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Ten Steps for Planning Nursing Assistants Week

May 1, 2004
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Suggestions for recognizing and celebrating these valued caregivers on June 10-17, 2004 by Genevieve Gipson, RN, MED, RNC
BY GENEVIEVE GIPSON, RN, MED, RNC

Ten steps for planning Nursing Assistants Week

Suggestions from the Career Nursing Assistants' Programs for the June 10-17 observations Our annual chance is upon us to honor the nursing assistants, home care assistants, hospice assistants, and other workers who perform the difficult, vital tasks of nursing home direct care. Starting with Career Nursing Assistants Day on June 10, Nursing Assistants Week (NAW) extends from June 10-17. We at the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants have been proud to sponsor this observation for 27 years. Here are ten suggestions for making this celebration memorable for these deserving staff members:

1. Get excited about the wonderful possibilities for honoring these important workers. Start talking and brainstorming about creative projects and programs that can be developed in your facility or in your area.

2. Bring people together for planning. The 27th annual nationwide observance of Nursing Assistants Week provides many opportunities to create experiences that are fun and rewarding. Appoint a Planning Committee to pull this all together.

3. Ask your mayor to proclaim the week. Community awareness of the unique contributions of the nursing assistant can be enhanced when your mayor proclaims Nursing Assistants Week to the citizens of your community. A Proclamation suitable for signing by your mayor or public official can be downloaded at no cost from our Web site at www.cna-network.org. Start your NAW Scrapbook now.

4. Brainstorm ways to recognize and honor nursing assistants. Nursing assistants can be a wonderful source of creative ideas when they know they are not being tested. Often the most "far-out" ideas are the most relevant and successful. The goal is to generate as many good ideas and involve as many people as possible. Teams can be an effective way to generate ideas and build positive communications.

5. Select and organize your projects and programs-be a part of the Anchoring Project and other new projects for retention of good workers. Each day of Nursing Assistants Week provides a unique opportunity to focus on a different aspect of their strengths in caring. Use your own great ideas, or purchase the NAW Planning and PR Guide at the address below. The Planning Guide includes: activities for each day of Nursing Assistants Week, program plans, discussion guides, sample press release, Proclamation forms, certificate master, and info for planning NAW projects that will be usable throughout the year.

6. Involve public officials and community leaders. In addition to signing a proclamation, your mayor may want to be involved with your celebration activities and may even have some ideas of his/her own. A deputy mayor in one state, for example, invited local Nursing Assistants Week Committee members to her home for a home-cooked gourmet meal.

7. Promote your events to the community. Newspapers and TV and radio stations are interested in local events and may provide special coverage of your events. Media representatives can provide guidelines for submission of your release.

8. Promote your projects in the facility. Internal networking can get people involved and build anticipation for the good we can do when we work together. Posters or invitations can be made by the NAW Committee, a craft class, the Resident's Council, family members, or students at the local high school or college. Include their ideas in your scrapbook.

9. Keep it moving. June 10 is the first day of Nursing Assistants Week. You have arranged staffing coverage for resident care, and know that the newspaper will photograph your "Most Service Years Recipient." Residents are busy coaching nursing assistants about hair styles and smiling at the camera. The pins and T-shirts are ready for awards and the names are spelled correctly on the certificates. Your check-off list is complete. You just brought it all together. Enjoy.

10. Plan to plan for next year. What was the best thing you did for Nursing Assistants Week? What would you like to do differently next year? Answering these important questions now will help your plans go even better next year. A final summary of your activities and outcomes-expected and unexpected-can be a part of your scrapbook.
Genevieve Gipson, RN, MEd, RNC, is director of the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants (NNCNA) and the Career Nurse Assistants' Programs, Inc., Norton, Ohio, founder and sponsor of the annual nationwide observance of Nursing Assistants Week, now in its 27th year. For further information or to order the NAW Planning and PR Guide, phone (330) 825-9342, fax (330) 825-9378, e-mail cnajeni@aol.com, visit www.cna-network.org, or write NNCNA, 3577 Easton Road, Norton, OH 44203.
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