The Balancing Act of Professionalism, Courtesy and Speed
It is not easy being a certified nursing assistant and anyone who tells you otherwise is a fool or lying. Arguably, the hardest part is the balancing act which CNAs must maintain in order to be professional-that of balancing professionalism with courtesy all wrapped up in efficiency! Sounds impossible? It’s largely a matter of practice and understanding how all three parts can actually work together to create a very good CNA who is helpful to the patients, co-workers and other nurses and doctors a like.
One of the biggest complaints which clients have towards CNAs is a lack of courtesy, but it’s not always the assistant’s fault. Speed is often the name of the game as overburdened faculties with not enough staff is forced to keep up with a myriad of demands. If this sounds familiar to you, then you’re not alone! But there are simple ways to be courteous and friendly with your patients.
Small talk. While taking the vitals of your patient, engage in small talk. Ask them how they are doing, take note of any complaints you can help with, ask about family, ask them about a book they’re reading, anything personal but friendly!
Compliment them. Bathing your patient is awkward, but breaking the ice can really help. Complement your patient on any exercising they’ve been doing or any new soap they’ve used or anything else like that. Compliment their choice of clothing for the day or their choice in books or recreation. It only takes a moment, but a sincere compliment can make someone’s entire day.
Take note of complaints… and act on them! With the permission of your supervisor, take note of any minor complaints and see if you can remedy them. For example, if your patient doesn’t like the vanilla pudding that is served for desert, see if you can get him or her another flavor. This requires next to no effort for anyone, but it will make the patient feel as though he or she is being heard and that means a happy patient.
Small courtesies only take a few moments, but it can really make your patient a lot happier and so make your faculty more popular.
It is very important to carefully manage your time because CNAs in a faculty often have many patients to see to throughout the day. Each patient has to feel as though he or she is important, but you can’t linger either. Efficiency is up to you though, it’s not something you should put on your patients or co-workers. Find ways to manage your time such as scheduling your day into patient ‘blocks’, asking for help as needed and make sure you practice basic procedures until you can do them without thinking too much. Efficiency takes practice, but it’s very important or you’ll end up piled under work and then the temptation to cheat on your forms becomes too much and that way leads to being fired and having your license revoked!
Professionalism is an attitude towards the job. It means everything from showing up to work on time and not taking too many sick days to keeping accurate records and always being willing to give a hand to your co-workers. It also means swallowing your pride when you need help, asking questions, and striving to better yourself.
Professionalism is difficult to define, but you’ll know it when you see it. It’s a matter of doing your job well and fitting in with the team as a whole. In essence, it’s about combining skill, courtesy, speed, and ethics into a beautiful whole. It takes practice and help, but you’ll get there!
Courtesy, speed and professionalism boil down to respect. Respect for your patients, respect for your co-workers and superiors and respect for your job; it all comes down having respect. If you can do that, you will find that you are a much better certified nursing assistant.