This is a speech recently given by Holly Edwards, a registered nurse and member of the city council in Charlottesville, Virginia. She gave the speech at a CNA Celebration Dinner on June 19, 2008.
In today’s hospitals and extended care facilities, a nurse assistant is an important part of a healthcare team that includes many personnel outside of nurses. Nurse assistants are needed to provide routine care so that nurses can provide care that only they can perform as outlined by each state’s Nurse Practice Acts. The nurse assistant must not only be very skilled in the actual procedures being performed but must also be able to observe a patient’s condition and report that information back to the nurse. Due to other responsibilities, the nurse cannot spend large amounts of time in the room with the patient, so the nurse assistant is often referred to the as the nurse’s “eyes and ears.”
That overview or definition of a certified nursing assistant came from a Wikipedia web site. It went on to say that federal nurse aide training regulations are mandated in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, a sweeping government reform to improve the quality of nursing homes. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the first major revision of the federal standards for nursing home care since the 1965 creation of both Medicare and Medicaid. This required that state approved training programs must be a minimum of 75 hours and include 16 hours of supervised clinic training. Aides who complete the program are known as certified nurse assistants (CNAs) or State Tested Nurse Aides. Their names are is placed on a state registry of nursing aides. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act OBRA 1987 created the Nurse Aide Registry and Training Program that we know today.
The Wikipedia definition describes what you are, but as I pondered about what I wanted to share with you this evening, I realized that it lacked a description of how you do what you have chosen to do.