Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Nursing Assistant, but not "Just" a Nursing Assistant

The other day I referred to someone as "just" a CNA. I refer to myself as "just" a CNA a lot. Why do we demean ourselves like that? We're not "just" anything. We're waitresses and maids; we're movers (usually of people, but sometimes of furniture, too); we're bartenders and hairdressers (both for their physical and psychological functions); we're shower attendants and cheerleaders.

I think we allow ourselves to feel like "just" CNA's because that's what people perceive us as. "Are you a Nurse?" "No, I'm just a CNA." It's only lack of education that separates us from the Nurses. As with most jobs, our lack of education is more than made up for by our wealth of experience. We have a more complete physical and psychological profile of our resident's than their nurses and doctors could possibly have. The more education you have, the fewer puzzle pieces of the resident you have. As CNA's we get to work with the majority of the pieces.

I've been asked several times if I want to be an LPN. "Nope." In a long term care facility, it's the CNA's that get to do the hands-on work that I enjoy. The nurses are relegated to finger-sticks, breathing treatments, wound treatments and loads and loads of paperwork. They may be a "Nurse", but I'm doing the true nursing work. Maybe they're "just" nurses, after all.


Dana said...

Beautifully said!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. We are really the eyes and ears. CNA's are so important. We really do so much, we deserve respect. I also feel that we are underpaid. Our jobs are just as important as nurses if not more. I would love to see the day where our pay is equalized. Instead of being seen as a lower form, we are seen as an equal attribute.