10 Things I've Learned Being a CNA
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10 Things I've Learned Being a CNA

It's way more than just wiping butts.

10 Things I've Learned Being a CNA

I've wanted to pursue my Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license since the beginning of high school. Maybe because I've always loved taking care of others, or maybe because I thought it would set me up for my future career path. Either way, doing so was one of my greatest decisions in my young life. I leave work knowing I made a difference in someone's life, even if it was just by helping them get ready for bed and turning on their favorite TV show.

1. Spend quality time with the elderly people in your life.

I can't begin to explain the joy I see on the residents' faces when a family member comes to visit them, or simply gives them a phone call. Being in a nursing home, and retirement in general, can be quite lonesome. A lot of times, simply seeing their granddaughter or son through a window is the highlight of these peoples' weeks. Visit your loved ones, before it's too late.

2. Whatever you're doing, do it with a smile.

Don't get me wrong, I've definitely walked into a shift in a bad mood more than once, but smiling and laughing with the residents is one of my favorite parts of this job. These people, like all people, need joy. The more joy you can spread, the better, even if it is while wiping someone's butt.

3. As a young person, you can learn so much from the elderly.

Everybody has a story to tell. Many of the residents have served in wars, have children, lost a spouse, and traveled all over the world. Whatever they've done in life, they all lived a big, long life well before you met them. I guarantee you, you can learn a lot from a conversation with the elderly.

4. Golden Girls is actually a hilarious show.

I had to throw this one in here. I've always been a Betty White fan, but I never thought I'd laugh out loud at a show about 4 elderly women/best friends. If you ever want to check it out, Hallmark has a Golden Girls marathon each and every Sunday. I would know, that's all I hear blaring from each and every television all day on Sundays.

5. Eat dessert first. 

One of the residents at the nursing home I work at insists on eating whatever is served for dessert prior to touching his meal. I asked him why one day, and he responded simply, "Life is too short." Amen, brother. Eat that chocolate cake, and worry about the chicken parmesan later.

6. Healthcare is all or nothing. 

Prior to this job, I had only held retail/customer service jobs. Honestly, I never really cared about those positions. They were just an easy way to make money. Being a CNA is my first healthcare job, and it made me realize just how hard our healthcare employees work. Working in healthcare is emotionally and physically challenging at times. Thank the healthcare heroes in your life.

7. Sometimes, you need to just shut up and listen.

I definitely describe myself as chatty, but when I'm at work, I know when to stop. You can learn so much from others if you simply listen, and take in what's being said. Being there for others is incredibly important in this life, for everyone is going through something that you may know nothing about. Like I said previously, every body has a story to tell.

8. Caring for others can be exhausting, but rewarding.

Caring for someone else, helping them use the bathroom, eat, get into bed, and all else this job encompasses, is tiring. The shifts are long, and sometimes I feel like quitting. The smiles I bring to the residents' faces, though, makes it all worth it. They know they need your help, and even if it doesn't always seem like it, they appreciate it more than you know.

9. Working in healthcare is not for the weak-minded.

Often, I feel like I'm on a roller coaster of emotions at work. I've witnessed residents die, I've watched as a nurse told a woman resident that her husband died, and I've seen people be sicker than imaginable, especially since the pandemic began. Working in healthcare is raw, and it's soul-wrenching, but knowing you made a difference in someone's life is incredibly rewarding.

10. Life is precious, and so is health.

"Don't get old!" I hear from residents each and every shift. I work with people who's youth has escaped them, and I see how frustrated it makes them. I watch them struggle to stand up, move around, and even eat. Your health can be taken from you so quickly, and your time will be up before you know it. It's a short life. Give thanks for your health, and for your youth.

CNA work is certainly not pretty, but there's no other job I'd rather have at this point in my life. Do me a favor, hug your grandparents a little tighter next time you see them.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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