One of many things that was so wonderful about our recent CNA Fest is that it put a real focus on CNAs and gave them an exclusive opportunity to be seen, heard, and celebrated. But how many of you went home and back to work and felt invisible?
There are many reasons you may feel this way. But there are things you can do to make yourself seen and heard:
- Be mindful. Be aware of what you are feeling in the present moment. Acknowledge to yourself that you are feeling invisible and what about the situation is contributing to that. Are you with people you think don’t understand or appreciate you? Do you feel like an outsider, like you don’t fit in? Do you feel inferior or out of your depth? When you identify why you feel invisible in the moment, you come closer to an understanding and to identifying solutions.
- Set boundaries. This may be uncomfortable but consider reaching out to your manager or other team leader. Tell them what you’re feeling and suggest a solution. For instance, you might say, “I’ve worked here for 5 years and I know the residents better than anyone. I feel like I could have valuable input on care planning if I was involved in meetings.” Once people understand your goals and expectations, they are better positioned to meet them.
- Be proactive. Ask to participate in meetings or on committees. Volunteer to take on projects or activities you feel passionate about. If you feel left out in your personal life, don’t wait for invitations. Organize events or invite people to join you for brunch or happy hour.
- Get in touch with your feelings. Don’t repress or ignore your emotions, and don’t get down on yourself for feeling invisible. Share your feelings with a trusted colleague or friend or consider getting support/guidance from a therapist or other professional.
- Take responsibility. It may be tempting to place the blame on others; and, indeed, others’ actions definitely may contribute to your feeling invisible. But consider what you could do differently. Focus on what you can change versus what is out of your control. Could you be more outgoing? Could you do a better job of self-promotion (for instance, let your supervisor know you completed an online course on infection prevention/control and volunteer to help the infection preventionist in some way).
- Look at organizational culture. Before you leave a job because you feel invisible, take steps to help make sure you won’t just feel the same way in your new place. What kind of culture does the organization have? Are CNAs included in meetings and committees? Do nurses and physicians treat CNAs with respect, and do they seek and listen to their input and ideas?
The NAHCA Facebook page and groups like CNAs United Voice can help connect you with colleagues from across the country who share your feelings and challenges. Particularly when you’re feeling isolated, they can help you see that you’re not alone and help empower you to make yourself seen and heard.
NAHCA works to give you a voice. We know what a powerful difference you make in the lives of so many people. We would welcome your stories about feeling invisible and how we can help you get the positive attention you deserve.