What an RN should never ask of a CNA
Any nurse worth their weight in water knows, understand, values and appreciates the function and role every CNA plays in the delivery of our patient care. And yet, I still see RN’s treating their CNA team member horribly.
Here is the best piece of advice I can give to any RN out there when delegating to their CNA team members:
Never delegate out of sheer personal convenience.
Too many times I have seen/heard/witnessed an RN/LPN delegate a task to a CNA simply because it was inconvenient for them. We all know the stories and the urban legends of CNAs always doing the dirty work (bed baths & bedpans to name a few), while the RN/LPN walks away. I have seen them answer a call bell, then learn they need to get their hands dirty. They walk back out of the room and call/delegate the task. Are there actually people out there who believe that once they are licensed, they don’t need to get their hands dirty???
I’m here to publicly apologize to any CNA reading this. Contrary to popular belief, this is not the norm, nor is it acceptable to most of us currently practicing! I still strongly believe that the most important assessment skills can be learned from getting my hands dirty. And I learned that from a CNA.
The professional rapport you have with your CNA can make or break your career. I make it a point to strengthen that relationship, because when the going gets tough and the you-know-what hits the fan, my fellow CNAs are often times the ones that keep me afloat.
What goes around comes around folks. If you cannot make the time to get your hands dirty, the CNA will not have the time to keep you from ‘drowning’ in your time of need. It really is that simple. It’s called teamwork.
A nurses’ aide (Certified Nurses Aid – CNA) is the unsung hero of the nursing world. When someone asks what you do, never simply say “I’m just the aide.” When we speak of bedside care and we refer to the ‘team effort’ this part of the team is probably the most under-appreciated, yet most needed team member. They are the silent majority. When they are doing what they do best, you sometimes (more often than we like to admit) forget they are there. But, when they are absent it turns your whole world upside down. Thank you, CNAs, for all that you do!
By the way, this post was inspired by a previous Scrubs post: Top 10 things you’ll need in your CNA survival kit. You may also like Top 10 ways to tell you’re a CNA. Be sure to take a look.
Sean Dent is a second-degree nurse who has worked in telemetry, orthopedics, surgical services, oncology and at times as a travel nurse. He is a CCRN certified critical care nurse where he's worked in cardiac, surgical as well as trauma intensive care nursing.
After five years practicing as an RN, Sean pursued and attained his Masters of Science in Nursing. Sean currently practices as a Board Certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP-BC) in a Shock Trauma urban teaching hospital.
He has been in healthcare for almost 20 years. He originally received a bachelor's degree in Exercise and Sport Science where he worked as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC).
By Sean Dent