Certified Nursing Assistant

In the United States, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), Patient Care Assistants, State Tested Nurse Aid (STNA)or Nursing Assistants-Registered (NA/Rs), assist individuals with healthcare needs (often called "patients", "clients", "service users") with activities of daily living (ADLs) and provide bedside care—including basic nursing procedures—all under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) (Meyer).

In the UK, as in other countries, the CNA might also be called a Nursing Assistant (NA), Auxiliary Nurse (Aux-N), Patient Care Associate (PCA), Nursing Tech (NT), Healthcare Assistant (HCA), Heathcare Support Worker (HSW) or Clinical Support Worker.

The role is the same regardless of title or initials. The Nursing Assistant is an important member of the health care team who often holds a high level of experience and ability, but without qualification is unable to often perform some tasks due to issues of liability and legality. Attempts to regulate, control and verify education have been made in some places, and the result is the North American "CNA" (Certified Nursing Assistant), a credential gained by registering completion of the statuary level of workplace experience and academic achievement with a central body. This central certification allows an employer to verify experience and knowledge as well as to assist in preventing individuals who have been "struck off" (had registration/certification invalidated) from continuing to work in healthcare roles. In the UK, the credibility of the Healthcare Assistant and other social care workers is intended to be strengthened by their compulsory registration from 2009 with the General Social Care Council in England or its Scottish or Welsh equivalents.


In today's hospitals and extended care facilities a nurse assistant is an important part of a health care 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, such as formulating care plans, nursing assessments, administering medication, and assisting in surgery room preparation. 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 as the nurse's "eyes and ears".

A nurse assistant is usually responsible for Activities of Daily Living, which include bathing and feeding patients.

A nurse assistant must also have a strong grasp of emergency procedures and be able to stay calm in stressful situations. They must be able to initiate a Code Blue and be well-drilled in CPR.

In March, 2007 the National Center for Health Statistics published the results of a survey. The 62 page document is titled, "An Introduction to the National Nursing Assistant Survey." http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_01/sr01_044.pdf

Educational preparation

Federal nurse aide training regulations are mandated in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA 1987). State-approved training programs must be a minimum of 75 hours and include 16 hours of supervised clinical training. Aides who complete the program are known as certified nurse assistants (CNAs) or State Tested Nurse Aid (STNA) and are placed on the State registry of nursing aides. To maintain certification, all nurse aides must complete 12 hours of continuing education annually. Among the requirements for becoming a state-certified nurse assistant is the mastery of a set of basic skills. These skills are needed to care for patients in both long-term-care facilities and in home settings. The Nursing assistant skills descriptions refer mostly to the care of elderly patients, but most of them would apply to any nursing assistant situation.'''

See also


  • E. June Meyer, R.N., M.A. (2001). Nurse Assistant in a Long-Term Care Facility. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2000). An Ounce of Prevention Keeps the Germs Away Retrieved December 4, 2005.
  • Maggie Nicol, Carol Bavin, Shelagh Bedford-Turner, Patricia Cronin, Karen Rawlings-Anderson, Carol Bevin (2002). Essential Nursing Skills, 210-212. Google Print. ISBN 0-7234-3307-0 (accessed December 4, 2005). Also available in print from MOSBY.
  • Occupational Information Network (2004). Summary Report: Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants Retrieved December 4, 2005.

External links

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