You’ve put in the hours studying. You aced clinicals and the tests. Now, you are a certified nursing assistant. However, you want to be the best certified nursing assistant that you can be. Here are three secrets that will help you:
Knowing all of the proper techniques to transfer a patient and how to change a bed are good. Remembering that there is a patient in that bed is better. Realizing that the patient is a person is the best thing you can do.
It is easy to forget as you run hallways, answer call bells and change beds that you are caring for people. Sometimes it seems as if there isn’t enough time to get everything done, much less stop to converse with people. Empathy means that you imagine putting yourself in another person’s place.
When you can do this, you will stop talking to co-workers about your boyfriend as you both change dirty sheets. Instead, you will remember that Mr. Alred is in that bed. You will talk with him about his army days or his wife or his hobbies as you work to clean him and his bed. This is how you empathize with him. You take an interest in him as a person, not as a patient. He is not an invisible entity to you as you work. He is your work.
Another way to become a great nursing assistant is to practice patience. As people age they move slower, think slower and respond slower. As a nursing assistant you must remember this. Trying to rush an elderly patient is frustrating for them and futile for you. Instead, practice patience. Move slowly as you transfer them to the potty chair. Wait while they form an answer. Be patient as they tell you what is bothering them. They are not trying to be slower. It is just a natural part of the aging process. Patience will keep you from getting frustrated. It will keep your client from being embarrassed about their inability to perform as they once did.
Becoming a great nursing assistant will require one last thing – strength. You’re going to have to be strong mentally, physically and spiritually to do your job correctly.
It takes a strong mind to remember all of the things that need to be done. Mrs. Edwards needs a bath. Don’t forget that she can’t use regular soap. Also, there are vital signs to be taken every four hours on your new patient. Don’t forget to chart them. Your mind will also need to be strong to handle the facts. Your patient has cancer and is dying. You must be able to handle that fact. That takes mental fortitude.
You will need strength to transfer, bath and toilet patients. Sometimes help will be available. Sometimes you will be on your own. You’ll need a good back and plenty of good transfer techniques to keep your back in good shape. You’ll need a strong stomach to clean up feces and vomit when patients get sick. It takes a strong body to handle being a nursing assistant.
It will take spiritual strength, too. You will beg for a higher power to end the suffering of your favorite patient. You could also be asking for one more day with that patient. When you go home, you will need a strong spirit to remember why you started this career.
Mastering these three things will help you to be the best nursing assistant you can be for your nurse, your patients and for yourself.