Certified nursing assistant. Noun. An employee who is highly overlooked and always there to clean up the messes. Good and bad.
As a CNA in a nursing home, I have completed some of the most grueling and unfortunate tasks. I have changed more beds than a hotel maid. I have around 20 extra grandparents. If I am holding your hand, I will typically do range of motion exercises on it. How do I survive? Well…
My first day on the job as a CNA, four key things happened to me. One, I was told I am too young to have a real-life job. Two, I was kicked and got a black eye. Three, I was pooped on to the point where I smelled like I had been sitting in a sewer for the past week. Four, I walked into what looked like a murder scene from a man falling out of his recliner in his room. Most people told me that my new job was going to be easy and it was “no big deal,” but I can tell you from my first day, it is not easy. Being a CNA consists of doing the grunt work that nobody else wants to do. We are one of the underlooked and underappreciated factors of the healthcare field, even though we have the majority of contact with patients. Honestly, healthcare would not function nearly as efficiently without CNAs.
What do we do on a daily basis? I provide all basic cares an elderly person would need, and can’t do themself anymore. These cares include: dressing, bathing, feeding, toileting, walking, and basically helping with any need they have. I am famously known as the “poop queen.” In other words, I always get stuck cleaning up more poop than anyone else and end up with the majority of it on my scrubs. I am so thankful that scrubs are reasonably priced and also that washers, dryers, and stain remover exist. One particular day of my job went as follows:
I sprinted in, because I was almost late, and quickly got report from one of the nurses. I was on a unit that I had never been on before, but I was good with change and adjusted quickly. Not even three minutes into the shift and a call light already goes off. Ugh, those call lights are so loud and the beeping sound is so constant that I can hear them in my sleep. I realized the call light was coming from a room with a woman with C-diff. Side note: C-diff is a bacteria in poop that is hands down the nastiest thing I have ever smelled. Before I went into the room, I had to gown and glove up for isolation precautions. Great, here we go. After this, I walked into the woman’s room and started to help her up, since she expressed she went to the bathroom in her pants.
Awesome, the fun was continuing. I swear if this lady goes all over the floor, I’ll die. The next thirty seconds consisted of me helping her up and simultaneously getting sprayed from the waist down in poop. Well, it wasn’t JUST on the floor, it was on me too. Yet again, the poop queen.
Although I just explained something to you that sounds like absolute hell on earth, I love my job to pieces. My residents are some of the sweetest people I have ever met, they just have a mental condition and are not aware of a majority of their actions. I always look forward to that one man down the hall who always smiles at me or the sweet lady in the corner who kisses my forehead. They are people, just like me and you, who need to be loved and cared for abundantly and without question. There is nothing a resident could ever do to me, even kicking me in the eye, that would make me want to quit doing what I love and will be continuing in the future. That, right there, is how I survive; it’s the little things.
A Victim of Belittlement