Overworked and Under-Appreciated Certifed Nursing Aides
Certified nursing aides have a lot of responsibilities of intimate care with residents/patients. In order to have a job as challenging as a certified nursing aide, the individual must be very special with being compassionate, loving, caring and patient. Being an aide takes time and aides need to have the ability to lift correctly. On top of having many responsibilities of intimacy, the aide must be physically able to do the required care.
These duties may be strenuous on the aide’s bodies, and there may even be times where the aide’s bodies are extensively worn out from all the hard work. This kind of physical work may cause some aides to hurt themselves from all the pulling and lifting which can tear and strain on muscles and ligaments. One of the reasons why aides should be paid more is for all the wear and tear on their bodies. The aides are held responsible for giving showers and assisting with activities of daily living. These are just some of the described duties of a certified care giver.
Working as an aide for eight years, I know that there are many times I have come across residents/patients who are combative, verbally abusive, and others who just do not want to cooperate with their care. Aides also risk themselves every day with diseases, disorders, and other harmful body fluids they come in contact with that they can possibly take home to their families. They are responsible for bed making or changing after getting someone up from out of bed. Tidying up the room and taking the dirty linens to the baskets is added to the list of things to do for them as well.
There are so many duties of an aide, in some nursing homes and hospitals the aide is responsible for taking vital signs. The nurses have the duties of documenting on the residents. Often aides are given the duty for doing treatments that are ordered by a physician because it is a part of the care. In most cases the aide becomes emotionally attached and care for the residents/patients as if they were their own family. The aides also notice change and behavioral issues with the residents/patients.
The aides are the eyes and ears for the nurses and supervising nurse. The work of an aide is stressful, physically draining, and tiring. This is often how most aides feel at the end of their shift. For the work of an aide that he or she may go through within a day, you would think that they were being compensated very well. Personally the job does make me feel good in knowing that I am able to help those out in need. All caregivers should feel this way, but it would also be nice to have appreciation shown through with compensation.
If you go in with a positive attitude chances are the aide will have a good outcome. During an eight hour or sixteen hour shift being understaffed only makes the work for an aide much harder than usual. When working short or understaffed, it brings on more pressure for the job that has to be done. The aides have to pull together and work as a team to get the job finished. The aides are not compensated well enough for their work. It is difficult at times because the aides are responsible for up to ten residents at once.
When working with fewer aides the number of patients goes up from ten to twelve per aide. Two people could have different needs at the same time while the aide is taking care of someone else. This is an opportunity for team work. The other aides working are there to help out as well as nurses. So the aide helping usually is doing more than their regular assignment, because they are there to fulfill the need of the resident and not other employees. With time not always being manageable as an aide you have to do your best with being on time.
Sometimes as aide can only spend ten to fifteen minutes with each resident before moving on to the next one who needs help. Timing is very important when working in this line of work, it’s rewarding but often not appreciated and underpaid. Unfortunely and “traditionally aides are the bottom of the totem pole, but it is the bottom of the totem pole that holds the rest up”, says Lily Myers Depending on the charge nurse he or she may be able to lend a hand and help someone with their needs at that time. The aides are not compensated enough for what they do in an eight hour shift.
Aides are not recognized for their hard dedication let alone show appreciation on how extraordinary they really are. Most facilities pay based on experience the aides may have. The more experience the aide has they are likely to be paid more. This works differently when working for agencies, with an agency you are expected to earn more pay because of traveling and not having health insurance. This is only because you are not guaranteed the forty hours per week. Being a fulltime or part time employee in a nursing home helps the employee get health insurance a little cheaper.
Health insurance is very important to have when having an occupation like this, as for all the reasons explained with getting injured or coming in contact with something contagious. Having sympathy can help you as an aide try to understand how the resident/patient and family feel. Doing this can be very helpful and make the job a little easier for yourself. Jo Sturdevant who operates the Montana nurse aide registry in Helena says “it just takes a special kind of person to do the work they do, it’s very hard and it’s not appreciated half of the time”. In retrospect, the aides provide excellent quality care to their residents/patients.
However, they are not acknowledged enough wage- wise, while the nurses continue to do their tasks and get a lot more of the credit. The aide works much harder doing his\her job. For all these reasons, I believe aides are shorted on their compensation and very under-appreciated. Mike Follet an administrator for a nursing home says “In nursing homes, aides spend more time with the residents/patient more than anyone else and usually are paid less than anyone else; the pay is not high and the work is glamorous. It is physically demanding and there is an emotional toll. ” (Follet pg. ) Even though as an aide we are often unrecognized by the higher up staff and the administrators, we continue to put ourselves at risk in harmful situations by carrying out our mandatory duties with so many responsibilities that lie on the aides, we deserve better pay and more appreciation.