Looking Back: The History of CNA Training

cna trainingThe act of nursing has been around for a long time, but it was not until recently that formal CNA training programs came into affect. Here is a little history behind nursing, nursing assistants, and CNA training.

World War II and Nurse’s Aides

Between 1944 and 1945, through the Red Cross, thousands of nurse’s aides were called to assistant nurses during World War II. Although many of these nurse’s aides had no formal CNA training, they provided a needed service for their country and were known as the Volunteer Nurse’s Aide Corps. By the end of this time period, there were approximately 345 units and more than 12,000 nurse’s aides in military hospitals.

Due to the shortage of nursing staff and physicians, many of the nurses involved with the Red Cross undertook responsibilities far great than their training. The nurses were overwhelmed in military hospitals and need assistance treating all of the injured soldiers. Because of this, the nurse’s aides were called in to help take some of the load off the nurses in the military and civilian hospitals.

When CNA Training Began

While nurse’s aides may have played a vital role in our history, it was not until 1987 that any sort of formal CNA training was established. Before this, anyone wishing to work as a nursing assistant could do so. These aides would fulfill both medical and household tasks without any type of training. Many times, they could perform medical tasks without the supervision or presence of a licensed nurse or a physician.

During the late 1980’s, Congress took a hard look at the medical and long term care facilities and determined a lack of training was leading to the downward spiral of care and safety.

Due to these concerns, Congress passed a law known as the Omnibus Reconciliation Act (OBRA). This law mandates numerous guidelines when it comes to CNA training:

  • Initial education, including hours spent in the classroom and clinical setting
  • Testing required for certification
  • Amount of time needed before re-certification
  • Amount of ongoing education needed
  • Requirements of aides while working in facilities

While these guidelines are strict and structured, they are required for any nursing assistant wishing to work in a facility that accepts Medicaid and Medicare. The amount of education required, along with the restrictions on renewal of certification have greatly improved the level of care and safety experience in nursing homes, hospitals, and other medical care facilities.

What are the Requirements for CNA Training now?

These days, CNA training usually requires at least 75 to 100 hours of classroom and clinical work. State tests are mandatory after classes are completed, and only after passing the state exam may you call yourself a certified nursing assistant. Most long term care facilities and medical facilities can not and will not hire nursing assistants who have not taken and completed the coursework and exam required by the state.

CNA training has grown over the years. If you are interested in becoming a CNA, consider looking into a reputable CNA training program that will provide you with the knowledge you need to succeed in the medical field.

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