Many CNAs who work as home health aides after CNA training run into a particular dilemma. They are hired to go into the home and care for a patient, bathing them, performing light housekeeping, fixing meals, performing skin, nail, hair, and foot care, and taking vital signs. Unfortunately, many family members see this as an opportunity to obtain free housekeeping services.
Let’s get one thing straight: your job description after CNA training does not include picking up and cleaning up after family members. You aren’t responsible for cleaning up the children’s toys before you vacuum the floor. You are not responsible for doing the family’s laundry, or even doing their dishes. If you go shopping for the patient after CNA training, you are only responsible for the items they specifically need.
And light housekeeping means exactly that. Light housekeeping. I once had a patient ask me to move a 150 pound antique dining table so I could sweep and mop underneath it. This wasn’t my job, and it isn’t yours either.
Many family members, and even some patients, will take advantage of your presence in the home and your caring demeanor after CNA training. If you don’t want to spend your limited amount of time each day performing duties you don’t need to be doing and may not get paid for after CNA training, consider the following.
How to Handle the Over-Expectations of Family Members and Patients After CNA Training
So, what do you do when other family members or your patient ask you to perform tasks outside your job description after CNA training? While some may be simple to complete, doing them now can lead you down a twisted road of “could you pleases” you don’t want to be a part of.
- Explain it to Them- Let’s pretend for a moment that you have been working with one particular female patient for quite a while after CNA training. The patient lives alone with her husband, and in the past, you haven’t minded washing an extra plate and glass each day, because there was only a couple in the sink. When you arrived this morning, however, you discovered that the patient’s daughter lost her job and has now moved in, temporarily, with her husband and two small children. The sink looks like a mountain you should earn a medal for climbing. Because you have been so great about doing the dishes before, the patient and her husband don’t even bat an eye when you turn on the dishwater. They expect you to do them. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be nice and do the extra dishes when there are just a few in the sink, but you should make sure you let the family know that you are doing them out of the kindness of your heart, and not because you were taught you had to in CNA training. That way, when you look at them and say, “This is not in my job description,” they don’t become angry. Instead, they understand that the daughter and her husband will have to care for their own dishes, preferably before you arrive.
- Talk to Your Boss- Sometimes sitting down and explaining to the patient and family members what is and what is not included in your job description works. And sometimes it doesn’t. After CNA training, if you run into this type of problem, be prepared to document it and explain it to your boss. Even if the family doesn’t complain to her that you are “avoiding your job,” you will still have made an effort to notify your employer of the situation, so they can handle it properly and know the facts.
- Have Your Boss Talk to Them- After CNA training, I went into home health thinking I knew exactly what was expected of me. So, when a frail elderly lady asked me to move a 150 pound antique dining table, I was shocked. I wasn’t sure what to do about it. I knew it wasn’t safe for me to move it, even with the lifting techniques I had learned in CNA training. All I could think of was the two worst possible outcomes: I’d either throw my back out, or I’d somehow break the table. So, I refused to do it. Then, just as I learned in CNA training, I went straight to my boss and explained the situation. She agreed that it was not in my job description, and when the patient called (while I was still sitting in the office) she was able to calmly explain to the patient that I was in the right, and that I was someone who was there to take care of her and perform light housekeeping. I wasn’t a workhorse she could use at her discretion.
After CNA Training: Stick to Your Job Description
While you might think you are simply being a nice person after CNA training by performing a variety of tasks that are not in your job description, you aren’t. Not only do you risk not getting paid for the time you spend on tasks that do not directly involve patient care after CNA training, but you risk injuring yourself, injuring the patient, and reducing the quality of care the patient deserves. Stick to your job description after CNA training.