What if EVERYONE who works in a hospital or nursing home, (Excluding anyone physically limited) is required to take a 6-8 week Nurse Assistant course? The CEO or Nursing Home Administrator giving someone a shower or helping change a combative patient who has been incontinent? A doctor, are you kidding? People laugh and roll their eyes when I suggest this solution, but I’m serious! Why is it so crazy? It would solve staffing problems in two very BIG ways.
First, there would always be an extra pair of hands to help out when staff are out sick or there is a shortage of staff for some other reason.
Second, there would be organizational wide appreciation for the value and challenges of doing the work. This would indirectly help staffing because it would help to create a culture where these workers are treated like the special resources they are. This would include making sufficient staffing a priority and a little empathy for how long it takes to provide total care for some one might help with budget priorities. With enough skilled nurses’ assistants, nurses could delegate more effectively. Care would be done in the most cost-effective way.
This direct care work is often some of the hardest, critical, and most time-consuming work that goes on. These para-professionals play a vital role in helping nurses get more complex work done. It is so important in the care and comfort of patients, and when done well with compassion, patient experience can soar.
It is also back-breaking and much tougher when there are not enough staff. If you’ve been a patient or have a family member who has received really excellent care from a Licensed or Certified Nursing Assistant you KNOW what I am talking about. Not all LNAs or CNAs are amazing, but some sure are. I am eternally grateful to the ones who have helped my mother over the last couple of years and the many excellent ones I’ve worked with over the years. Here are a few stories:
Treasure Our Nurse Assistants! They are Doing One of the Hardest & Most Important Jobs in the World!
Improv, Intuition & Dementia: A Miracle Moment from the Frontlines of Nursing Care w/ Alzheimer’s Patients
Empathy Matters! Late at Night, in Rehab, My Anxious Mom, & ” A Woman Named Wendy”