by Drake Taylor, NAHCA Contributor

The healthcare field as a whole is rapidly growing and CNA’s are the army/warriors to our team. Working as a Certified Nurse’s Assistant is not just a job, it is truly a passion. As front-line staff, we are the eyes and ears for both the Nurse and the Doctor. CNA’s go through many tough obstacles both emotionally and physically. There are several nights that we leave work with an achy back or sore feet. However, the great warrior never shows their pain or sadness on the line. The position of a CNA is vital, complex and very rewarding to say the least.

With the need for CNA’s growing so fast, we who are the senior warriors are the leaders to all the up-and-coming CNA’s. We must educate and train them with the proper techniques and tools to successfully succeed in our amazing field of health care. Teamwork is the dream work. We must learn to efficiently communicate with one another for the job to be completed thoroughly and smoothly. We are all alike in one way or another. We are there to help someone who can’t help themselves or complete the activities of daily living on their own. Essentially, we are all here for a very similar reason.

When I was young, I always knew I wanted to work in health care. I became a CNA at the age of sixteen after working in the dietary department of a long-term care facility for two years. After accepting the dietary aide position, it took only about one month for me to realize that I had definitely chosen the correct field for my interest but I starved for more 1:1 interaction with the residents. Every night I worked, I found myself inquiring more and more on the specifics of the CNA position. Everyone kept telling me that not just anyone could handle the job, it took a special person. I never fully understood what was meant by ‘not anyone could do it’ until I started working as a CNA myself. Once I did the job hands-on, I quickly saw that it took a very special person to be a CNA. We must be kind, patient, understanding and have all the compassion in the world. We are the ones that come in contact with the residents the most, therefore we must be very observant.

As warriors we are on the front line. We are the eyes and ears for both Doctors and Nurses. We see and care for our residents’ daily needs; we notice very minor changes before anyone else. Sometimes these minor changes being noticed are very important to the nurse; in some instances they may even save a life. That, again, is why communication is very vital in our field of work.

Since the warrior is the one seeing the resident daily, at times the resident may feel more comfortable sharing any health-related issues they may be having. There may be times that the CNA is the only familiar face to that resident.

Have you ever encountered a resident that did not receive many visitors? As sad as it may be, at times we are the only family that some of our residents have. I personally embraced that and make the most of it. Taking the time to talk to resident about their interests, about family or just taking a walk, provided some of the most valued memories. We empathize with them when they are down, we laugh with them when their spirits are high.

Warriors mean the world to many residents that I have encountered. They could be calling for many reasons, whether it’s to relearn to use the remote or for assistance to the bathroom. They are calling on the warrior for assistance and we must arrive with a smile on our face and complete the job at hand while making the resident feel as much a part of what is going on as we can. When it comes to the point in their lives that they need physical assistance, they are going to feel a lot more comfortable with someone they know helping them to transfer, along with other things, then they would feel with anyone else.

Overall, a nursing facility could not run smoothly without the frontline warriors. There are many tasks to our daily job and no matter how minor they are they are all very much needed. We show up to work every day with a smile and perform our job to the best of our abilities. Not a day goes by that we don’t touch someone’s heart or someone touches ours. A CNA is a strong warrior in healthcare for many reasons. To run a great nation you must have many great Warriors.