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Scholarship Recipients

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Celeste Billups

I am a Hospice CNA. My passion started 5 years ago, when I decided to become a Certified Hospice and Palliative Nursing Assistant. I am the only CNA in my office with that certification. I obtained this certification with the intent to take better care of my end of life patients, and make sure I was doing everything that I could to make their transition as smooth as possible, as well as tend to the family’s needs. I have also recently been appointed a Community CNA Liaison. I take the role very seriously as I share my story as a cancer patient, almost a hospice patient but I am proud to say that I am a survivor.

I came away from my ordeal with a new outlook about my role as CNA, due to the wonderful care I received as I was a patient. I could now honestly stand in my patients’ shoes and understand their emotions and fears and justify them. I feel that as a CNA, we have a very important role in our patient’s recovery or transition because we are the ones who have the most contact with them and we become their advocate. I was so excited to become a part of this organization and I will be encouraging other CNAs to join as well as I go out and do motivational speaking with facilities in my area. I am more than a CNA, I am going to do everything I can to empower other CNAs to learn everything that you can because you are doing this to provide quality care for your patients who deserve nothing less. I highly advocate for customer service in the sense that CNAs should treat their patients the way they would want their family member to be treated.

I am known in my office to voice my opinion if I do not agree with a plan of care for a patient from a CNA standpoint. I do everything possible from documentation to having the patient speak for themselves. Hospice is my passion, but being a CNA is my calling. I am truly proud of my profession.

Christine L. Perry

In 2004, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. For the first year, she received chemo and radiation therapy. The combination worked to shrink away the tumor in her lung but we soon found out it metastasized to my mom’s brain and brain stem. The new tumors were resistant to the chemo and radiation. The one in her brain did shrink a little, but the one in her brain stem was large and debilitating. Six months after my mom’s brain tumors showed up, she became paralyzed. She could no longer move or do anything for herself. In January of 2006, my mother moved in with my boyfriend and me. It is then that I learned how to take care of another person. Hospice became involved and set my home up with all the proper medical equipment. The nurses taught us how to medicate my mother, how to care for her wounds, and her catheter. They taught us how to give her a bed, bath, and change the sheets while she was still in the bed. We learned how to use a Hoya lift and how to do range of motion exercises so that her joints wouldn't get stiff. In May of 2006, after almost two years of fighting; my beautiful, loving, and compassionate mother lost her battle.

For the next two years, I did very little; I was very depressed over the loss of my mother. I passed the days away with little ambition to do anything at all. Finally, after two years of living with no real purpose, I decided to do something that matters. I signed up for the Massachusetts Bay Arc CNA course through the American Red Cross. The course at the time was three weeks of class instruction and one week of practical skills in the nursing home setting. I threw myself into the class and excelled. I already knew most of what they were teaching because of having taken care of my mom. After passing the written and practical exams, I received my CNA license. My first job was working on the telemetry unit of a hospital. I did the 11pm to 7am shift there. I learned so much there. On top of all my other skills, I learned how to check blood sugars, do EKG's, put on heart monitors, and much, much more. The hospital was great but it wasn't what I was really looking for.

My friend told me about this website in Massachusetts where you put your information on it and people hire you privately to care for their loved ones. I received a phone call from a place called Bridgewell. This was a place that supported people with physical, psychological and developmental disabilities. I was intrigued so I went to the interview where I was offered a job; I accepted. I was hired to work in a group home with six of the most diverse men I have ever met. One gentleman had schizoaffective disorder; another had grandma seizures; the third was a quadriplegic; another gentleman had cerebral palsy; and the last two had severe developmental disabilities. I was so overwhelmed at first and scared. My training hadn't prepared me for taking care of such a diverse group of people. I stuck with it though. I took all the trainings and advice. After about two months, I finally had a clue what I was doing. I went to work every day with my head held high because I had the true honor of supporting such a wonderful group of individuals.

In 2012, after working at Bridgewell for a year, I had to give my notice. By this time, I had a baby and we decided to move our little family to upstate New York, a little town called Queensbury. I was already hired by a company called AIM Services. It was another nonprofit agency that worked with the disabled. I thought it was going to be pretty much the same as where I came from in Massachusetts, but I was wrong. I have worked for AIM Services for five years. The population we serve is so vulnerable. We have many non-verbal individuals or individuals who just can't communicate their wants and needs. We also have individuals who can do everything on their own with minimal support. The diversity of the individuals is what makes my job amazing. I have the distinct pleasure of going to work every day and supporting the most wonderful group of people. I choose to enter their home every day and have made a promise to leave all my own stuff at the door. We all have bad days, but you can't bring that into the healthcare field.

On any given day, I have a good chance of being hit, urinated on, thrown up on, pooped on, and even be called nasty names. I also have a good chance of being told I love you, or having the opportunity to make someone who doesn't feel well, feel better. I get to give showers and make these beautiful people feel fresh and clean. They teach me patience, understanding, and compassion. The individuals that I care for have given me a chance at a new life. I had given up after my mom died. These beautiful people found their way into my fragile heart and have given me purpose. Every day, I wake up thankful for my sweet little boy and for the wonderful job that I now have. I give everything to the people I serve. I am honored and blessed that I get to spend my time with these amazing people. I will never take them for granted and will strive to always do right by them. I treat them exactly how I treated my mother, with love and gentleness and patience. That is how I put my passion into action!

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Cynthia G. Nabors

How does one put their passion into action for frail, elder, and disabled people daily? When one is said to have passion, that means that a person has a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something. But it really means a willingness to suffer for what you LOVE!

Working with the elderly requires patience, humor, gentleness, and a good-natured approach to life. Often, we can brighten up their days, simply with our presence and our smile. Building a good relationship with your resident can have good outcomes. Being a good listener, sitting down and drinking a soda, and looking at old pictures with great stories brings smiles and happy moments; but most importantly, we are their voices.
I like building a good relationship with my residents. It seems the more I know them, the more I can interact with them nightly. Yes, all caregivers know and understand their nightly duties in providing their residents with the best of quality care. But, I myself, like to go beyond that by being a good listener.

I love it when my residents show me pictures because each picture has a great story. A story of their life before long term care; a story like you and I have. They worked at a job; loved and treasured; had a home they worked hard for; and had a family. Now, some of them hardly come around. That is why I love to stop for a moment to hear their great stories. Not only can I be a good listener, but be their voice or advocate.

The meaning of an advocate is to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly. In simple terms, it means someone like you or me who will fight for another person. No, this does not mean to physically fight, but fight by arguing, protesting, or in court.

So, how can we be the voices of our residents? We can use our voices to fix problems. Our residents, as you know, have a right to quality care that is free from abuse and neglect. It is up to us to speak up fearlessly because they can’t speak or they are afraid to speak; so, we become their voice. Another reason we are their voice is they need our support. They need someone strong to pass their concerns to the right people.
So, how do I put my passion into action? By not only being a good caregiver, but going beyond; by building a good relationship with my resident, being a good listener, and most importantly, being their voice.

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Jamey L. Lowe

Each day, I want to make the lives of our residents so much better. It doesn't matter if they are the short stay residents that come in for skilled therapy, the ones that know they are going to be there for the rest of their lives, or the ones that come to our home with not but a short time left. They all have a very special place in my heart and I give it my all to see a smile on their face and make sure that every day they have is filled with joy and happiness; whether it be flapping our wings and clucking like a chicken, along with other animal noises and movements during daily exercise; making sure they get the "greatest meal they've ever gotten" every day; or just being there every day with a positive, upbeat attitude. Bringing that positive, upbeat, and happy attitude makes all the difference, because being a CNA or restorative aide in the resident’s home is not just a job, it's a privilege.

Every morning, I strive to make our daily exercise the most enjoyable, exciting experience our residents will have for the entire day. I don't call it “daily exercise.” I tell our residents that we are going to sing and dance and have a whole lot of fun - and maybe exercise a little bit. While we exercise, we can go from driving a car to swimming, doggy paddling while barking and howling, all the way to flapping our wings and becoming chickens, ducks and crows (what I like to call, "them big ole buzzards"). The animals we become and the noises we make, creates the biggest smile on every resident’s face by the time we are done. They are laughing and having a good ole time. Daily exercise is the best part of my day as it sets a positive mood for the rest of the day.

Another enjoyable part of my day is going room to room, passing out hall trays. The residents love it when I bring them their food. I will either joke with them and tell them the food is so good that I had to eat it on the way to serving it, which brings laughter to the resident, or just let them know that I brought them an amazing meal and made their drink just the way they want it. When I leave the resident’s room, they are very pleased knowing that I brought them joy and conversation with a smile, along with a hot meal. Even not knowing what they are having to eat, that made the meal so much better.

I have been providing smiles, laughter, and care as a CNA for 15 years. I have put my passion into action with sweat, tears, and unlimited laughter and happiness in care for my residents (my family). It would be my highest honor, if I were to be chosen to get the chance to go to the NAHCA Conference in Washington, D.C. If selected, it would be my proudest moment to get to represent, not only my NAHCA team, our facility, and the residents that live in our home, but also every CNA in the state of Oklahoma by getting the opportunity to be a voice for our residents and their families in letting the members on "the Hill" know our concerns and where we stand.

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Karrie L. Patton

As a CNA of seven years, I still consider myself a caregiver with more to learn. Education is the key to quality of care. While I may know the basics and more, I believe there is always, at the very least, one piece of valuable knowledge to gain from everyone that you cross paths with in your life. From the small child whom smiled at you in line at the store, to the elderly women whom cried on your shoulder earlier that morning. Listening and learning from other CNAs, LPNs, RNs and therapists has given me an increased amount of confidence to mentor and/or care for others; which brings me to sharing my passion.

Being a Preceptor, mentor, ACMA\CNA, a mother, daughter, sister and a wife, I feel like a teacher, leader, physiologist, nurse, physical therapist, chef, chauffeur; but most of all, I feel loved and respected. My passion, I did not know until recently, is caring for others. Making other people feel safe, protected, comfortable, and cared for. In turning my passion into action, I have found the concept to be very simple. Sharing my knowledge that I have gained, and continue to gain, is the easiest way. Teaching others how good it feels to give someone a reason to smile, laugh, and just live. Paying attention to the little things people enjoy. Making them feel the warmth of your heart through your care. It is all just as important as their vital signs, shower, or medicine. Mentoring a new CNA gives me hope that they too, will in turn share the knowledge they have gained from me and the people whom they care for will have improved quality of life. It’s a cycle, I hope to continue for many years.

My name is Karrie Patton and I have worked at Gregston’s Nursing and Rehab for seven years. Beginning my employment here as an NA, I had absolutely, no idea of how intense of a physiological change I would have. I had never really been inside of a nursing home or even a hospital. My first person to observe care on, I wanted to leave. I cried the first time I assisted an elderly woman with a meal. Then I realized the reason I needed to stay. If it wasn't for the people whom filled the role of a caregiver, what would happen to the people who require it. I am now an ACMA/CNA, Preceptor/mentor, working on the Rehab Unit at Gregston's. I would like to add that without the CNA scholarship program offered at the time I gained employment here, I more than likely would have never discovered my passion as a caregiver.

While Gregston's does offer CNA scholarships to qualifying candidates, due to many Medicaid cuts and dwelling census, they can no longer afford to sponsor NAHCA events, as they have in the past. While being an active NAHCA team leader and doing our best to raise funds, attending the conference in Washington is unattainable for me or any CNA at Gregston’s, without a scholarship. Thank you for taking the time to read my essay and considering me for the scholarship.

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Kelley J. Craig

My name is Kelley Craig I was born June 2, 1960. When I was two years old, I was left on a court step by my biological mother. God knows why. In 1970 I came to Cameron, MO and started 4th grade. At that time, I could not tell you my name or spell it; but by the time I was in 12th grade, I was one of the top students in my class. As soon as I completed high school, I started taking CNA classes and passed. I then took CMT classes and passed those. I began working at Missouri Veterans Home - Cameron in March of 2000. I always try to improve myself and was given the opportunity to attend Restorative Aide classed through my facility. I completed those classes and received my RA certification. I am still employed with the Veterans Home as a Restorative Aide.

I truly love what I do serving the Veterans with dignity and respect. I have been a part of the NAHCA team here since its beginning. I am actively involved in many community actives, including supporting the women’s and homeless shelters, police and fire departments, staff appreciation, fundraisers, adopt-a-highway programs and many more. My mom always told me to add joy to someone's life by doing good deeds and helping others without asking anything in return. Taking care of the Veterans is part of my life and NAHCA holds a big part of my heart.

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Kimberly Rockwood

I have been a CNA for over thirty years, and currently work more than fifty hours a week in long term care skilled nursing facilities.  I have no set schedule and I am not assigned to a specific unit.  The facilities provide several levels of care sub-acute rehabilitation, long term placement, a secured dementia unit, and hospice care. Because of my years of experience and extensive educational background (including three years of nursing training, recent college courses, as well as personal experience caring for terminally ill family members), the facilities I work in depend upon me to step in when a unit is short staffed as well as train new CNAs who have no experience in the field.  My willingness to work overtime and to come in on short notice has made me a vital member of the team. I have also begun working with a staff educator to begin implementing educational programs that exceed the mandatory CEU courses.  It is my firm belief that if a facility is going to thrive in all areas, education is the key. Despite excellent CNA courses that are available in the area, I feel there is not enough clinical training in many areas. Due to recent financial cut backs that are directly related to medical benefits and health insurance pay outs, priorities in patient care has shifted.
Unfortunately, compassion fatigue is running rampant throughout the facilities that I work in, short staffing is the norm, and the level of care that is given is often minimal at best. The CNAs are exhausted and the motivation that once spurred their passion has been severely depleted.  While I believe that being a CNA is a calling that comes from within and that money should not be the underlying motivation when choosing this line of work, it is important to be able to maintain a level of self-preservation, self-care, and self-love; and to do this, money is important.  Working a forty-hour week, giving 100% of self to care for others is priceless but unfortunately the cost of living and raising a family is not.

The average CNA does not make enough money working a forty-hour week to make ends meet at home, which means many CNAs work extensive hours, leaving them exhausted and unable to spend quality time with family, friends, children, school, etc.  Today's motivation in the facilities I frequent are more focused on census and charting and sadly, the number of times I have heard that there can be no raises until charting improves is very discouraging.  It is important for CNAs to have the knowledge, education and training that will allow them to meet the needs of each patient/resident that is cared for, as well as the guidelines of health care facilities to give 100% without burning the candle at both ends.

It is also important for facilities to feel confident that the CNAs that they employ are satisfied.  I am a very strong advocate for the patient/resident as well as for the families that are involved.  I am also a very strong advocate for strength in numbers.  If CNAs are going to get the acknowledgement that they deserve, they need to speak up in numbers.  My father always told me that you get more bees with honey than you do with vinegar, and if we, as CNAs want recognition, we have to present our skills, our passion, and our understanding of what "caregiving" truly means in a manner that is appealing to everyone involved.

Being a strong, educated, and determined voice will give us a foundation upon which we can begin to become empowered. Empowering the CNA improves work ethics as well as job performance, which in turn improves the level of patient care that is given. The role of a CNA is an essential part of the care that residents and patients receive daily around the clock. Per Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, there are five levels that we all must meet to survive and thrive.  In keeping with this theory, we all begin with the basic physiological needs and move upward, maintaining safety, feeling a sense of belonging and love, maintaining a level of self-esteem that gives us confidence and self-worth, and self-actualization which allows us to have acceptance on all levels.  The CNA plays a vital part in helping each patient/resident to maintain and achieve these needs and the fulfillment of the needs is strongly correlated with happiness and health.  These needs are also very powerful motivators for the CNA as an individual as well.  A CNA who is happy, healthy and motivated is going to be better able to provide top care to a patient before a CNA who is tired and frustrated will be.

To meet our needs and achieve our goals, we must first understand what those needs are.  Our needs, as well as the needs of the people we provide care for must be met, and as a team, it is important that we use our voice to speak out and share with others. Teamwork is vital, being open to change is important, and a willingness to learn and teach others is what will open doors and improve the conditions that we are working in daily.
In short, I am hoping that my years of experience, my understanding of the health care system, my willingness to go above and beyond to make a change, and my deeper understanding of the CNA as a person will help CNAs across the country become a stronger, more acknowledged force, and a more revered and appreciated member of all health care teams across the country.  The patients/residents that we care for will reap the benefits of our self-actualization in more ways than words could begin to explain!

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Latoria Badgett

Transferring Passion into Action- Advocating for Residents Passion in the Urban Dictionary is defined as, "...when you put more energy into something than is required to do it.” It is more than just enthusiasm or excitement; passion is ambition that is materialized into action to put as much heart, mind, body, and soul into something as is possible. The definition describes me as a CNA.

I became a CNA because I love what I do. My goal every day is to have a positive impact on each patient that I take care of. It is part of who I am to show love and compassion to the elderly and to help them with their daily needs. This is my job, yet what I do is so rewarding to me. And I'm thankful for this path I have chosen in the medical field. Throughout my journey as a CNA, I have received the education and learning material to be a CNA and want to continue to grow and learn. I am eager for more education to travel from city to city, helping educate and train other CNAs. Being a CNA is my passion. I don't mind working hard, I'm here for the residents/patients. My job is to take care of my patients and that what I do daily. I've experienced caring for patients/ residents suffering with many different types of illness, including dementia, Alzheimer's, strokes, COPD, and other debilitating diseases.

Our jobs are physically and emotionally demanding and very exhausting, but I wake up each day with a big smile on my face. The patients’ families depend on CNAs to care for their loved ones. My patients’ families depend on and trust me to make sure that their loved ones are well taken care of. They know I will put my heart, mind, body, and soul into doing my job to the fullest and to the best of my ability to ensure that their loved ones has the best care and best CNA to do the work. I go above and beyond for my patients. I always ensure them if there is anything they need that I can help with, to let me know.

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Lisa L. Davenport

My views come from being a CNA in the state of Texas in 1984 and returning recently in 2016. I think advocating for our residents should start with advocating for more staffing, education, and financial appreciation for the CNAs, those of whom are the ones in the most contact with the residents. Some might think that is an odd thing to say, but we are trained and expected to give the best constant care, while being made to feel replaceable and I think the turnover rate at facilities helps support that opinion. All while barely being able to afford to support a family from the CNA’s perspective. Therefore, our caregivers are constantly changing, making you ask yourself, how is that the best constant care that can be provided?

We are provided the education and ability to obtain our certification in Texas like I did, through a facility. While the financial incentive is there to pass, and obtain your certification (and there are the mandated C.E hours the facility provides), there are no financial incentives past that point and no education furthering our desire to stay, nor the ability to secure a job with the skills we learned in our time with the facility or proof of them. For instance, operating feeding tubes and removing of IVs are skills you are taught in many hospitals if you can obtain employment as a Patient Care Tech; but rarely, if ever, in a facility. This creates discouragement among CNA's.

Many times, we are asked to work extra shifts, due to being understaffed, and made to feel as if we are not team players because of our inability to afford extra hours for sitters. The fact is that the schedules our kids are on do not change because the facility is understaffed. I see a lot of questions about our rights in situations where our job is threatened due to understaffing, which is an administration issue. There should be financial incentives to help cover the extra costs associated with these times; but instead, we are shorted hours later that would have been overtime in many instances – not to mention, the time not spent with family and children.

What are our rights in these situations? Where do we turn? We should be educated in the existence of NAHCA and other organizations or associations, both nationally or statewide. that support the education, financial, and professional recognition we deserve - like NAHCA does. I am so blessed to have found this organization and look forward to attending a conference this year.

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Merica Corr

Over the last couple of months, the issue of how our elders are treated in our nation has come to light. When a family makes the hard choice of moving their loved one to a nursing home, they trust that their loved one will be cared for with the utmost respect and love. The positive, loving and caring atmosphere inside these homes is very far between. Very few homes have excellent staffing ratios. Very few homes devote themselves to the care they provide. Many don't provide proper education to their staff to ensure that abuse does not occur in their facilities. With this issue of abuse being broadcasted on CNN and other news networks, it has encouraged me to provide ultimate and excellent care to the residents I serve daily.

I not only am a CNA, I am a professional caretaker and I take extreme pride in the care I provide to my residents. They are people too just like me; they have feelings and needs, just like another human being does. They should not be deprived of their rights, nor their dignity. I will put my passion into action by standing up to abuse in any form. I will advocate for the rights of every person who resides in a nursing home because they are the generations before us who have wrote history. They are farmers, soldiers, homemakers, factoryworkers and every day human beings. Even though a large portion of these people have dementia or Alzheimer's, they still have a voice, a right to refuse your care, sit down, take a bath or listen to any demand to do something. I know that I don't like to be told or to be demanded to do something; so why do some CNAs think it is okay to treat our nation’s elders this way? Well, I don't fully have answer for that, but one answer could be that they aren’t provided the educational opportunities that can expand their horizons and improve the care they give. Perhaps it’s that they don't take steps to control their anger when a resident just flat out says “no.”

I will never understand why a CNA believes it is OK to indulge in sexual behaviors with a resident. It is so wrong on numerous levels. As a professional caregiver, I refuse to sit back and share a title with people who don't care for or value our nation’s elders. These people who think abuse is okay, need to be shown that it is not. They also need to see what a facility would look like with caring staff, caring families and a caring management system. Maybe these CNAs that indulge in abuse feel like they don't matter, that they are just butt wipers or just a face to their management. Maybe when they started out as CNAs, they believed and knew abuse was wrong, but over time, they noticed they only cared for the people they take care of and didn't feel like anyone supported them – so, they fell into the line of abuse and neglect and now they don't know how to perform their jobs without abuse and neglect.

As a member of NAHCA and a Preceptor, it is my responsibility to make sure my elders are taken care of, but also the staff I work with daily. If they don't feel like they matter, then before we know it, they begin to not provide excellent care anymore. I can place my passion into action by standing up for what is right. I can encourage my friends and coworkers to do the same.
Together we are stronger than one alone. Together we have a bigger, louder and stronger voice! It is time we stand up for what we believe in!

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Sheron E. Clevenger

Merriam-Webster defines passion as, “An intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.”  These are words that are put into practice every day across the country by our nation’s certified nursing assistants.  CNAs personify the word passion in every touch, look and act of care they perform daily. Being a CNA isn’t about making money, great benefits or weekends and holidays off, it’s about the feeling that goes with caring for others.

I once asked a male CNA why he worked in healthcare instead of the factories where he could make more money.  He replied, “Because at the end of the day, the machine didn’t care how many times I pushed the button, but my residents cared how many times I had held their hand.”  The relationship that is built between residents and CNAs is a dynamic one, changing daily, moment by moment.  One minute, the resident may be angry over some misunderstanding or pushing themselves to do the best and the next minute, they are hugging you and thanking you for everything you are to them.  It’s our job and purpose to push residents to their limits, yet always be there to support them and give them someone to lean on when they can’t go further.  It takes strength in a CNA to sit and watch someone struggle to put on a shoe and not do it for them, but it also takes empathy and an understanding of the resident to know when they can’t do any more.  This is the relationship we have with residents and it’s one that grows stronger with every moment spent together.
Being a great caregiver isn’t the only thing that CNAs do with passion.  We are the advocate and protector of so many of our residents.  From the smallest bruise, to the change in behavior, we are usually the first to notice.  If you are ever curious as to how a mama bear reacts when her cub is threatened, watch a CNA when they think their residents may be being hurt or abused.  Mama bears will seem like fluffy kittens in comparison.
This past year has brought some cases into the spotlight where a nursing assistant has done horrible things, from sexual abuse, social media abuse and other cases.  The fact that such a small number of CNAs can make the millions of us look so bad, is the reason we must be passionate and diligent in our protection of the residents.  Passion in our care and beliefs can be shown in many ways; one of those is to let yourself be heard.  Dehydration and malnourishment are major problems in long term care.  When you see that a resident isn’t drinking and you know they don’t like cranberry juice but that is what is sent to them on the hydration cart, speak up. Maybe they have been losing weight and you notice they are flinching every time you brush their teeth, let the nurse know, maybe they are having dental problems, causing them pain when they eat.

Believe in yourself, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services do as they have passed new regulations that CNAs be included in the care plan process for this exact reason - the knowledge of the resident.  In closing, I believe that passion and Merriam-Webster’s definition of it are some of the best descriptions of how a CNA performs every day.  An intense, driving conviction to be the very best and give the very best care that comes with the passion of being a CNA.

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Terresita F. Stewart

Some people say to me, “How do you do what you do with a sane mind?”  Caring for people is something that just comes natural to me.  Working with the elderly is sometimes very challenging, but I have found a passion for it.  Sometimes we get caught up in the day’s tasks of our jobs, like giving medications, changing beds and assisting with other care needs; we get overwhelmed.  But, at the end of the day, it brings pleasure, to not only to my tenants, but to me as well.

We are trying to balance work and personal lives.  Without balance, work can become tiresome and stressful, but we find the positive in the things we are required to do.  To see the enjoyment in what I do, I sometimes must sit back and consider what it is we do.  I think, “What if there was no one to help? What would happen if there was no one to care for them?”  Our work is becoming increasingly more complex as our residents are discharged from hospitals, sicker than ever before.
So, how do we transfer the passion to care for our patient into action?  One of the things we must do is to put ourselves in their place and remember that they did not ask to be sick.  They still want to be as independent as possible.  So, a way to make it easier is to think of it as assisting a person to return to a level of independence.  We would not want to see our loved one struggling, so we must put ourselves in their place and by doing this, it helps to make caring for them easier.  This is one of easiest ways to help them retain or regain some independence.

Balancing work life is another way to help turn my passion into action.  In the demanding job that we have, caring for the elderly can be exhausting.  It is most important to remember to care for yourself.  Taking time for family, friends, to have fun and relax is also a way to keep a balance and make the job more successful.  If you are rested and healthy, then you will have the energy and patience to care for our residents.  If my home life is satisfying, then I will be more satisfied at work and this positivity will transfer to the residents.
If it is possible, you should try to partner with someone while you are working.  This makes it better to care for the resident’s needs.  It is easier to work as a team then for each person to be doing their own thing.  Do what is right for the resident and then everything else will fall into place.  My goal is to make their life just a little bit easier.  By not thinking of my job as just a job, it fuels my passion for caring.  It helps to think that you come to work to make a difference, not just to get a pay check.
I try to remember that the resident I am caring for did not ask to be ill or frail, so I try not to take anything personal when they are having a bad day.  You must not let pettiness and being tired change your attitude about the people you are caring for, even though some of them are confused or combative and can make your day more stressful.  It has been said in the past that, “We only hurt the ones we are closest to.”  In some cases, the caregiver may the only person a resident sees. The elderly may take out his or her frustration on you.  Most times, it is not personal. Although it may not feel good, it is important to remember the reasons why we do our job and not take it seriously.

Empathy means understanding and sharing the feelings of others.  I use empathy to make my job more enjoyable and tolerable.  A question in nursing theory is, how would you feel if it was you?  I think about this daily.  How would I feel if this was my family?  Not only are you making a difference in their lives but you are indirectly making a difference in your own life.  Thinking in this manner can help to change your passion into action.

Another way I turn my passion for working with the elderly into action, is to decide what I find most enjoyable about my job.  Sometimes, this can be done by looking back.  On occasions when the day is hectic, you must remember that you enjoy what you are doing and that is why you keep coming back day after day.
Turing your passion of caring for people into action is not an easy task.  There are several things that must happen to be successful.  It takes commitment, persistence and a desire.  I try to apply these principles every day that I go to work.  I am proud of who I have become and the help that I provide for my residents.  Even though it is a trial every day, I am proud of what I do.  My family is proud of me also and I get the chance to do something I am good at every day!  Caring for the residents gives me personal satisfaction and I love going back again.