Nursing assistants are a vital part of the health-care team, and they work hard to care for patients while lightening the load for their nurses. Since National Nursing Assistants’ Week happens to run from June 9 to 16, now is a great time to recognize their contributions to health care. As our tribute to nursing assistants during their special week, we’d like to cover a few of the many ways they help patients and nurses on a daily basis. Here are 7 of the things that nursing assistants do (one for each day of National Nursing Assistants’ Week) regularly to keep patients as safe, as healthy, and as comfortable as possible:
- Assist Patients with Personal Hygiene
In long-term and acute-care settings, patients often aren’t able to perform many of the daily activities that they’ve become accustomed to doing on their own. Daily hygiene tasks, for instance, are often difficult for patients to complete following major illness or injury. Thankfully, nursing assistants are there to help with daily hygiene tasks, like showering and shaving, so that patients are able to look and feel their best, even when dealing with serious health issues.
- Keep Patients’ Rooms Clean and Safe
Nursing assistants do a lot to keep patients safe, including keeping patients’ rooms clean and clutter-free. This is important, because for many patients, like those recovering from recent surgery, a fall can cause very serious injury. By maintaining clean living spaces for patients, nursing assistants improve patients’ quality of life while reducing potential tripping hazards.
- Help with Medical Procedures
Some of the medical procedures that nurses need to perform can’t be done safely or efficiently without assistance. Because of this, nursing assistants help nurses complete a wide range of different medical procedures by repositioning patients, providing comfort, and more. In settings where the nurse-to-patient ratio is poor, this assistance is absolutely indispensable. In some cases, like those involving cardiopulmonary arrest, nursing assistants help nurses and other health-care workers save patients’ lives.
- Respond to Patients’ Call Lights
When patients turn their call lights on, nursing assistants are usually the first ones to respond. When they do, they never really know what to expect. In some cases, patients simply want some help getting to the bathroom or back into bed. Other times, however, patients are dealing with physical or emotional emergencies, and the quick response of assistive personnel helps to ensure they receive the treatment they need as soon as possible.
- Obtain Vital Signs, CBGs, and More
With many nurses caring for more than 5 patients over the course of their shift, it’s simply not possible to obtain all of the assessment information needed without a little help. Nursing assistants provide more than just a little help, however, obtaining vital signs, CBGs, and more for their nursing staff. This help provides nurses with the extra time they need to perform their other duties with care and complete focus. In acute-care settings, it would be extremely difficult for units to function without the help of nursing assistants.
- Ambulate Patients
In post-surgical settings, getting patients walking is often an extremely important part of the recovery process. Unfortunately, the risk of these patients falling is often too great to allow them to walk on their own. Thanks to the help of nursing assistants, post-surgical patients are able to get up and move about safely so that they can reduce their risk of developing complications and play an active role in the recovery process. As they help patients ambulate safely, nursing assistants also give patients someone to talk to while walking through the hospital, which is something that makes the experience much more enjoyable.
- Provide Emotional Support
Health issues can be very taxing emotionally, and not all patients have the support structure needed to get through serious illness or injury. For instance, many patients in long-term care rarely see friends or family members, and they often have multiple medical issues to worry about. Nursing assistants provide their patients with the care and comfort they need to stay positive through trying times. As a result, it’s not uncommon for nursing assistants to build close relationships with the patients in their care.
Do you work with some amazing nursing assistants? Be sure to let them know how much you appreciate them over the course of the next week. Also, feel free to tell us and our readers about a few of your nursing assistants’ special contributions by leaving a comment in the section below!