CNAs are a lot of things to a patient and their family. They are primarily a personal caregiver, attending to the patient’s activities of daily living. They serve also as their companion, confidante, and even their hairdresser! To nurses, they are the indispensable helpers who make a nurse’s job a lot easier.
While CNAs do a lot for everybody, they often do not feel confident enough to speak up about what they need to be effective in their jobs. To paint a clearer picture of what CNAs long for, we've created a common wish list for you:
1. An ideal (or humane) CNA-patient ratio
Does everyone agree that this wish tops the list? Many of you have probably told yourselves, "If only I had fewer patients, I could care for each of them better." While there’s evidence that caring for more patients than ideal puts patients at risk, there is not much happening to solve the problem.
Many factors affect the assignment of patient load, like the setting—more staff are needed in a hospital's post-op recovery unit than in a nursing home, for example, because the needs of a patient after surgery are much more complex than those in nursing homes.
Of course, CNAs want a lighter load so that they'll have enough time for meaningful interactions with their patients and don’t have to put off going to the bathroom themselves, because six more patients still need a change of incontinence pads. So, this wish deserves the number one spot!
2. The availability of the right equipment when you need it
You need to lift a 300-lb patient and another CNA is willing to help. But, even with the two of you using a turning sheet, the patient's weight is too much to handle without the use of a lifter.
You might have one that is working in your unit, which is great! But there are times that some staff seem to feel more entitled to using equipment and you are left to fend for yourself. When that happens, CNAs wish for the right equipment available, in working condition, when they need it.
3. Colleagues and management that truly care and listen
Any work goal is a lot easier to achieve, and challenge more readily overcome, when your colleagues work with you instead of against you. Supportive coworkers are truly motivation to put on your scrubs every day, but bullies exist even in healthcare.
Because CNAs are at the bottom of the healthcare food chain, they would love to have a voice loud enough to be heard and recognized without being “eaten” by the higher-ups.
4. Higher pay and better benefits
A CNA’s job is physically demanding as well as emotionally draining at times. Their tasks expose them to different injuries and hazards at work, such as torn muscles, damaged spines, or infectious diseases. But even with their backbreaking work, their take-home pay does not seem to do their efforts justice. While there are state and federal regulations that dictate their salary, CNAs still wish for better compensation.
5. A cure for diseases
This one’s a no brainer. Who wouldn't be happy when experts finally announce they've found a cure for cancer, AIDS, diabetes, or Alzheimer's? CNAs want no less than that, and what a dream come true to someday get this news!
Nursing assistants are hard workers with big hearts. Even when the going gets tough, they stay and do what they do best, providing care to the elderly, those with disabilities, and unwell patients. Their wishes may be too distant to be a reality, but that doesn’t stop CNAs from giving their all. Do you have anything to add to this list?
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