Certified nursing assistants care for people day in and day out. They have more contact with the individuals in their care than nurses, doctors, facility managers, and sometimes even family. CNAs help with practical tasks, but they are also conversation partners and advocates. Because caregiving responsibilities are so broad, you might be surprised by the personality traits that can come in handy!
CNAs are advocates for the rights of those they care for. Fifty percent of caregivers communicate with care providers, community services or government agencies on behalf of their clients, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. “Being courageous is important because it allows you to stand for what is right,” says NextStep mentor Kiana Martinez. “A big part of being a CNA is advocating for your patient and doing the right thing.”
People are at their most vulnerable when they need care. It may be difficult for them to express their needs. They may be in pain. As a CNA, having patience allows you to give those in your care the emotional and mental space they need. It also helps you remember that even if a client speaks brusquely or becomes frustrated, it’s probably not about you personally. That’s a perspective that will keep you happy and healthy while caregiving!
No situation is so bad it can’t benefit from a little – appropriate — humor. Because CNAs are part of their clients’ everyday lives, it’s important to remember that professionalism doesn’t have to mean seriousness all the time. Being able to laugh with someone in your care can be as helpful as making sure they get a good dinner!
We all will need to be cared for at some point in our lives. Caregiving is, as NextStep learner Emily R. puts it, “one of the most human things you can do with another person.” The ability to empathize with what individuals receiving care are experiencing is one of the most powerful tools in a CNA’s toolkit. Empathy can often be the foundation for courage, patience, and yes, even humor.
Sound like you? Then you’d probably make a great caregiver! The first step is to get certified through NextStep’s training-to-placement program. Our blended-learning course is tuition free, can be completed in about six weeks and guarantees employment after graduation!