Marie Marley, award-winning author of Come Back Early Today: A Memoir of Love, Alzheimer’s and Joy, recently interviewed Nancy Martin, a CNA who spent 10 years on the same hospital unit. What she found in piecing together her story for a Huffington Post article was the bottom-line reason Martin got up and went to work every day, despite the way CNAs are often treated in hospitals. With a refreshing nature, she inspires us all to keep doing what we do and love best…
Here are some excerpts from the article:
To put it politely, they say “stuff” rolls downhill. In nursing homes, those at the very bottom of the hill are the nurses’ aides—CNAs, as they are called. Certified Nursing Assistants. They have the most responsibility for providing hands-on care to the residents, but they are paid the least. It seems to me that something is wrong with this picture.
So why, we might ask, do people choose to become CNAs in the first place? Why indeed do they get up and go to work every day? I interviewed a CNA and discovered her answer: She loved old people. It was that simple.
When I interviewed Nancy Martin, who worked as a CNA in the same facility for 10 years, she told me, “I loved seeing the residents every day. It was as though I was entering a facility full of grandparents and friends. I got along famously with most of them. It was very rewarding,” she continued. “Most of them treated me with respect. They treated me like family. And they often gave me cookies or whatever other treats their loved ones had brought them. Who wouldn’t love them?”
Nancy narrated her relationship with one lady in particular, Alice, who always called her “sweetie.” It seems that no one ever visited Alice. Sometimes when she had a little extra time, Nancy would sit on Alice’s bed and talk to her. Like all of the residents, Alice had such interesting stories about her early life. Nancy was so close to Alice, who had dementia, that she once took her home to join her own family on Thanksgiving day. Alice was delighted and said that Nancy was “a good old soul.”
So that’s why Nancy loved her job. It’s why, despite the negative aspects of it, she got up and went to work every day. It was a calling. And those residents were blessed to have Nancy as one of their aides.
To read the full story, head on over to the Huffington Post. Then, in the comments below, let’s get a shout-out from all our CNAs on why they love their jobs!