5 Things I Learned While Being A CNA

5 Things I Learned While Being A CNA

It's more than just $10 an hour. It is priceless.

If I asked you to wipe someone's butt for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to give a shower to a blind, mentally confused person for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to simply wear a shirt stained with feces that was not your own for 12+ hours for $10 would you do it?

You probably wouldn't do it. I do it every day. During the course of one hour I change diapers, give showers to those who can no longer bathe themselves, feed mouths that sometimes can no longer speak and show love to some that do not even know I am there all for ten dollars.

I am a certified nursing assistant.

My experiences while working as a CNA have made me realize a few things that I believe every person should consider, especially those that are in the medical field.

1. The World Needs More People To Care

Working as a nursing assistant is not my only source of income. For the past year I have also worked as a waitress. There are nights that I make triple the amount while working as a waitress for 6 hours than I make while taking care of several lives during a 12 hour shift. Don't get me wrong, being a waitress is not a piece of cake. I do, however, find it upsetting that people care more about the quality of their food than the quality of care that human beings are receiving. I think the problem with the world is that we need to care more or more people need to start caring.

2. I Would Do This Job For Free

One of my teachers in high school said "I love my job so much, if I didn't have to pay bills, I would do it for free." I had no clue what this guy was talking about. He would work for free? He would teach drama filled, immature high school students for free? He's crazy.

I thought he was crazy until I became a CNA. Now I can honestly say that this is a job I would do for free. I would do it for free? I'd wipe butts for free? I must be crazy.

There is a very common misconception that I am just a butt-wiper, but I am more than that. I save lives!

Every night I walk into work with a smile on my face at 5:00 PM, and I leave with a grin plastered on my face from ear to ear every morning at 5:30 AM. These people are not just patients, they are my family. I am the last face they see at night and the first one they talk to in the morning.

3. Eat Dessert First

Eat your dessert first. My biggest pet peeve is when I hear another CNA yell at another human being as if they are being scolded. One day I witnessed a co-worker take away a resident's ice cream, because they insisted the resident needed to "get their protein."

Although that may be true, we are here to take care of the patients because they can't do it themselves. Residents do not pay thousands of dollars each month to be treated as if they are pests. Our ninety-year-old patients do not need to be treated as children. Our job is not to boss our patients around.

This might be their last damn meal and you stole their ice cream and forced them to eat a tasteless cafeteria puree.

Since that day I have chosen to eat desserts first when I go out to eat. The next second of my life is not promised. Yes, I would rather consume an entire dessert by myself and be too full to finish my main course, than to eat my pasta and say something along the lines of "No, I'll pass on cheesecake. I'll take the check."

A bowl of ice cream is not going to decrease the length of anyone's life any more than a ham sandwich is going to increase the length of anyone's life. Therefore, I give my patients their dessert first.

4. Life Goes On

This phrase is simply a phrase until life experience gives it a real meaning. If you and your boyfriend break up or you get a bad grade on a test life will still continue. Life goes on.

As a health care professional you make memories and bonds with patients and residents. This summer a resident that I was close to was slowly slipping away. I knew, the nurses knew and the family knew. Just because you know doesn't mean that you're ready. I tried my best to fit in a quick lunch break and even though I rushed to get back, I was too late. The nurse asked me to fulfill my duty to carry on with post-mortem care. My eyes were filled with tears as I gathered my supplies to perform the routine bed bath. I brushed their hair one last time, closed their eye lids and talked to them while cleansing their still lifeless body. Through the entire process I talked and explained what I was doing as I would if my patient were still living.

That night changed my life.

How could they be gone just like that? I tried to collect my thoughts for a moment. I broke down for a second before *ding* my next call. I didn't have a moment to break down, because life goes on.

So, I walked into my next residents room and laughed and joked with them as I normally would. I put on a smile and I probably gave more hugs that night than I normally do.

That night I learned something. Life goes on, no matter how bad you want it to just slow down. Never take anything for granted.

5. My Patients Give My Life Meaning

My residents gave my life a new meaning. I will never forget the day I worked twelve hours and the person that was supposed to come in for me never showed up. I needed coffee, rest, breakfast or preferably all of the above. I recall feeling exasperated and now I regret slightly pondering to myself "Should I really be spending my summer like this?" Something happened that changed my view on life completely. I walked into a resident's room and said "Don't worry it's not Thursday yet", since I had told her on that Tuesday morning that she wouldn't see me until I worked again on Thursday. She laughed and exclaimed "I didn't think so, but I didn't want to say anything," she chuckled and then she smiled at me again before she said, "Well... I am glad you're still here." The look on her face did nothing less than prove her words to be true. That's when I realized that I was right where I needed to be.

Yes, I was exhausted. Yes, I needed caffeine or a sufficient amount of sleep. My job is not just a job. My work is not for a paycheck. My residents mean more to me than any amount of money.

I don't mind doing what I do for $10; because you can't put a price on love. The memories that I have with my patients are priceless.


Cover Image Credit: Mackenzie Rogers

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How Speed Dating Helped Me In A Class Where I Knew No One

In most classes, the first day (or few days) is mainly for reviewing and studying the syllabus, but clearly my professor had something a little bit more untraditional in mind.

Upon the beginning of a new semester, the start of new classes means there are a lot of new people to meet.

At my university in particular, our community is huge (40,000 undergrad), and we all have had many enormous lecture halls where it is basically impossible to get to know every single person in the room. However, there are certain classes where the amount of students is significantly downsized, and different types of students will have different reactions to this.

When I arrived on my first day of English-15 class (the required English class for every student in attendance at the university), the initial moments were awkward and somewhat nerve-racking. As I sat in my seat surrounded by 22 unknown faces, my professor instructed that we were going to play a game. In most classes, the first day (or few days) is mainly for reviewing and studying the syllabus, but clearly my professor had something a little bit more untraditional in mind.

My professor then said that we were going to be “speed-dating” with others in our class. I had always thought that the term “speed-dating” was to be used in a romantic sense only, and in my eyes, the classroom was not the appropriate place for this. As we were quickly organized to sit face-to-face with complete strangers, I was all of a sudden intrigued.

For twelve rounds, we were given about three minutes to talk to each of our classmates. While about half of the time allotted was filled by obligatory small-talk (i.e. where the other person is from, what they plan to study, how old they are), the other half of each conversation continually turned into something different each time I spoke with someone new.

I talked about many different topics of varying importance and seriousness, but the interesting part was that I created these conversations with people I had never even seen prior to the start of class that day.

Although it was nine o’clock in the morning and I would have usually left class feeling sleepier than when I arrived, this first day of class was far from what I expected and I felt energized by the end of it. Although it was difficult to keep track of what I talked about and with whom I talked about it, speed dating largely improved the dynamic of the classroom and made the situation a lot less awkward than most first-day-experiences I had previously been a part of.

Although talking to strangers has its way of making some people feel initially uncomfortable, it really is the most efficient way to break the ice among students.

As educators of all different levels are actively creating new teaching methods for this generation of students, being a student myself, I feel as though the beginning of academic success begins with comfort inside of the classroom. Although the terms “speed-dating” and “learning” don’t traditionally go together in an academic sense, they helped create a pleasant environment in our classroom that will ultimately motivate me to feel comfortable around my peers and my professor alike.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I Rented My Textbooks From Chegg And I Saved Hundreds

Say Goodbye to overpriced books, and say hello to cheap ones!

Textbooks have to be one of the worst parts of college. I love to learn, I love my classes, but I hate the textbooks that come with them. It has nothing to do with the content, but the price tag.

In college, you pay a ridiculous amount of money for textbooks because professors either have you buy the newest edition where there isn't a rental or used book to purchase, they make it available only in an E-book format, or they have you buy the textbook that comes with an additional $100 access code just so you can do your homework. It's stressful and ridiculous and I always find myself spending over $200 for textbooks each semester. Yeah, not per year, per SEMESTER.

This semester, I decided to take a little more action when it came to my books. Instead of ordering my books through the school bookstore, I did some research. I tried Amazon, but they were about the same price as the bookstore if not more at times.

So, I scratched that off my list. Then, I turned to buying used books from other students. It worked with a couple books, but a lot of people didn't have the version of the book I was looking for or were also selling it for a ridiculous price. With only two of the six textbooks I needed in hand, I was at a loss for what to do next. Then, I heard about this website called Chegg. I actually stumbled upon it while looking on Pinterest for "Cheap College Textbooks." I had always heard of Chegg, but I always figured it was too complicated and chose to never use it.

Let me tell you, that was stupid. I looked up the three books I needed and the total price for the three of them had my jaw dropping. My total came out to $85, which was the price of just one of my books at the bookstore.

Below my total, Chegg told me I was saving over $200. Can you believe that?! On top of that? They also offered me free shipping and it would be in my hands in 2-3 days. Also, instead of having to return my books the last week of school, I had a whole extra month to do it. I mean, I probably won't need that long, but hey, life happens sometimes and you forget!

They also send you a label to print off and you just have to pack the books up and ship them off! No return lines, no waiting, just returning your books on your own time.

There are also many other features to Chegg that include free E-books of the textbook you just rented, study tips, and lessons that go along with the books you rented. It really helps when it comes time for homework and tests!

There is a Chegg App that you can download to keep track of your orders and you can also use it for some of these features and to sell some of your own books that you might have!

One last thing that made me just fall in love with Chegg is that when I opened my box, it had a bunch of free goodies inside! There was a sample bag of tide pods, a coupon for MORE tide pods (I can never get enough of those honestly), gum, some coupons and even some gift cards that could be used for cute things for my room and also for some meals! It was just a really nice thing to find because it made me feel like more than just a college student trying to get cheap books.

It actually made me feel like a real person. That may sound odd, but it's true! By them just putting in something extra in my box, it helped eased my stress and mind about all the book troubles I had and it showed me that the people who work at Chegg actually care. They could have just sent my rental books, but they took the extra mile, and I think that's what every textbook rental place should be doing. I ordered my textbooks from Chegg and I'm telling you, I'm never using any other rental place.

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