Certified nursing assistants are often the health care workers you will come in contact with most often when a loved one or friend is in a facility. Being a CNA is a tough career. People don’t often understand what we do on a daily basis. So what are some of the secrets of a nursing assistant?
Physically Demanding Work
CNA work is extremely physically demanding. Most patients have trouble moving on their own, which means we need to do the work for them. This means the bulk of our day includes lifting, bending, pulling, and pushing. On top of these physical demands, CNAs are on their feet the majority of their shift tending to patients.
The Work can be Mentally Challenging
Although some of the tasks associated with the daily activities of caring for patients may seem low on the brain power needed to perform them, CNAs must hold a ton of information in their head. There are proper ways to do things in order to prevent the spread of infections between patients. Before helping patients move, we must figure out the safest way to help them, while also keeping our own physical well-being in mind. Sometimes patients can be combative and aggressive. We need to assess how to keep our other patients safe, as well as ourselves. In addition to these general issues, we need to remember the details of each of the patients we are assigned to. Sometimes this can mean up to 15 patients during the course of one shift.
We Love our Patients
We genuinely care about our patients. Facilities and hospitals are often short staffed, which means that we can appear uncaring at times. The reality is, that we need to attend to all of our patients to ensure their best care. This means we have to be quick. We wish we could spend more quality time with our patients. We love hearing their stories and learning about their families. When we do have a bit of downtime, we try to make ourselves available to patients for chit chat, and to provide extra comfort. When patients inevitably pass away, it affects us greatly. We go home and cry and mourn for them. After all, these are human beings we get to know over time.
The Pay is not Great
For the amount of work required of us, people are often shocked when they learn just how little we earn. In most cases, it is a small amount above minimum wage. Many of us have to work over 40 hours a week just to make ends meet.
Working as a CNA is a challenging career choice with many ups and downs. The physical and mental aspects of this career can be difficult to deal with. Many people don’t realize the emotional toll caring for others can take on us. For the amount of work we do, the pay is fairly low. The challenges of the job often outweigh the benefits, but helping people feel better is a reward, in and of itself.