The reassuring smile, the attentive ear, the observant eye. Nursing Assistants have all of these things. When you find yourself sitting in a cold, clinical exam room and a friendly face walks in, you’re being helped by a nursing assistant. They ask all the right questions, and make sure your doctor has all the information they need. Sometimes they’re the only person you need to see for shots or blood tests, or advice on medication. And this Saturday is the day we thank nursing assistants for all they do every day.
I doubt I could tell the difference between a nurse and a nursing assistant, and that is not to diminish the skills that both have, but they both have the ability to heal, which is what really matters to me. And many nursing assistants will continue taking classes and eventually become nurses themselves. I normally check name badges and lanyards for nursing assistant lapel pins before I assume one thing or the other.
But for all of the nursing assistants who become full-fledged nurses, the need for nursing assistants remains high. They are vital not only at hospitals and doctor’s offices, but also in nursing homes, day cares, and as home aids. The work that they do is vital to many people’s health, and this Saturday, and every day, they should get the thanks and recognition they deserve. So a card, flowers, or lapel pins are great ideas: small tokens of appreciation for a sometimes thankless job.