I have heard so many stories, learned life lessons, and stepped into many different roles. As a caretaker, before you know it your family seems a lot larger.
Knowing that I am offering the best care possible, I sleep well at night knowing my residents are well looked after. I have the blessing of getting know each resident, their families, and their other caretakers. Constantly looking out for my residents' best interests, safety, respect, and health- I feel rewarded for having the honor of looking after such deserving people.
As an aspiring physician's assistant (pre-med student), gaining hours upon hours of experience in the setting of a nursing home or hospital look GREAT on applications. Most medical programs require an extensive amount of hours of direct patient care. Thankfully I am earning these hours while also being paid.
Working alongside nurses, doctors, therapists, etc. allows me to make many beneficial professional connections. Not to mention, their advice is SO helpful. Finding where you want to end up in the medical field is challenging, as there are so many options. Narrowing those options to what best suits you is a fun journey.
5. Staying Fit
Being a certified nursing assistant is a VERY physical job. Feeding, bathing, transferring, etc. residents takes a large toll on the body. However, I generally obtain at least 11,000 steps just within one 8 hour shift (reaching the 10,000 step daily goal). Gaining muscle is not something I ever thought I would experience, however it comes along with the job.
I have the opportunity to learn on the job every single day. Learning to recognize symptoms of various different health conditions, the process of treating those conditions, and the plan of recovery for each condition. A good amount of the residents generally have a chronic health condition, ranging from diabetes to chronic pain. Paying attention to prognosis, diagnosis, symptoms, etc. I recognize patterns in people outside of the nursing home. Knowledge is such a powerful tool.
7. Preparation for the Future
Within a few decades, as much as I hate to think about it, my own parents will be geriatrics. Knowing what I know now, having the experience that I have, I will now be able to take care of them myself if need be. I love my parents so much, and want to know that they will be getting the best care. The only way I can be 100% sure of that, would be if I was their caretaker.
8. Greater Empathy
I was already extremely empathetic before becoming a CNA, but I am now empathetic in ways I never could have predicted. I realize that families may come into hospitals and nursing homes with frustration and speculation, and I have learned to keep my emotions in check. Most often, those emotions are the result of a negative experience their loved one endured at a past facility.
Encountering many different bodily fluids each shift, I have a very high tolerance for pretty much anything at this point. In the beginning I just didn't sweat much about it, knowing that it was going to just be a part of the job. I still feel just about the same, doesn't quite phase me. We are ALL human.
10. Peaceful Goodbyes
I have lost a lot of close friends throughout my teenage years. For once I am surrounded by natural death. In which goodbyes can be delivered before it's too late. Rarely are goodbyes unexpected or undelivered. Closure is more consistent in my work setting. I have many beautiful angels looking over me now.