Jayme is an artist and freelance writer who trained in the medical field and has worked as a caregiver, farmer, mom, and DIY'er.
In another article, I wrote about courtesies that patients, residents, nursing staff, and families should extend to certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Now, I would like to directly address CNAs about appropriate workplace conduct.
In this article, I will cover:
- What you should be aware of as a nurse's aide
- How to provide quality care for your patients
- How to develop a good relationship with your nurse or supervisor
- How to get along with your coworkers
- How to handle a patient's family and visitors
I will also provide tips on how to take care of yourself so that you can perform your job effectively and prevent any unnecessary stresses or accidents. My hope is that, by the end of this article, you will be well-prepared to jump into the fast-paced and rewarding world of being a nurse's aide.
Courtesy Goes Both Ways
Working as an aide is a hard job. You face grueling tasks, unpleasant sights, and difficult people on a daily basis. Reality is often different from the textbook pictures of clean, happy, people being pushed in wheelchairs by smiling aides. The truth is that you may lift thousands of pounds over the course of a day's work. You may be hit, yelled at, left with too much work when a co-worker vanishes and splattered with a multitude of bodily fluids—rather like parenting.
However, also like parenting, being a caregiver can be a very rewarding job. It takes a special type of person to be an aide, and in my experience, there are two types:
- Those who do the job because they have to.
- Those who do the job because they love the people they care for.
You will find good and bad aides no matter what type they are. Regardless of your reason for becoming a nurse's aide or assistant, there are certain professional dos and don'ts you should follow when dealing with a patient, their families, your own superiors, and your fellow aides. These may take a little more effort on your behalf, but they can make life easier for everyone in the long run.
Before You Put On Your Scrubs
There are three important—perhaps life-saving—things to understand before you set foot on the floor:
1. Know your company's policies and your job description.
Know the policies of the company with whom you are employed. These go much deeper than what type of uniform you should wear. Some of these, unfortunately, may not even be in print. During your interview or orientation ask plenty of pertinent questions, and memorize the answers.
Talk to other aides and your charge nurse about certain protocols if you aren't certain how to handle a situation. For instance, many patients and their families will try to give aides a gift. The general opinion on this is that aides and nurses should not take personal gifts or payments for any services. However, different companies may have different methods of refusing or accepting gifts, depending on the type of gift and how it is given. Be safe rather than sorry.
Unless it is a dire emergency, you should NEVER perform a task outside of your scope of practice. This means that if you are asked to do a job that you weren't trained to do, or one that is not in your job description, you should refuse—even if it means angering your boss. Your certification and others' lives depend on your good judgment.
You may be trained and certified to perform a certain procedure, such as taking blood pressure readings, but if that is not in your job description, then it can still get you into trouble if you are caught doing so.
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2. Know your patients.
They are more than numbers and tasks.
This is more of a necessity for nursing homes than hospitals because hospital patients are usually only temporarily under your care. If you are a hospital aide, when taking over a shift, be sure to listen closely to all the information about the patients provided by the previous aide. Don't accidentally make a patient more uncomfortable by jostling a wound when you run in to do a quick vital check.
In a nursing home, you will probably know your residents very well after working with them for a short time, especially if you work in a smaller facility. Even though you will be very busy, take the time to learn more than just the information in a resident's chart.
This doesn't mean you need to know the names of all their grandchildren—of course, it would help if you remember names easily—but do try to know their personal likes and dislikes. What television channel do they like? Do they have a favorite outfit? Do they prefer the window blinds a certain way? Memorize the particulars, and the residents will be happier and more cooperative.
3. Understand a variety of illnesses and behaviors.
You don't need to be a doctor to brush up on some medical facts about the patients under your care. Although you cannot give medical advice, you can understand some unusual behaviors better by familiarizing yourself with the symptoms.
Not every patient will be the same, but you can get a general idea of what is normal, and therefore, normal for the individual. Once you understand the causes, a lot of seemingly worrisome (and sometimes frightening) behaviors are actually very simple and commonplace. Again, using the example of a nursing home, knowing the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's will help with your daily interaction with your patients. You'll understand that they have no control over their behavior patterns, and more importantly, you'll know what to expect.
Now that you understand your employer, your residents, and their particular conditions, let's move on to the daily routine of an aide and how you should comport yourself.
Duties of a Nurse's Aide
Aides do a variety of tasks. You'll do more than hold your patients' hands.
Depending on the facility, aides may:
- Make beds
- Clean rooms
- Check vitals
- Shower or bathe residents
- Dress and groom residents
- Serve and feed meals
- Help with toileting
- Help with ambulation
- Provide certain nursing care under the supervision of a nurse
Caring for Yourself so That You Can Care for Others
As an aide, you'll be very active and on your feet all day. It's a good idea to be well-prepared and look after your health and safety so that you can do your job as effectively as possible.
The CNA Survival Kit
Everyone loves to have their own customized survival kit, right? Build your own CNA survival kit from this list of things you should carry on your person or keep in your locker:
- Hand sanitizer
- Spare gait belt
- Spare gloves
- Spare scrub top
- Ink pens
- Hair bands
- Watch with a clip
- Lanyard or clip for keys/badge/watch
- Candy for energy
- Vicks salve (helps disguise nasty odors)
- Ibuprofen or Tylenol for aches
- Emery board (you will break nails)
- Small notebook (to write down points to remember, patient info, important numbers or door codes, and tips and tricks you learn along the way)
- Spare salt and pepper, sugar, and jelly packs. This keeps you from having to make a long trek back to the kitchen.
- Water or soda in a spill-proof bottle
Don't Neglect Your Safety!
- Avoid loose, dangling jewelry
- Keep long hair pulled back
- Wear comfortable, safe shoes
- Practice proper lifting and moving techniques
- Follow contact precautions
- Know your emergency routines and escape routes
- Wear gloves
- Know when to ask for help
- Report sexual harassment
- Never do anything outside of your job description
Proper Nursing Aide Etiquette
Rather than writing an exhaustive list of how a nursing assistant should behave while performing each task, I am going to break this up into four categories:
- Interactions with residents and patients
- Interactions with supervisors
- Interactions with coworkers
- Interactions with families and visitors
How to Provide Quality Care to Residents
Keep Their Privacy and Modesty
- Provide privacy. Don't leave doors open when changing or bathing a person. Don't call in another aide to chat with you or laugh at the patient's situation. DO NOT take pictures! That is just WRONG.
- Knock at any door before entering, and announce who you are and why you are there. Agitated, heavily drugged, or confused people may not remember where they are and why a stranger is in their room.
- Respect their modesty. When showering or toileting/changing, don't make quips about smells, their bodies, or the process.
Respect Their Needs and Preferences
- Listen sympathetically when residents complain. If it is a genuine complaint, try to let your supervisor know or correct it yourself when possible.
- When cleaning a room, keep the resident's personal preferences in mind. Make sure that private possessions are kept in their proper places.
- Don't use air freshener sprays unless the resident is okay with it. Some heavy fragrances can cause nausea or allergies in some patients, especially when they are taking certain medications. The same goes for heavy cleaners and disinfectants.
- When assisting a patient with dressing, give them a choice of outfits. Many aides neglect this courtesy to save time. It is okay to offer a choice between two outfits that are seasonally appropriate.
How to Handle Difficult Patients or Residents
- Resist the temptation of giving into their demands when they fall outside of the treatment protocol. It can be hard to ignore their pleas, but you could be doing more harm than good.
- Never speak badly of the resident or other residents during care, even if you think they can't hear or understand you.
- No matter how much you personally dislike someone under your care, or a particular task, don't mention it. You can rant about it at home later.
- If you need help from another aide, don't make it a personal insult to the patient. Saying, "You are too heavy; I need help moving you" is rude. Instead, say, "I am going to get Tina's help so I don't hurt you."
- It is okay to let a demanding person know that you are busy, just be sure to see to their needs as soon as you can.
- Be careful how you explain yourself. If you are late to answer a call light, you can say, "I'm sorry. I got here as soon as I could. Ms. Jones needed my help." You shouldn't say, "I couldn't get here sooner because Ms. Jones has diarrhea, and we had to clean up a huge mess." They don't want to know all of that.
- When you go to the nurse's station to make a report, think before you speak. "Elizabeth is really making me mad today" isn't informative to the nurse or considerate to the patient—even if she is being difficult. Instead, try, "Elizabeth keeps calling me, but then tells me to go away. She doesn't seem like herself today." Remember, other residents, staff, and family members are milling about and can overhear your words.
- Don't play favorites.
- Wash your hands before and after providing care, no matter how busy you are. You can spread infections to other patients and possibly back to yourself.
- Sssh! Try to avoid as many loud, startling noises as possible. Slamming doors, rattling trays, and loud shouts can be unnerving. Not to mention the clatter disturbs those who are resting.
- Do not go into a room pretending to provide patient care only to watch television or text on your phone.
- Be cheerful, but not condescending. Most of the patients under your care will be adults, and they won't appreciate being treated like children.
How to Handle Accidents
- Prevent accidents to the best of your ability. If you have access to the proper equipment, use it whenever necessary. I highly recommend having your own gait belt. Sometimes, the belts provided get old and frayed. Keep yours in your locker.
- Pay attention! If an accident occurs, you may have to help a nurse file an incident report. Try to note as many truthful details as possible. Don't cover for other people's neglect or deny your own.
- Be very careful of your watch or jewelry. I've seen a lot of accidental skin tears caused by metal watch bands and diamond rings. If you can't work around the jewelry, remove it and wear your watch on a clip.
How to Get Along With Your Nurse or Supervisor
When you first start on the path to becoming a CNA, you will hear people say how you are "one of the team" and how "important and loved you are by the nurses." There will be times when it will not feel that way. Nurses come in all varieties—from awesome to downright rotten. No matter how you feel about your supervisors, keep your interactions professional while you are clocked in.
Nurses are not more important or less important than other members of a team. It might not seem that way, but good nurses do just as much work as the aides during a day. You might see a nurse seated behind the desk while the aides are running up and down the halls answering lights. She might stop them to give new orders or chastise them for not getting something done fast enough, but that doesn't mean that she is lazy or that her job is easy.
Be respectful to your supervisor. Unless there is a professional issue at hand, you shouldn't add to the drama by complaining about her constantly. If you do notice that she is hindering the workflow, endangering patients or aides, or engaging in questionable behavior, by all means, report her to her supervisor. Otherwise, simply heed some of the following advice:
Tips for Building a Good, Professional Relationship
- Do your work as promptly and effectively as possible.
- Chart honestly and legibly.
- Don't tell her every detail about what you are doing. Stick to what she needs to know. For example, she needs to know that Mr. Smith has a strange rash. She doesn't need to know that you changed Ms. Collin's sheets.
- Manage your tasks around hers. If she is checking a sick patient's BP, don't burst into the room with the meal tray. Apply yourself to another task until she is done.
- Try to get her help only when you can't do it yourself or when the other aides are busy. She will respect you for being reliable, independent, and competent. Also, when you do ask for help, she will know that you are actually serious.
- Don't gather with other aides and talk about her. She is outnumbered and will probably feel threatened. This can lead to retaliation.
- Don't talk her down to the patients.
- Don't talk her down to visitors.
- Don't try to buddy up with the supervisor for the sole purpose of getting an easier assignment list.
Most importantly, don't tattle to your nurse unless it is about something important. You will witness plenty of questionable behaviors from your fellow aides or other staff, but try to limit the amount of finger-pointing to severe infractions. For example, if another aide is eating candy when she shouldn't be, this is only a minor issue. However, if she is selling candy to a severely diabetic patient, you should inform your nurse right away.
Staying on good terms with other CNAs helps everyone's job go smoothly.
How to Get Along With Coworkers
Yes, the other aides are the only people that can commiserate with you about your job. This doesn't mean you should do it while working. Go to lunch together if possible, or meet up on a day off if you want to vent.
If you don't get along with another aide, keep it professional when on the floor. Don't insult, belittle, or harass another aide. Be kind to new aides. It might be annoying to have to explain things you already know to a trainee, but you will appreciate their assistance once they become fully trained. Whether or not they choose to make your life easier may depend on how you treated them when they first started out.
Other Tips for Dealing With Coworkers:
- Do not huddle in rooms to talk or watch television. Only as many people as are needed for a task should be in the room.
- When you are caring for a patient, talk to them, not your coworker.
- Don't stand in hallways laughing and joking with co-workers. People can misconstrue this as being directed at them personally. Do, however, talk about anything important that needs to be done. You can joke while you work, but not about the residents.
- Watch each other's backs. If there is a combative patient, try to make sure no one goes in alone to provide care.
- Job swap when allowed. If Ms. Jones hates you but loves Pam, offer to look after Pam's hall while Pam sees to Ms. Jones. Residents will play favorites with their caregivers, which can be very frustrating and lead to safety issues. Do what it takes to make things run smoothly.
- Monitor your coworkers as you go through your shift. Neglect, abuse (verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual), and stealing need to be reported.
- Watch for aides that cut corners or do their job halfway. If you suspect that they are merely spraying the patient's hair rather than providing the full shower, report it to the person in charge.
- Again, limit the number of reports on coworkers to the most important issues. Leave the other stuff for residents, visitors or the nurses to notice when it is feasible.
- Be courteous to every staff member. Don't deliberately leave messes for housekeeping. Be kind to the cooks too. If it weren't for them, cooking would be one more task on the CNAs list!
How to Handle Family Members and Visitors
If your resident is lucky, they will be visited often by an assortment of friends and family members. While this is wonderful for them, it can be a trying experience for an aide. On the flip side, these situations usually involve humor.
The single, most important thing you can do is remind the visitors that you are an aide, not a nurse. Many people assume that anyone in scrubs a uniform is a nurse and may harass you with issues that are out of your control. Tell them you are an aide and offer to tell the nurse about their concerns.
5 Types of Visitors You Encounter as a CNA
These are the relatives that point out every wrinkled sheet and every speck of dust. Even if an aide has just been in the room to provide care, the first sign of an un-tucked corner or a need to toilet the patient will send these family members running to the head nurse with complaints about lack of care.
Response: Unfortunately, the best thing you can do here is to apologize and try to fix the situation as soon as possible. If you are in the middle of a task (such as caring for another patient) and can't leave, don't explain what the hold-up is, just tell them you have to finish your current tasks.
Family tends to think their resident is the only one that matters, and that aides are capable of being in several places at once. You can explain to your charge nurse later if needed, why you couldn't answer the call immediately.
2. Clueless Visitors
Here we have the people that just "don't understand." These are the family members that wander into any resident's room to use the toilet, sashay into the kitchen for a snack, and pass out candy to the residents regardless of restrictions. Do you have any idea of the danger a Lifesaver could pose to someone who is on a liquid diet due to choking issues?
Response: Politely redirect them away from anything they aren't supposed to be doing, and let your nurse know immediately, especially if they are doing something that can agitate others, create contamination, or possibly kill someone!
3. "The Royal Family"
These charmers are the type to burst into any facility with an entourage. They give the room the white glove test, then demand to "speak to someone in charge." They will usually address the aides as, "You there!" and throw around scary-sounding phrases like "speak to our lawyer." They also issue threats, and usually, keep all the staff hustling and befuddled because you will never know what to expect.
Response: As an aide, the best way to handle these visitors is by politely reminding them you are not the one in charge and escorting them to someone who is. Then, make yourself scarce. Don't allow yourself to get so nervous you can't do your job, but don't slack when they are around either.
4. The Good Visitors
These are the people that appear unobtrusively and visit more than just their family. They know everyone's name, what they like, and how they feel. They may bring gifts for others, flowers for the nurse's desk, or volunteer time. Residents and patients will love them, and you may notice a calm atmosphere when they are around.
Response: Be sure to thank them for their time if they volunteer. Keep them updated on anything new—not gossip, just issues that might have unsettled their family member or another resident. Breathe a sigh of relief that they are there.
5. The "Invisible" Family
These are the relatives and friends that you never see. Of all the types of visitors, these are the worst. You will hear about their existence, and watch sadly as residents ask daily if there has been any word from them. Residents may try to call them, write to them, or even run away to see them and will often have depressed moods when these family members don't appear.
Response: Always be sympathetic and reassuring when someone gets upset over a lack of visitation. Help them make phone calls or write letters, even if you know it won't do any good.
A CNA's job is not always easy or pleasant. Getting along with the residents and other staff and working as a team can make it easier for everyone involved.
However, being a nurse's assistant has great rewards. You will fall in love with your residents, and they will make you smile on some days and cry on other days. No matter how difficult the actual work, the hardest thing you will ever experience is losing one. Appreciate them as people, and enjoy the memories you are making every day.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
thebarefootpa from NSW, Australia on September 14, 2016:
wow, you have put so much information into this, thanks for your hard work and time spent crafting this article and especially for recognising the different needs of residents in care, and all the work done by the selfless staff who care for them
John Stewart on August 04, 2016:
Men are CNAs and Nurses too.
lysekla on April 20, 2016:
Ach kor :D
Iolani from USA on July 30, 2014:
Nurse aides should read this excellently written article because they can find valuable do’s and don’ts, and tips & guides that can help them perform their duties efficiently, and avoid unpleasant situations that may arise due to their ignorance.
Darlene on October 16, 2013:
Awesome blog, will be forwarding to our facebook for our CNA Students!
Beata Stasak from Western Australia on September 24, 2012:
Great and useful article, a lot of nurses in my family so it feels very relevant to me:)
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on September 22, 2012:
@sheriBear--Absolutely. I saw some awful things, most of which were the fault of the company, but aides and nurses are the ones that took the abuse for it from residents and families.
I can just imagine the future if the office people have to come out and do any of the floor work. They whined enough about it on State Inspection day, when they actually had to be seen. They didn't mind using their CNA and LPN titles to make up for the caregiver-to-resident ratio to save money, but they sure didn't want to get their hands dirty.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on September 22, 2012:
@Pfenig--Wonderful comment. It is true that a certain callousness develops in all healthcare workers. I think a lot of times it is due to self-protection. It is too easy to become overwhelmed by all the sadness and hopelessness in those facilities. And after awhile of being mistreated by other aides, supervisors, patients and families, a lot of aides simply develop a tough hide and treat it like a job to survive.
I did notice that a lot of aides that seemed the hardest, were indeed the most empathetic and caring, and would go out of their way to meet the needs of their people.
Sheribear64 from Omaha , Nebraska on September 16, 2012:
I have been a CNA for 25 years and have recently left the field, because when I first got into the field it was all about caring for your patients, now it's all about how many residents you can keep in your facility, keeping their money, and keeping the families happy. When the facility allows the residents to verbally and physically abuse the care giver, and also allow the families to verbally abuse you, leaving you feeling that your job is always on the line. You can't give very good service in that environment. I know that a lot of the aides working feel this way and are looking for other work in other fields eventually leaving the facilities shorthanded, but you can thank the residents and their families for that, I say good luck to them. What the future holds for them is in home care with the family members eventually having to do the cares themselves, because there will be no one there to do the dirty work. And as for the employers good luck to them, may they be prepared to roll up their sleves and do the dirty work themselves, because for those facilities with high turn over rates, this is their future.
Pfennig on September 16, 2012:
Great job! This article brought back memories of a time when I served as a CNA many, many years ago. The industry has not changed much; caring for the basic needs of other humans of any age, still requires the same basic skill sets. In later years, I have been both patient and family of the patient. Just as when I worked as a CNA, as when I became recipient of the care provided by CNA's, I found there to be a mix of both good and bad, skilled and careless, attentive and negligent, CNA's everywhere. It is rare that a truly "Bad" or negligent CNA will last long, either by being terminated by their employers or by seeking a better fit in another career themselves, (face it, people rarely stay in this low paid, underappreciated, under recognized job choice, unless one truly likes people and desires to have a positive impact on what is otherwise the worst days of their lives). One is more likely to find those that do their work tasks well, but either from callousness evolved from long exposure or the cluelessness from a lack of empathy, inadvertently ignore some equally important aspects which I was glad to see you address here. Things like the way a phrase is worded, or discussing the patient in publicly overheard areas or speaking about the patient's chances, or other negatives, within earshot of the patient (ears function directly to the brain, even when no other signs of awareness are present). Your article displays a sensitivity to the patient's point of view, and how the CNA can best enhance their skills while avoiding pitfalls of the more elusive social and psychological aspects of this demanding, yet satisfying career.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on September 16, 2012:
BobbiRant--Sounds as though you cared a lot for your residents. I like that. I worked in a small facility, with only 36 residents at the most. Even though this made for a very intimate setting, and we did indeed know our people very well, it was difficult to spend quality time with each. Unless state inspectors were there, we only had two CNA's on the floor.
The home got around the rules by making sure that all the office people were CNA's or nurses, even if they never stepped foot on the floor. Naturally, there weren't enough of us to make everyone happy, and we always took the blame for anything that wasn't done. We even took the blame for low supplies. Like you said, billion dollar industry and they would only provide a weeks worth of supplies to last the month. We were expected to come out of pocket if we "wasted" the supplies.
I hope as SSD you were good to the deserving aides. Our SSD treated us like minions. She was an aide too. Rather than offering a hand, she just lounged against the counter and gave criticisms to employees and residents. It was a shame too, she had the opportunity to make a huge difference in the lives of those people.
Thank you for commenting. Always a pleasure hearing from someone else concerned about the elderly and their living conditions.
BobbiRant from New York on September 16, 2012:
Having been a CNA, I have to say it is difficult to know your 'patients' I sincerely hope I'm Not a 'patient' reminded I am dying when in a facility. But it is hard to know the persons living there sometimes when higher ups constantly make you switch wings. Only Culture Change nursing homes are any good, in my book. Having worked as a CNA, with little to no respect even though I did a great job for them, then becoming a Social Services Director, getting much more respect, I've seen both sides. For a CNA, the pay is miserable and coupled with lack of respect makes many of them feel low on the totem pole. But, I know No place can run without them. They deserve much more pay (from a billion dollar industry) and much more respect. Interesting hub.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on September 14, 2012:
@vocalcoach--Thank you very much for the wonderful comment, vote, and share.
dbuddhika on September 14, 2012:
Excellent article. Very Interesting!
Thanks for sharing this! Voted up
Stephanie Henkel from USA on September 14, 2012:
Congratulations on your HubNugget nomination. This is an excellent article on Professional Etiquette. Although directed towards CNAs, I think that this is good advice for any health care professional or others who work with people. Voted up, interesting and shared!
Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on September 10, 2012:
I can see why your hub is nominated for a Hubnugget. This is marvelous! I have learned a great deal about the duties of a nurse's aide.It would be so helpful if more aides could read and learn from you.
I will share and hope that by doing so, more people will be exposed to this brilliant work. Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting!
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on September 09, 2012:
Thank you ripplemaker, for the nice comment! I really wanted to shed some light on what the nurse's aide job is about, and how to make it better for all involved.
Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on September 09, 2012:
Wow, such a comprehensive and excellent hub you have written here. Your passion and attention for detail is awesome! So much to learn. No wonder your hub has been nominated on the Hubnuggets! This link will show you https://discover.hubpages.com/literature/Back-to-S... Be sure to read and vote okay? Best of luck!
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on September 08, 2012:
Thank you very much for the wonderful welcome and comment. This is a subject I feel very strongly about, as well as that as the courtesy that is due to aides. The healthcare field would be a much better place if professionals, patients, and families always worked together as a team.
Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on September 08, 2012:
Welcome to HubPages and congratulations on your Hub nuggets nomination for this exceptionally well written hub about a very important topic.
This should be read and shared with anyone who already is, or is considering becoming a certified nurse's aide, as well as by nurses and the families of patients who are residents in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting.
Also shared with followers.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on August 24, 2012:
@Rtalloni-thank you for the lovely comment. I think more aides and nurses would provide better care if they were treated better and had more help. Those that don't perform well even in the best circumstances are probably not suited for the job.
@DzyMsLzy-Its true, hospitals don't provide as much privacy as care centers. However, in ER situations, I think other people are so focused on their own care or loved ones that they tune out most of the noise around them. My advice to caregivers in a situation where the patient is hard-of-hearing would be to offer to communicate by writing, such as on a wipe-off board, when discussing private issues.
A gait belt is a sturdy canvas belt that goes around the waist of a patient who is at risk for falling while walking. The nurse or aide holds the belt in a certain way so that if the patient stumbles she can either steady him or gently slide him down her leg to the floor so he isn't injured.
Thank you for the insightful comment!
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on August 24, 2012:
Excellent article. Although I'm not a health care worker, I've had occasion to be around hospitals plenty due to my husband's health issues.
One problem I've noticed a few times (and I don't really see any viable work-around) is the curtains-not-doors situation in the ER, and the LOUD discussions (audible from the next-door unit!) of every detail of a patient's symptoms because that patient was apparently very hard of hearing. How do you maintain respect/dignity/privacy in such conditions?
Healthcare interests me, but I did not study to become a nurse or doctor, because I don't have it in me to stab anyone with needles!
(BTW--What in the world is a "gait belt"??!!)
Voted up, useful and interesting.
RTalloni on August 24, 2012:
Such important information and well written--glad to see this post.
I was once in a particularly difficult situation with a relative at an ER, struggling to help, then a nurse provided coffee grounds to reduce odors. It worked!
My heart goes out to quality health care workers who try to do a good job but are spread too thin because of understaffing and slacker co-workers. You do a great job of pointing out the importance of doing this job professionally with compassion. Thanks.
rrnewmed on August 20, 2012:
Great lens, Sharkye11! There's lots of excellent information here for prospective and already employed CNAs. The job market is more competitive than ever, so it's a good idea to know as much as you can about your career for job security and just for your own pride of work.