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Jan Humphries

According to Halifax Community College Certified Nursing Assistant (NA) Coordinator and Instructor Jan Humphries, NAs are given many opportunities to shine everyday and in every way. They interact with patients and patients' families and they impact lives in positive ways. The NA's career is one that demands a caring attitude.

“There is not a school that can teach compassion and patience. Becoming a nursing assistant is not a job for everyone. It does not require a great deal of education, but it does require a great deal of compassion,” said Humphries.

Nursing Assistants touch many lives on a day-to-day basis and they seldom get credit for all that they accomplish. Few people realize how much nurses rely on their assistants for accurate information. NAs spend more time with patients than nurses and notice the slightest change, sometimes before a nurse does, because of the amount of time they spend with patients, according to Humphries.

When the old, sick and frail can no longer take care of themselves, it is the job of nursing assistants to perform these tasks for them. Patients depend on NAs to provide privacy and dignity while helping them do things that only a few years ago they could do for themselves.

“They are there when the demons of Alzheimer's attack in the middle of the night. NAs hold the hand of the frightened ladies when confusion, fear and loneliness take over their world and it becomes a dark and scary place. They are often the only ones there to give a hug or pat a hand or kiss a cheek on a forgotten birthday, anniversary or holiday when no one remembers they are around,” Humphries continued.

She added, “Nursing assistants validate human life and allow the old and frail to realize that their lives have meant something to the world and that they have left their mark on this world before they move on to the next.” With all that they give, NAs do receive rewards for the tasks they perform daily. Patients' smiles remind each of the reason they chose to become a nursing assistant.