Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap

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    We never seem to be paid correctly for what we do, or what we perceive others do. Being in patient care, we are in the business of seeing people at their not so best and brightest. Patients need assistance. They may be fiercely independent but need a good shower. Bodies bleed, they smell, everyone poops, pees, and bodily fluids always seem to be in abundance. Elderly people need to go to the bathroom. A lot. People in pain need to be medicated. A lot. The expectation is that there is documentation--A lot. A lazy worker is a lazy worker, no matter what the title, no matter what the job at hand is. Grateful is the team that works seamlessly.

    Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap

    I have noticed more than one thread on the "laziness" attitude between members of a health care team. General statements such as "CNA's are lazy". "Nurses are lazy they make us do all the dirty work". Seems like everyone sits around on phones and the internet all shift. If this was happening in the record numbers it seems to be told here, I am not sure who is taking care of the patients.

    Then it morphs into who gets paid the most for the assumed least amount of work. If we take a moment to look at overall responsibility, then workers get paid what a starting wage is, climb up a ladder of raises--which no matter nurse or CNA, some facilities are just not giving raises--and nurses are being paid a starting wage that can sometimes be less than a multiple year CNA in the same facility. Rate of pay is based on a number of things--however, it should never be used as an excuse to get out of care and compassion for a patient.

    We all do what one could consider typically gross stuff. Some days more than others. Patients are in a facility because either they are acutely ill, or they require assistance not available to them elsewhere. We all deal with bodily fluids. If one is not getting a patient dressed and washed, one is undressing, assessing and yes, that sometimes includes ambulating and ROM exercises. We all do it. But the difference becomes as nurses we then have to document it to a "T" or we lose our jobs. We all have to turn, reposition--again, we have to document same--and yes, even peri care as sometimes a patient requires medicated lotions, powders..so in any given shift, we are "up in patient's business" just as much as the CNA.

    Call bells---ahhhh the infamous "who answers what when, it is your turn" debate. Sometimes, we can go into a patients room more times in a hour than a CNA will in a shift. Sometimes it is the other way around. Regualtions are often such that a nurse needs to round hourly. Sometimes more than that. We are there for patients. We are all looking to the same goal. In acute care it is seemingly to get a patient our ASAP. If it is something that only a nurse can do--like medicating, educating, or some sort of bowel protocol, then that is what we have to do. We are all bowel obsessed, and nurses are queens of the enemas.

    It never means that dependent on title, one is any less a caregiver than someone else. We all go home on some days with the smell of poop that just doesn't seem to go away. We all know what CDIFF smells like. What urine smells like that is infected. What yeast looks like. Nurses have taken enough puss-laden wound/abcess cultures to be able to do it with one hand tied behind our backs. But alas, it is not just that we have to complete the task at hand, it is yet again with the documenting, and the processing, and the medicating. Oh, and lets add the catchy new "key phrases" that we now have to be sure to include in the most basic communications.

    CNA's are worth their weight in gold. What's most important is to have a team approach to how a patient is going to be cared for, and still have their dignity intact at the end of it. How they are going to function effectively--whether that means going to a full assist to a stand-by assist, being able to wash their own face, or that we can educate to the point of knowing that a patient is going to take their medications at home correctly.

    We are in the people business. Like millions of other workers--lets be sure thate everyone is safe, everyone is alive, and that everyone feels like they are at the function that they should be, and we appreciate each other more for it.

    As I mentioned in another forum, at the end of the day we all sweat, we all need a good shower, we all need to decompress to be able to enjoy the rest of our lives...whether that we are nurses, CNA's, serving food, or cleaning toilets. Everyone has a purpose. You say "whining" and I say "venting"--it is what it is--good, bad or indifferent.
    Last edit by Joe V on Sep 2, '13
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    About jadelpn, LPN, EMT-B

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  3. by   flashpoint
    Well written and very true. I often look at things I posted in the past and wonder what I was thinking. Some of my vents seem like a huge deal at the time, but a few days (or weeks or months) later, I realize that I do some of the same things I vent about...
  4. by   LadyFree28
    great post jadelpn!
  5. by   SmackerNurse
    Very well written indeed. It is frustrating as a nurse to hear CNA's in the hallways talking about how lazy nurses are because they didn't help them all shift. If I hear a CNA say the former I will often ask them, "if a nurse is doing what you can do, who is doing what only the nurse can do?" That usually puts things into perspective for them. If I hear a nurse complain about a CNA, I will point out that the CNA is responsible for double sometimes triple the patients that she is responsible for and therefore nurses need to be patient or do it themselves. When I was on the general medical floor, I seen a nurse walk all the way down to where the CNA was (about 10 rooms away) and tell her that the patient on the other end needed to go to the bathroom. I thought that the amount of time it took that nurse to walk that far to tell the CNA she could have just done it herself. On the other side of the coin though, I have seen CNAs sitting at the nurses station on the internet looking up recipes while call lights are going off look up and down the hall and ignore the call light while everyone else was super busy. Sometimes the term "lazy" fits both sides, sometimes not.
  6. by   VivaLasViejas
    Jade, I really enjoy your writing! Keep up the good work
  7. by   Sugarcoma
    Teamwork is key. So is showing one another that you respect each others roles. I myself have never worked as a tech/aide/cna but I have eyes and a back and I appreciate how hard the job is to do. I work with some fantastic aides who always have my back. I work with some not so great aides who do the absolute least amount possible. I can tell the difference at the end of my shift in terms of body aches.

    I always make sure the aides who work hard and show true concern for the patients know how much I value them by telling them! I also send written notes of acknowledgement to management.
  8. by   monaa
    I really enjoyed reading it.
  9. by   FranEMTnurse
    Jade, you described the nurse's job exactly as it really is. Thank you so much. You are a wonderful descriptive writer. And yes, the CNA is a godsend for sure.