Q: What is something you would like people to know about being a CNA right now?
Kate: “Being a CNA right now makes me feel glad I’m in nursing because I care about what I do but also I have the ability to care for myself. I’ve been fortunate to work in a hospital and have been cared for during this crisis. The hardest part of my journey in this so far has been not having accurate testing and being exposed because of false negatives. I found out a week ago a patient I cared for died from covid-19. Thankfully, I haven’t been sick but I think people need to realize this is just like standard precautions—assume everyone has it and protect yourself. I’m lucky to have a hospital that has supplied me with a filter mask and an N95 mask that can be cleaned with UV light. I also want others to know that CNAs have responsibilities to care for people in their lives too and it’s been challenging watching the news so you know what you are walking into at work. A lot of people are facing hard times and the patients I see are detoxing from alcohol, medicine seeking, suicidal, altered mental status or need surgeries that are crucial to their functioning.”
This new series features certified nursing assistants, or CNAs, who work mainly in nursing homes, assisted living, home care, hospitals, and hospice. Among other things, a CNA’s job is to care for elders in these environments by helping them with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, brushing teeth, and more. CNAs are unable to socially (or physically) distance from the elders they care for, and in so doing put their lives on the line everyday.