By Barb Hespen DNP, RN, Chief Nursing Officer at Sheridan Memorial Hospital
National Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) week is June 17-23, 2021. This week is a way to honor those who work in this demanding profession which requires meeting the basic care needs for patients in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, in assisted living and in patients’ homes.
At Sheridan Memorial Hospital (SMH), we have 40 CNAs who are the heart of our patient care areas. They provide bedside, hands-on care to our patients – assisting the nurses with many, many responsibilities. CNAs play a critical role in the patient care team — answering the patient’s questions and responding to their needs. Quite a few of our CNAs perform a dual role as unit clerks, managing information and communication within their departments.
The most common duties that CNAs provide to patients under the direction of Registered Nurses (RN) include:
- Assisting patients to clean and bathe themselves
- Helping with dressing and toileting needs
- Turning and repositioning patients to keep skin healthy and to prevent skin breakdown
- Serving meals and assisting with eating as needed
- Completing and documenting Vital Signs (Blood pressure, Temperature, Pulse Rate, Respiratory Rate, and Oxygen Saturation readings)
These duties are clearly very important to patients, as are the CNA’s behavioral skills, including having a high level of patience, compassion, empathy, attention to detail, communication skills, sense of humor, and physical strength. All of these characteristics of CNAs ensure that patients receive excellent care while in hospitals, nursing homes or in their own homes.
The CNA career is a rewarding and fulfilling one, and these skills are in high demand with the expanding healthcare needs of our aging population. A CNA can make this a life-long career, or they can build on the learning and experience and expand their schooling into another healthcare field.
I have worked with CNAs who have cared for patients and their families for 30+ years and are excellent in the care that they provide. I also have worked with CNAs who have advanced their knowledge by becoming RN’s, Physical Therapists and Lab Technologists. I started as a CNA early in my career and learned valuable skills that have continued throughout my nursing career.
Please take time this week to thank a CNA who you work with for all of the care that they provide to our patients. Happy CNA week!
If you are interested in becoming a CNA, learn more about Sheridan College’s CNA course by clicking HERE. If you are a CNA and would like to join our Team at Sheridan Memorial Hospital, visit our careers page and check out our current job opportunities HERE.