Friday, May 27, 2016

CNAs: The Unsung Heroes

If you work in healthcare, especially in long term facilities, you get asked a lot when the doctor’s going to come. On the rehab side of our facility, the patients even ask why the doctor isn’t coming in to see them more often. They’ve got pain, they’ve got nausea, or whatever other symptom, and they want the doctor to come in and see them.

If the doctor’s there, they’re going to feel better.

I’ve read so many memes about how the 23 hours and 50 minutes the doctor doesn’t see the patient, the nurse is the one who takes care of them.

It’s true. We see the patient much more than a doctor. But you know who sees the patient even more than the nurse?

CNAs are the unsung heroes of healthcare. They really get the short end of the stick more often than not. They’re in there constantly, making sure the patient is able to pee, poop, and get cleaned up. They’re the ones who sit down to feed the patient, and who grab a drink or snack when they’re hungry. I may try to help them out, but I know that I’m not in there as much as the CNA.

As a nurse, I depend on my CNA for just about everything. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve grabbed a CNA and asked a question about a patient. Does their pee look darker than normal? Are they acting more tired than they did yesterday? Are they eating all of their food? Are they drinking any water? Any new behaviors? All of my assessments are supplemented by what the CNA sees. I love giving report to my CNAs, letting them know what to expect during the day. Letting them know whose urine I need, and who needs to poop. (Yes, I know, most of my work is focused on pee and poop.)

Just like a doctor should depend on his/her nurse for insight, so should the nurse depend on their CNAs. We’re a team, and if we can work together, we can provide much better care for our patients. Communication is the key.

And CNAs are my heroes.