Let’s be honest, being a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is not a role suited for everyone. From assisting patients in their medical procedures to helping them with their morning ablutions this job requires a lot of patience, tolerance, and compassion.
CNAs play a crucial role in any healthcare setting like hospitals, nursing homes,
rehabilitation centers, and adult daycare centers. CNAs are currently in high demand, and the overall employment of CNAs is expected to increase by 5% in the next decade.
They serve as the bridge between patients and medical professionals. Their primary role is to act as the patient’s voice, advocate their needs and ensure compassionate care.
This article covers the details of how CNAs behave as patients’ voices to make sure their needs are handled with compassion. Before diving deep into the article, let’s cover some basics first.
What Is CNA?
A CNA, also known as a Certified Medical Assistant, holds a significant position in a healthcare setting. They are also called a nurse’s aid, or a patient care assistant. The roles and responsibilities that CNAs have, make them an essential part of the patient process in the healthcare industry. Even though the CNA role is considered an entry-level position, it serves as an excellent starting point for career progression.
What Does a CNA Do?
A CNA assists patients with basic healthcare with the supervision of a nurse. They work directly with the nurses and patients, assisting them with physical and complex tasks that the patient can’t do on their own.
Some of their responsibilities are as follows:
- Gathering and stacking medical supplies
- Moving patients
- Bathing patients
- Documenting their food and drinks for the day
- Feeding patients
- Answering patient calls
- Assisting in grooming of the patients like brushing their teeth, combing their hair, shaving, etc.,
- Doing vital checks ups like blood pressure and heart rate
- Helping in transporting the patients
- Taking care of the injuries and wounds
- Cleaning their bed and their room
- Observing and keeping track of patient behavior
CNAs as Patients’ Voices
If you think CNA’s role is just performing basic medical tasks, you might want to rethink it again. Because it goes beyond that. They act as the foundation of the patient’s care team. CNAs are made to spend much time with the patient to understand their unique needs and build strong and positive relationships with the patients. As they spend most of their time on patients’ daily needs, it helps them to build trust and familiarity with the CNA.
In this way, CNAs act as compassionate listeners and helpers during the patients’ vulnerable times.
So if you are planning to take a CNA test, it is recommended that you take your CNA practice test to put your CNA preparation to the test and build confidence. These tests help to evaluate your CNA knowledge and proficiency in different scenarios like decision-making, problem-solving, communication, and the potential challenges they face, etc., Additionally, it can boost your ability to assess a patient’s needs and address them better.
- Developing Communication Skills to be Patients’ Voice
You must be an effective communicator to excel at patient advocacy. Communication here means, communicating not only with the patient or nurses but with the patient’s family and the healthcare team.
So how to be an effective communicator? You need to be an active listener first. Only if you pay attention to and heed ears to patients’ concerns will you be able to serve them accordingly. If you can articulate patients’ needs and requirements to the health care professional, you can make sure that the patient is facilitated with enhanced care.
Handling Patient Care With Compassion
Compassionate care is often considered the heart of the healthcare system. As a CNA, you should understand that a patient’s healthcare journey is not a bed of roses. Instead, it is both challenging and overwhelming. So a CNA has to develop a close and positive relationship with the patient during their tough time and approach them with empathetic nature towards their healing journey. Additionally, they should offer mental and emotional support to foster a sense of security and reassurance. Taking care of a patient with compassion is easier said than done.
You are likely familiar with the quote of the Dalai Lama which goes, “A more compassionate mind is very, very helpful to good health.” These words reiterate how important compassion is to good health. Providing compassionate care impacts the patient’s psychological well-being, thereby influencing speedy recovery and better treatment adherence.
Challenges Faced by CNAs
Every job role has its challenges and difficulties. CNAs are no strangers to that. As mentioned earlier, CNAs play a crucial role in healthcare. They also face challenges while advocating for the patients.
Some of the challenges they face while advocating for the patients include:
- Hierarchy: The hierarchy in the healthcare system makes it challenging for the CNAs to speak up for the patients particularly while dealing with a higher medical staff.
- Resource crunch: CNAs also face a lack of resources like staff, medical equipment, or even necessary information, which hinders in providing the best service to the patients.
- Barriers in communication: Clear and assertive communication is required to provide effective patient advocacy. However, the barriers like language differences, or dealing with a patient who can’t communicate their needs effectively hinder that.
- Lack of support from other healthcare professionals: Unfortunately, some healthcare professionals fail to appreciate or even worse refuse to provide the necessary support to CNAs.
- Emotional toll: As CNAs tend to build a strong emotional bond with patients to take good care of them, they are also likely to experience emotional stress when patients face life-threatening situations.
The Burnout and Compassion Fatigue That No One Talks About
CNAs face a higher risk of burnout and compassion fatigue compared to many other job roles. Taking care of the patients on time in their most vulnerable state, both physically and mentally can take an emotional toll on CNAs as well.
Therefore, CNAS must prioritize their mental health, adopt stress-reduction practices, and seek support from their colleagues and supervisors. By doing so they can provide better care for the patients while being healthy and healthy themselves.
Certified Nursing Assistants(CNAs) hold a significant position in healthcare by acting as the patient’s voice and advocating for compassionate care. They play an irreplaceable role in positively shaping patient outcomes. To assess the criticality of the role, CNAs can try various tests that help enhance their patient advocacy skills.
CNAs serve as the backbone of patient care, addressing patients’ needs with utmost care and compassion. With their incomparable dedication, CNAs continue to make a positive difference in the lives of millions of patients and contribute to the healthcare system.