CNA: To Be or Not To Be
From June 15-June 22 we celebrate the role CNAs, or Certified Nursing Assistants, play in healthcare. Sadly, though, when it comes to healthcare and the role medical professionals play in it, CNAs rank waaaay down there. Fair? No. Or should I say, NO, considering the amount of time CNAs spend with patients in comparison to any other healthcare provider. And the paycheck?? Puh-lease! A disgrace to say the least. So what’s my point here? No, I’m not here to rant, and no, neither am I here to discourage you from pursuing a career as a CNA. In fact, quite the opposite. I want the world to know how infinitely rewarding it is to be a CNA. Despite the responsibility, and despite the too low paycheck, being a CNA allows you to literally change lives. So if you were thinking of heading down this road, this here is the encouragement you need. And if you’ve already reached CNA status, well congratulations to you, happy end of CNA week, and think of this post as a boost of sorts. Hear, hear!
Day to Day:
Think about your daily routine. You get up, use the bathroom, shower, get dressed, eat etc. Do you think much about it? Chances are not. Patients however, particularly patients who are confined to nursing homes or long term care facilities, where a majority of CNAs are employed, do think about these things. A lot. And the reason is because they cannot do these things on their own. In fact, they need you, the CNA. And by handling your job delicately and your patients with utmost respect, you help them maintain their dignity. And honestly, the knowledge that you’ve accomplished such a thing for a person is more satisfying than any size paycheck will ever be.
Every patient has a treatment plan. Doctors are involved, nurses are involved, but at the end of the day, the person with the most contact with the patient is the CNA. In a nursing home in particular, a patient may only see the nurse once a day, and a doctor? Forget about it! It could be every few days. Which basically puts you in charge of caring and advocating for the patient on a 24/7 basis. Sure, it’s no easy task, but knowing that without you there would certainly be a void in their care plan is enough to keep any CNA going. And I’ll say it loud and clear: Without the CNAs, doctors and nurses couldn’t possibly do what they do. Period.
I’m sounding a bit dramatic, aren’t I? In actuality though, the role you play, literally ensures that families can live relatively normal lives while their loved ones are being treated. Because you are on top of the patient for most of the day, and they know that you are kind and competent, families are free to breathe a sigh of relief and go about their day to day lives without fretting over whether the patient is being cared for properly. And while they may not express it the way you’d like them to, I promise you, the gratitude they feel towards you is immeasurable. All that day to day business you take care of, would be their responsibility without you.
So you see CNAs, the medical world needs you. Why you were relegated to the bottom of the hierarchy, is quite the mystery. But you and your profession aren’t going anywhere. In fact, the field is expected to grow by about 20% through the year 2020. So chin up, keep doing what you do best, and enjoy the last licks of CNA Week!