I have been a certified nursing assistant for almost thirteen years. Over the course of my years I have worked very hard, seen lots of things, had to deal with multiple types of people, and they all have a place in my heart forever. I get so sick of when people ask what I do, and I reply with a CNA. Their response is, "Oh, your a butt wiper." Yes, that is a portion of our job, a very small portion of the job. CNA's do so much more than just "wipe a butt." I have worked in nursing homes, continuing care part of a hospital, as well as long term acute care. I have taken care of patients/ residents of all ages, 21-103. The job is far more physical and emotional then people realize.
As a Aide we have to watch each person on a daily basis, take care of all of their daily needs, and be there for each emotional breakdown/ excitement/ birthday/ holiday/ physical changes/ abuse/ eating habits, as well as so much more. Over the course of my years I have seen, experienced, learned, and made many friends along the way. The doctors are amazing and literally give up much of their lives for their career, but they don't always spend much time with each patient, nurses are running so fast and taking care of so many needs and demands they don't always get the time to spend with each patient that they would like to, and aides we have to spend as much time as we can with each resident/ patient as we can manage.
In each facility you will find the wonderful aide(s) that takes the time to help each resident/ patient, and the nurse that will put the effort to go directly to the patient/ resident and address the issue at hand immediately, and the doctor that is truly concerned and drop their current task at hand to help the person at need. As an aide we spend the most time with each person. When working in a facility of residents I take care of, I talk to each of my residents/ patients. I could tell you where they are from, how many kids they have, where their kids are located, how many grandchildren they have, where they worked before they retired, the secrets they never told anyone but seem to want to get off their chest, and so many other things. Some of these people have family that come in and see them if not daily at least weekly. Some people have no one that comes in to see them at all. The only people that can make or break their day is the staff at the location of which they live.
I am the one that is there on Mother's Day when that mother (resident/ patient) doesn't want to lay down for their afternoon nap, or go down to the dining room because they are afraid they may miss their child/ grandchild that may or may not come to see them. When no one does come to see them and they are crying so hard they are difficult to communicate with. Me. The CNA, "butt wiper". Me. I am the one that is there holding their hand telling them how amazing they are and not to worry. The CNA that took their money to go out and buy flowers to give to each Mother on that Mother's Day. Any holiday for that matter. Those people want to be visited, and a lot of times they don't get visitors often or even at all. The only people they spend the most time with is the CNA taking daily care of them.
I have had multiple residents/ patients that has no one in their lives, or that ever comes to see them. They connect to me as their CNA. They wanted to give me their estate, make me their beneficiary, and put me on their will. Why??? Because I was the only person that came in and talked to them, not over them. I treated them like a person, not a job. Did I ever except any of those things they offered me? NO! I did for them as any person should do for another, and I know many aides that are the same way. They take the time and effort to treat each person as they should. In many interviews I am asked, "Why should I hire you?" My answer is, "Because I am here for the resident/ patient. In every job I have been in I am a patient/ resident favorite. I go in and talk to the person, I don't talk to the other professional in the room as if the patient isn't present. In a way I treat each person like MY child. Not like a child, but like my child."
By that I mean, if I walked into the room to a person and was about to start taking care of them and they were my child (of any age) how would I want them treated?? That is exactly how I treat them. My children are my life. I would want them treated with respect, acknowledge all of their requests and do them within my means, and listen. That is really all they want, is for someone to listen. Many facilities are so short staffed, each person is neglected or pushed aside to a later moment at some point. There are rushed through things because there are times frames for everything. You can't be late without some sort of scolding so everything has to be hurried. The next time you ask someone what they do, and their response is a certified nursing assistant. Don't look down to them, treat them like they are nothing, or act as if you are better than them. Because your not.
The things aides do for each person, the emotion that goes into the job, and the time they take for each person is more than most anyone does in the health care profession. If you think you are "better" or that is "beneath you". Remember that one day you, or someone you love is going to be in need of these services. You or someone you love will one day need to be taken care of and want the best person for the job. There are things you should always look for when choosing The Right Facility for your loved one. I will write another blog describing the things you should always look for when putting your loved one in a long term care facility.