This year, National Career Nurse Assistants Day is June 16, 2022. This day marks the first day of National Nursing Assistants' Week, which celebrates the fantastic work and contributions CNAs make every day.
They change patients' lives, improve their communities, and play an essential role in healthcare settings nationwide.
National Nursing Assistants' Week turns 45 in 2022. This event is a time-honored tradition that encourages everyone to appreciate nursing assistants' impact on healthcare and their communities.
Do CNAs Celebrate Nurses Week?
Certified Nursing Assistants have their own week, National Nursing Assistants' Week. This week-long event happens in mid-June and celebrates the dedication and caregiving efforts of nursing assistants across the nation for a full seven days.
What Is National CNA Day?
As the first day of National Nursing Assistants' Week, National CNA Day kicks off the weeklong celebration of the amazing people who dedicate their lives to serving others.
While a nursing assistant is a critical job, CNAs can often struggle with chronic stress, burnout, and even depression. Yet, they work just as hard as a registered nurse and deserve the same recognition.
That is why National CNA Day is so important — it is a chance to acknowledge the selfless work, unwavering commitment, and optimism they bring to the healthcare industry daily, year after year.
National CNA Day happens in mid-June and will continue for years to come. Here is a list of National CNA Day dates for 2022 through 2029.
June 16, 2022
June 14, 2023
June 13, 2024
June 12, 2025
June 11, 2026
June 17, 2025
June 15, 2028
June 14, 2029
A Brief History of National Career Nurse Assistant Day
The role of a career nurse assistant is not always fully understood, but they have been a crucial part of healthcare since World War I. Nurse assistants are on the frontlines of healthcare daily, offering assistance and support to patients and medical staff alike.
They also play a pivotal role in the daily happenings in medical offices, hospitals, and home-care settings.
Nurse assistants became prevalent in the United States after the American Red Cross recognized the need for more significant support. They created the Volunteer Nurses' Aide Service to assist overworked nurses tending to wounded soldiers.
Young women who became nurse aides during World War II were not certified. Instead, they received hands-on training and worked as volunteers to help soldiers and nurses.
In 1977, the first National Nursing Assistants' Week was held, and it's been going ever since. However, the scope of a nursing assistant's role and the birth of CNAs as a job wouldn't occur until a decade later.
Until the 1980s, people could become nurse assistants without formal training or certification. This naturally raised concerns over patient welfare, particularly in nursing homes where most nursing aides worked.
This concern led to President Ronald Reagan signing the Omnibus Reconciliation Act in 1987. As a result, under OBRA, aides must be Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) to work in healthcare.
Today, more than 1.3 million nursing assistants are in the United States. National CNA Day is a chance to show support and gratitude for the differences they make in the lives of patients, caregivers, and the healthcare industry at large.
National CNA Week History Timeline
Use this timeline to quickly capture the most important milestones in National CNA Day history, including its origin and significant moments that shaped the CNA field.
1914 - 1918. The American Red Cross trains over 8,000 young women to serve as the nation's first nursing aides as part of the Volunteer Nurses' Aides Service. They assist certified nurses tending to wounded soldiers who have suffered war injuries.
1939 - 1945. The Volunteer Nurses' Aides Service once again helps medical staff manage the overwhelming number of soldiers injured during World War II. Many go on to continue working as nursing assistants after the war.
1977. America recognizes the first National Nursing Assistants' Week.
The 1980s. Concerns arise over the potential harm to patients tended by non-certified aides in nursing homes.
1987. President Ronald Regan signed the Omnibus Rehabilitation Act (OBRA), requiring all nursing assistants to hold a certification. This act created the officially Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) job title.
2014. There are 600,000 registered CNAs in the United States, tending to 1.4 million nursing home residents.
2021 - 2022. Nursing assistant job growth continues to rise at 8% annually, with an estimated 118,500 new jobs opening through 2030 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
What Is CNA Week 2022's Theme?
Every CNA Week has a unique theme to honor particular struggles and moments in the lives of nursing assistants throughout the year.
In 2022, the CNA Week theme is "I'm Still Standing."
This theme embodies the triumph over emotional pain, loss, and hardship that CNAs have faced over the last three years during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A special 2022 CNA Week toolkit is available from the National Association of Healthcare Assistants (NAHCA).
Merchandise with the "I'm Still Standing" theme is also available with an exclusive CNA Week discount. These items make excellent CNA gifts for friends, family, coworkers, and nursing assistants at a loved one's care facility.
How to Celebrate CNA Week 2022
There are many ways you can show appreciation to CNAs during this special week. Of course, small gestures go a big way, but some more significant events can also be held to showcase your support for these healthcare heroes.
1. Say Thank You
The simplest way to celebrate a CNA in your life is just to say thank you. They are accustomed to working tirelessly without much acknowledgment, so taking the time out of your day to express appreciation can make a difference. Simply saying that you are happy they are part of your team can mean everything.
2. Decorate Your Facility
If you manage a healthcare facility, nursing home, hospital, etc., you can show your appreciation through decorations. The CNA 2022 toolkit offers printable graphics that are perfect for posters. Consider hanging a "thank you" banner across the entrance and exit and hanging inspirational posters along the halls.
Balloons, streamers, and even a cake can make the kickoff of National Nursing Assistants' Appreciation Week special.
3. Celebrate on Social Media
To honor nursing assistants, you can host a CNA appreciation week across your social media platforms. In addition to general gratitude posts, you can even spotlight staff members one by one to give them a personalized shoutout. Choose something you love about their personality and highlight that for the post.
4. Make It a Company-wide Event
You can make National CNA Day 2022 a company-wide event with custom t-shirts or pins. Having a pin on their scrubs can make an assistant feel special and serve as a fun conversation point when people ask about it.
Send out a newsletter or PA announcement celebrating your assistant staff.
Having your entire facility partake with unique t-shirts, pins, or stickers can take your appreciation to a new level. Supporters can wear these tokens of gratitude throughout the week, then keep them as souvenirs.
5. Employers Can Ask About Their Needs
The most meaningful way to show your gratitude is to follow up a thank you by asking how your healthcare facility can improve its operations. What do CNAs need the most to perform their jobs with less stress? What resources are available to support them not just this week but year-round?
Asking these questions and genuinely listening to each person's feedback can have a long-term, positive effect on your entire operation.
6. Encourage the Community to Get Involved
You can write to your local newspaper and reach out to local establishments to include them in the celebrations. For example, you may encourage some small businesses to offer special deals or discounts to CNAs; you may partner with a restaurant to provide nursing assistants with dinner or dessert on the house.
Consider printing appreciation posters and handing them out, asking businesses to display them throughout the week.
Activities for National CNA Week
These activities can help you kick off the National Nursing Assistants' Week festivities with a bang. In addition, they provide a fun, accessible way for healthcare facilities and nursing assistants to express their support and gratitude.
1. Cater Meals
Offer nursing assistants a breakfast every day of the week. Think fresh fruit, heart-shaped pastries, donuts, tea, coffee, and juices. In addition, offer goodie bags filled with tasty treats and snacks that they can enjoy on their lunch breaks or take home to eat later.
Hold a big dinner that honors all the nursing assistants on your team at the end of the week. This dinner can be held in-house with catering or organized at a nearby restaurant. If you decide to host a dinner after-hours, make sure you still provide something during the day for any CNAs who can't make it to the event.
2. Donate in Their Name
Offer a donation to an organization meaningful to your staff. For example, perhaps someone is a huge animal lover, so you sponsor an animal through a wildlife charity in their name. Choosing personal charities to donate to and including commemorative certificates connects your CNAs' passions in the workplace.
3. Give Personalized Gifts
There are plenty of CNA gifts you can find online that are easy to personalize for any nursing assistant. Consider their needs throughout the day, and find a gift that could make their job more comfortable.
You could order everyone a water bottle with their name printed on it and a saying like "I Make a Difference". Healthcare facilities can get cold, so why not order custom fleece pullovers or jackets with embroidered initials?
Smaller gifts, like custom lanyards or reels for ID badges, can be paired with a candy bar or other sweet treat in a thank-you package.
Also, consider what each CNA personally enjoys. For example, you may give a sports fan something from their favorite team, gift a Disney fan merchandise featuring their most beloved character, or provide a coffee lover a new travel mug or Starbucks gift card.
Fun Facts About CNAs and National Nursing Assistants' Week
Education is fun to get patients, staff, and your community involved. Sending out emails or posting interesting facts throughout the week can spread awareness and help others build an understanding of the CNAs around them. These seven facts – one for each day of National CNA Week – are the perfect subject for emails or posters.
National Nursing Assistants' Week was founded in 1977.
The American Red Cross created the first nursing assistant organization during World War I, the Volunteer Nurses' Aide Service.
Nursing homes employ 37% of all nursing assistants in the country.
There will be approximately 1.5 Million CNAs in America by 2022.
Nursing assistants can earn specializations in cardiology, geriatrics, pediatrics, and home care.
CNAs provide 90% of all hands-on care to nursing home patients.
With the Baby Boomer population rising by about 2 million each year, nursing assistants will continue to be irreplaceable healthcare industry members.
Giving Back To CNAs All Year Round
As an organization leader, expressing appreciation for CNAs all year round is essential. Their continued efforts to persevere and serve their patients amidst the stress of a pandemic have made them lifelong heroes.
Doing what you can to improve their work/life balance and day-to-day job satisfaction is the best way to show how grateful you are for all they do.
If you are a nursing assistant student, thank your supervisors and colleagues for their hard work. Healthcare is often a thankless job, but it is one of the most fundamental industries globally.
No matter how long they've been in healthcare, every CNA deserves to know how excellent their work truly is and the impact their strength and skills have on the lives of their patients.