July 28, 2021

Certified Nursing Assistants are Under-appreciated

“According to Monica Nash, a clinical outreach nurse at Montgomery Home Care and Hospice in Pennsylvania, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are the unsung heroes of the nursing field. These care givers are the ones who spend the most time with patients every day, helping them to bathe, eat, dress and complete many other intimate daily tasks.

Nash explains, CNAs often become, “”like an extended part of the [patient's] family.”" Because they spend the most time with patients, CNAs are usually the first to know when something is wrong, and they are the ones who relay this information to the rest of the health care team.

Yet, Nash and others believe that CNAs are often under appreciated. Nash says, “”I think they don’t get enough credit for the capabilities and the knowledge that they have.”" Burnout is high, due to the physically and emotionally demanding nature of the job and its relatively low pay. According to the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants, only 28 percent of CNAs continue to work in the field beyond five years and only 12.6 percent work in the field ten or more years. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for CNAs in 2010 was $11.66 per hour (among Certified Nursing Assistants who worked in nursing care facilities).

Some groups are trying to improve retention in the field. The National Network of Career Nursing Assistants sponsors National Nursing Assistant’s Week each June to highlight the contributions that CNAs make to patient care. They also organize a “”20 Year Club”" to recognize CNAs who work in the field 20 years or longer.

Although they may feel unappreciated, CNAs are a skilled part of a patient’s health care team. The federal government requires that CNAs complete a state approved training course that is at least 75 hours long and that they pass a certification test. Most states have additional and ongoing requirements that the CNA must complete in order to acquire and maintain certification. However, advancement opportunities are usually limited; many CNAs who leave the field do so to pursue additional education in other healthcare areas.”

Find out more at:


National Network of Career Nursing Assistants Homepage

Bureau of Labor Statistics Information on the CNA Profession

Up to Date CNA Salary Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

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