CNAs Everywhere: Why Do You Stay?

August 20th, 2014 by Linda Leekley in For CNAs, Good to Know!

As a  nurse, I know firsthand how hard CNAs work and how much they mean to a healthcare team.  As one CNA put it, in addition to being the eyes and ears of the nurses, a nursing assistant’s work is “a mixture of janitor, maid, entertainer, family member, and forklift.”

Entry-level CNAs are lucky to make $12/hour.  Devoted CNAs who stick with the job for decades, despite the low pay and high stress, may make $17/hour!  As baby boomers like me get older, the demand for nursing assistants will skyrocket.  Yet, there is already a shortage…and the average annual turnover rate for nursing assistants is 71%!  Thankfully, there is that 29% of CNAs who remain on the job.  One of those long term care heroes is Corey Anne Rotella, CNA.  Recently, Corey shared some thoughts about this issue on the blog for In the Know:

“Anyone working as a nursing assistant has chosen a very challenging path.  Poor compensation, workplace politics, short staffing, conflict between coworkers, irate and difficult residents, miscommunication, heavy lifting and the loss of those for whom we care all make for a tough work environment.  I definitely have lock-myself-in-the-linen-closet-to-get-myself-together moments.  And, I have my weepfest-over-a-pint-of-Ben-and-Jerry’s-ice-cream days.  So, why do I keep coming back? Why do I stay?

First of all, I embrace the challenge. I thrive on it. In my life, it is a rare and beautiful thing to be able to bring order to chaos rather than the other way around.”

Corey goes on to say that she is grateful for the life lessons she has learned from working in a healthcare organization.  She recognizes the impact her work has had on her ability to communicate with others and to resolve conflicts.  But even more important to Corey is what she has learned from her residents:

“They inspire me every day. To live with cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, cancer or dementia and still laugh and love and find joy is nothing short of amazing.  It’s such an incredible gift to be a part of their lives…to walk them through the tough days and celebrate with them during their triumphs.  They have shown me the uselessness of the word ‘impossible.’”

My guess is that many other nursing assistants feel the same way.  It’s their residents, patients or clients who keep them coming back, day after day.  We’d love to hear directly from you, though, so please–CNAs everywhere–share your comments about why YOU stay.

And, as always, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do!!

Linda

Linda Leekley BS, RN

P.S. You can read Corey’s entire article here.

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