My CNA training was provided by a local nursing home, and when I finished I went to work for them for the promised six months, and then ended up staying there much longer. Some days were excellent, others weren’t so fun, but there was one thing I took away from the experience: I loved the residents.
Yes, during CNA training you are taught to keep your distance from residents. It is drummed into you every single day of your CNA training class that becoming too emotionally involved can quickly result in an over stressed mind and burnout. Then, when you finally find the perfect job after CNA training, you begin to wonder why you were even warned about becoming too close to patients- you don’t have the time. From the time you punch in to the time you drag yourself out the door, you are running nonstop.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though, and it shouldn’t. While becoming emotionally involved in your resident’s lives is be complicated and even bad, there is a fine line between simply performing your tasks and overstepping those professional boundaries. When your CNA training instructor tells you to keep your distance, she doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care; she doesn’t mean you should take your residents for granted.
After CNA Training: Caring or Providing Care?
As a CNA, providing the best care for your patients is your number one priority, but caring for them should be just as important. When I was first working as a CNA after CNA training in one particular nursing home, I learned the difference between this quickly; I could see it easily in the way my fellow co-workers treated the residents.
Some CNAs were always there for residents, answering call lights, making sure they were clean, dressed, and toileted, and ensuring they always made it to the dining hall on time. Other CNAs, however, gave their residents more than just the skills they learned in CNA training. They gave their residents time, affection, and love. These were the CNAs that residents loved working with and they were always there when they were needed. They understood that life in a nursing home is fragile, and that the residents deserved love, respect, and proper care while they were there.
After CNA Training: How You Can Care for Residents
Want to provide your residents with more than just the daily care they need to get by in life? Don’t take for granted the time you have with them by following these tips.
- Listen- It can be difficult to find the time to listen to your residents, especially when they want to tell you a story or discuss something that isn’t related to their current care. Instead of watching the clock, however, take a few moments just to listen to what they have to say. They need companionship, and you can easily provide it by just sacrificing a few moments out of your hectic schedule.
- Read- One of the residents I cared for after CNA training loved to read his Bible each and every night. After a while, however, it became hard to for him to see the words. Because the thought of not being able to read a portion of his Bible at night depressed him, I would go back to his room after I made sure all of my patients were in bed and care for, and I would read a few passages to him. He looked forward to this every night I worked, because he knew I cared about him.
- Hugs- Some might argue that giving patients hugs is crossing the line, or say you are just risking a lawsuit after CNA training. For many CNAs and patients, however, giving a hug means you honestly care. If you are worried about possible complications from hugging your patients after CNA training, however, consider asking them first before you wrap your arms around them.
Your residents need you to provide care and be caring when you are working with them. Don’t take them for granted and do everything you can to ensure they feel the love, affection, and respect they deserve after your CNA training.