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Health > Under the Rainbow3/9/11 IS Online

Hawaii Red Cross Offers Nurse Assistant Training

Both on-site and online curriculums are available.

By Paula Bender

Nurse assistants are an important part of a medical team. When working with patients and family members, they often serve as the link between doctor and patient.

Are you compassionate about others and have an interest in health care? Do you want to learn skills to help you care for your family members?

Nurse assistant training is now available through the Hawaii chapter of the American Red Cross, which offers both in-house and online curriculums. The 130-hour program prepares applicants to take the state nurse assistant competency exam, also administered by the Hawaii chapter. According to Mary Meinel, director of training and preparedness at Hawaii Red Cross, ideal candidates are those who are interested in a career in health care or who plan on caring for family members.

“The added benefit we always promote to people interested in the career is it is life-long learning that can be used to care for family members or to respond to emergencies in the outside world,” Meinel says. “Students will learn proper recognition of a health problem, 35 skills in long-term care of the elderly or disabled, infection control, safety, body mechanics, resident’s rights, and compassion.”

Training for the nurse assistant program often results in triggering an interest in related medical careers such as medical assistants, licensed practical nurses, and registered nurses.

“In fact, most community colleges and universities in Hawai‘i now require students to become a certified nurse assistant before progressing to other medical career curriculums,” Meinel says.

More information about the course is at

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