I would be willing to bet that most nurse aides out there don’t realize that nursing assistants have been around since WWI. Am I right?

There’s actually quite a bit of exciting, interesting history in this field. We thought it might be fun and motivating to take a trip back in time and learn the heritage of the modern day CNA!

  • Nurse aide jobsNurse aide jobs were established during WWI, when the American Red Cross launched a program called the Volunteer Nurses’ Aide Service. This program trained young women to assist to nurses who were being bombarded with injured soldiers and desperately needed assistance. This same program was reinstated again during WWII when more than 12,000 nurse aides volunteered their services in military hospitals.
  • In 1987, while Ronald Reagan was in office, Congress passed the Omnibus Reconciliation Act which set standards for certified nursing assistant training, education, and requirements. Before this act was passed, nurse aides didn’t need formal caregiver training or certification. In order to maintain high care standards, Congress passed this act and changed the field of assistant nursing dramatically.
  • Today, nurse aides must go through state-approved training and examination before being certified. And the great news for certified nurse aides is that CNA jobs are on the rise! Employment is predicted to grow 21% from 2012 to 2022 – that’s significantly faster than the average job growth!

Nurse aides’ history is rich and their future is bright! If you’re interested in learning more about learning more about what this historic career looks like today,check out our blog on A Day in the Life of a Nurse Aide Job.

13 Responses to “A History of the Nurse Aide”

  1. nina

    I am new to this site.I like what I am reading.Very Informative.CNA pride.

  2. Jonathan Truong

    This is awesome because this makes me worry less about my future worst scenarios such as not having a good future. Then I realize I’m super happy about this job because this job isn’t a job itself. I feel like this a chore I would and wouldn’t normally do in my daily life. I’m going to be enrolling in a CNA Class to be a Travel Nurse and to use that to go back to school to be a Travel RN and Travel MSN.
    Happy Travels!

  3. Sherry

    I was certified in 1990. In 2012 started doing live in and loving it.

  4. Liliana

    We were the very first classes that were certified in Illinois from Resthaven South Convalescent Home in South Holland Illinois. We took our labs at Thornton Community College in 1987

  5. Angel

    Please give source of info regarding Nurse Assist with American Red Cross in WWI and WWII. Thanks

  6. Edward Martinez

    Yes it is on the rise but the payment for which they recieve is but a story to be told. It is in fact disgusting, while they are the true back breakers of this type of Job. If you look at how state inspectors come in and treat these poor girls as if they were getting twenty dollars an hour, it is what they deserve. When all States realize this CNAs will not truly give the proper care. Lets stop these tyrants and profiteers from taking advantage. They are not stupid but compassionate.

  7. Glendar

    Thanks for the history background .

    If anyone is interested you might want to read about Florence Nightingale, which will verify the history of nurse aides during the war.

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