Thanking CNAs Everywhere!

June 15th, 2016 by Linda Leekley in For CNAs, Honoring CNAs

While we appreciate CNAs every day of the year, it’s important to acknowledge 2016 CNA Week:

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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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Honoring Nursing Assistants Everywhere!

May 5th, 2014 by Linda Leekley in For CNAs, Honoring CNAs
It is our pleasure to announce and lend our support to National Nursing Assistants’ Week.  Genevieve Gibson, the Director of the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants, provided us with the following information:
The 37th annual National Nursing Assistants’ Week recognizes the unique contributions of nursing assistants and other direct care workers who provide daily care in nursing homes, home care, and other long-term care settings.  Here are some facts about the upcoming NA Week:
  • NA Week 2014 begins on June 12th, Career Nursing Assistants Day, and continues through June 19, 2014.
  • Each day of NA Week focuses on a different aspect of the slogan, “Nursing Assistants@the Heart of Caring.”
  • Career Nursing Assistants Day honors “Stayers,” those NAs eligible for the National Honor Society for Nursing Assistants or those who have remained in caring positions for extended periods of time.
  • Projects and programs planned for this week focus on respect, encouragement, listening, contracting , partnering  and other soft skills required for Person-Centered Care.

If you would like more information, please…

Contact: Genevieve Gipson: cnajeni@aol.com

Visit: National Network of Career Nursing Assistants website

Like:  National Network of Career Nursing Assistants Facebook page

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Another Amazing Certified Nursing Assistant!

February 5th, 2014 by Linda Leekley in Honoring CNAs

In 1979, Nancy Ruschak began working as a certified nursing assistant.  After 34 years, she continues to love her job.  Currently, she works as a hospice aide, caring for the terminally ill and their families.  Recently, Nancy was honored by her employer, Amedysis, as the Hospice Aide of the Year.

Her organization says that Nancy earned the award by demonstrating “clinical excellence with patients, positively influencing patients and families, and functioning as an outstanding member of the care team.”

About her patients, Nancy says, ““Everybody touches me. They all touch my heart, and I hope I touch their heart too.”

You can read more about Nancy and the work she does as a hospice aide here.

And, from all of us at Just for Nursing Assistants, congratulations to Nancy…and thank you for your decades of service!

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THANK YOU to Home Health Aides Everywhere!

June 13th, 2013 by Linda Leekley in For CNAs, Honoring CNAs

This week, June 13th through June 19th, is the 36th Annual National Nursing Assistants Week.  It’s a great time to let direct care givers know how much they are appreciated!  That includes all the hardworking home health aides who take such good care of their clients–so that regardless of illness or age, they can stay in their own homes.  Take a moment to hear how Nancy, a home health aide, describes her work:

THANK YOU Nancy…and home health aides everywhere!!


In Honor of the 36th Annual Nursing Assistants Week!!

June 12th, 2013 by Linda Leekley in Uncategorized

A HUGE thank you to nursing assistants everywhere for all you do for your clients!  You are definitely the unsung heroes of healthcare!

For anyone who doesn’t know or understand the importance of what CNAs do, please take a moment to watch this short video:

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Nursing Assistants Are Olympic Heroes!

August 15th, 2012 by Linda Leekley in For CNAs, Honoring CNAs

Recently, Pamela Tabar, the Associate Editor for Long Term Living Magazine, wrote an article about the Olympic feats performed by caregivers. She begins her article with a humorous look at what events would make up a Caregiver Olympics, such as Wheelchair Slalom and Mad Bathroom Dash. However, at the heart of her message is this:

“Caregiving is a marathon and a passion. Like the Wide World of Sports catchphrase, the vocation includes both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. The progress of yesterday can be erased by tomorrow.”

Ms. Tabar also says that nursing assistants:

  • “possess incredible stamina and patience while enduring gruelling repetition: how to take the meds and what time it is and what’s for dinner and why no one came to visit this week.”
  • “know that caregiving is a team effort—on every shift, at every facility. They support their colleagues physically and emotionally in order to combat high stress and high nurse burnout rates.”
  • “come back each day knowing that they probably won’t receive the rewards they have earned through hard work and dedication. A heartfelt thanks would stretch far, but they usually don’t get that, either.”

We couldn’t agree more and we thank Ms. Tabar for her dedication to the professionalism of nursing assistants. Click here to read the complete article, entitled The Olympic Feats of Caregivers.

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Making a Difference as a CNA

June 28th, 2012 by admin in For CNAs, Honoring CNAs

Martha Sloane, a certified nursing assistant at Fairview Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, shared her thoughts with us about her CNA career and why she loves her job so much. Here’s what Martha had to say:

Four days a week, I drive to a my job on Unit II at Fairview Commons. As I head to work, I anticipate the varied needs of my residents. I drive with a feeling of hope — that I will be able to make a difference in a resident’s life for that day, bringing them comfort, perhaps some laughter and, most of all, thorough and careful nursing care.

The unit I work on consists of a wonderful team of men and women. Their ages range from 20 to 60. You might think the age gap would make it difficult for us to work together.  But that’s not the case!  We work as a real team.  Each CNA has a group for which they are responsible in addition to working with other CNAs when they need assistance. Because we know each other well enough we are able to arrange work according to each of our strengths and weaknesses.  And, we share our knowledge and skills for resident care with each other.

My work as a CNA is tough – no doubt about it.  It is non-stop from the time my shift begins.  My job requires a great deal of physical and mental strength and excellent interpersonal skills:

  • Physical because of the type of care required which means lots of resident lifting.
  • Mental because of the variety of residents’ personalities and ailments and being alert to new symptoms a resident might express or that we notice.
  • Interpersonal because I spend time reassuring each resident they are important and showing them that I am happy to see them.

Most of all, my job means providing good nursing care to each resident for whom I am responsible.

I work with some great nurses. They look out for resident safety and the safety of the us CNAs.  They look, listen and investigate concerns that my fellow CNAs and I express about a resident’s condition and they assist us with procedures when we need an extra pair of hands or some reassurance.

What a good feeling it is to go home at the end of my shift and know I have made a difference in someone’s life, provided good care, perhaps shared a laugh or two or simply spent some time with residents holding their hands to assure them I am there for them!

Fairview Commons is an affiliate of Berkshire Healthcare Systems, the largest non-profit, post-acute care company in Massachusetts. Fairview Commons employees enjoy enhanced education and training opportunities and clearly defined paths for growth and development.

If you are interested in working with great people like Martha Sloane, please send your resume and cover note to: ddufur@bhs1.org

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Cat Shero, CNA, Is a HERO in Our Books!

October 6th, 2011 by Linda Leekley in For CNAs, Honoring CNAs

We love this story about Catherine Shero, CNA.  It was published in the TriValley Dispatch newspaper.

Catherine “Cat” Shero started her career as a certified nursing assistant after graduating from high school in Flint, Mich., in 1973.

“I just kind of fell into it back then,” said Shero, who went to high school with filmmaker Michael Moore. “I stayed in it because it was my passion – because I like taking care of the people.”

Shero, 55, said she has never considered another occupation, or going back to school to become a nurse. After all, she loves her job, and described her patients as “our most vulnerable population.”

She moved to Prescott from Happy Jack three years ago, and has worked since then at Meadow Park Care Center, a 64-bed skilled nursing facility.

Shero is now lead CNA at Meadow Park, and is assigned to 19 patients with behavioral health issues. Her duties include bathing and dressing people.

You can read the full story here.  Our heartfelt thanks and congratulations go out to Cat!!

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A Great NY Times Article about CNAs

July 28th, 2010 by Linda Leekley in Good to Know!

Yesterday, the New York Times posted an article on its website entitled One Way to Judge a Nursing Home.  So, what’s that “one way’?  It involves talking to the nursing assistants at the nursing home and finding out how long they have been on staff.

The author of the article, Dale Russakoff, describes her experience of searching for a nursing home for her mother.  Here is some of what she has to say:

“In casual conversations in hallways and dining rooms at more than a dozen facilities, I found only one nurses’ aide who had been on the job more than six months. I was witnessing in real life one of the most dismal statistics in long-term care: More than 70 percent of nurses’ aides, or certified nursing assistants, change jobs in a given year.”

In studying the issue of CNA turnover, Ms. Russakoff came face to face with the ugly truth:

“Researchers have found that high turnover in a facility corresponds with poor quality of care — more bedsores and more use of restraints, catheters and mood-altering drugs. That is, more reliance on medicine and technology, less on relationships.

In nursing homes with high turnover rates, certified nursing assistants tend to leave within three months, often because of inadequate training and support to juggle multiple frail, ailing residents at a time, according to Robyn Stone,  senior vice president for research at the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. Once aides leave, everyone else must pick up their caseloads, and the stress of the job rises.”

Ms. Russakoff did find a nursing home where a number of the nurse aides were long time employees…and this is where her mother lived until her death.  One particular nursing assistant was especially memorable:

“Ericka Dickens had been there for nine years when she became my mother’s aide. She had the patience and experience to navigate my mother’s stormy moods as her dementia worsened, to notice immediately when she was feeling weak or sick. Sometimes I would arrive in the early morning to find Ms. Dickens sitting beside my mother, holding her hand and talking to her.

I asked [Ericka] what made her want to stay in the job all these years. She said she always felt respected and supported, but the anchor for her and others is the bond with residents.”

You can read the complete article here.

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