital) is worth all the rest of it.

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