Working as a CNA is itself a journey. As you spend years with patients and colleagues dealing with different diseases and health issues, there will be many reasons to look back and reflect as part of your self-discovery.
Learning about your inner self through reflecting on the past contributes to your mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing because you discover new and wonderful things about yourself. It’s a kind of assurance you give yourself that you did (and are doing) well.
So are you up for some reflection? Here are a few tips to get started:
1. Gather memories—good ones for reminiscing and feeling great, and bad ones to teach you lessons.
Working years as a nursing assistant will supply you with a lot of memories! Maybe there was a patient who tugged at your heartstrings with their grateful hug or a team-building event that made you feel special. You remember the lunch breaks you almost died laughing with friends . . . and that embarrassing moment the nurse reprimanded you in front of a patient.
As you look back at those times, save the happy memories for reminiscing. The rest are lessons to be learned and reminders of situations to avoid. Accept what’s done because without those experiences, you wouldn’t be who you are today.
2. Reflect on what you've become.
Did you become more knowledgeable? Spending time doing patient care can make you an expert at what you do. You can now recognize the signs and symptoms of certain diseases even if you’ve had limited training on them.
Do you appreciate working as a team? You’ve come to learn how to work with others and believe that teamwork accomplishes more than attempting single-handedly to do it all yourself.
Did you come to appreciate life, health, and relationships more than material things? As you encounter patients at their end-of-life or while passing sincere moments with them, you came to realize that there's more to life than work and paychecks.
Did your job make you more capable in the rest of your life? Think of how you found a balance between family and career or some of the difficult choices you’ve had to navigate. Explore these questions and you'll find that you've grown as a person and matured beyond your years.
3. What were your gains?
Ask yourself what good has come from your experience as a nursing assistant. Think of how your skills have improved. Remember how clumsy you were when you started? Now you support new CNAs!
Did you gain friends along the way? Friends usually come from the workplace because you spend so much time together. It's understandable to have built lasting friendships at work.
Did you prepare yourself to advance your nursing career? Or, maybe you feel like you’ve just scraped by, but your experiences made it all worth it. That’s something to be proud of, too!
4. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
As time passes during your job as a CNA, you'll come to discover more about your strengths and weaknesses. You'll come to recognize what you're good at and the things that challenge you no matter how hard you try. Build on your strengths and continue to work on your weaknesses.
5. Remember the people whose lives you touched.
As nursing assistants, you make a big impact at work! Think about the names of those people and remember how you made a difference in their lives. Perhaps you stayed by the side of a coworker having a really bad day, cheering them up and helping them regain their focus. Or, think of all the patients and families who were thankful for your sincere assistance.
Exploring your journey as a nursing assistant is worthwhile as you spend months and then years on the job. And it will feel awesome when that time comes and you can proudly tell yourself, "You’ve done great!"
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