Dear Nurse Beth,
I am a nurse aide, and a nursing student, working athospital in the Las Vegas area.
I've been working at this hospital for over a year and could not be more disappointed in the lack of teamwork between RN's and CNA's. RN's are quick to leave a patient's room if a patient needs to be cleaned, needs ice/water, needs assistance ambulating, etc. I am constantly drenched in sweat, walking quickly up and down hallways to ensure patients needs are being met, but RN's are calmly sitting at thenurses station talking about their personal issues. I prefer to handle hostile situations as diplomatically as possible. I've learned first hand that reacting negatively will result in RN's banding together as quickly as our nation does during a time of crisis. There are so many forums, articles, meetings that relate to advocating for the Nurses against Doctors, but what about us? What would be the best way to handle this without causing an uproar?
Nurses abuse and take advantage of the aides, the aides become disgruntled, employee morale drops, which then trickles down to the patients.
Patients are MY top priority, as they should be everyone else's in this environment.
Dear No Teamwork Between CNAs and RNs,
I've always had a heart for nursing assistants because they are the most under-recognized group in nursing. Typically they are the "underdogs" in that they don't have status, a voice, or bargaining power in facilities. Often the lowest paid in nursing, they are given heavy workloads.
I firmly believe they contribute to patient satisfaction more than most anyone. It's disheartening to see hospitals stretch their patient loads to the breaking point.
Many, many nurses love and respect our nursing assistants. But it's true that some nurses avoid helping with personal care. We all know that.
It's also true that when a nurse may appear not directly involved with patient care, she/he is involved with aspects of care that only nurses are responsible for. This cognitive work may not always be apparent to the onlooker. Nurses, too, are overworked, and may be conserving energy to focus on the next three admits and discharges coming their way.
It's important to build trust between CNAs and nurses, and as a nurse, I have always believed it's my responsibility to do so.
Thank you so much for your point of view. You are right- patients are our top priority, and together, we can achieve the best outcomes. I know you will remember this when you become an RN.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
Don't take this the wrong way. But, I've never seen a CNA/PCA on my unit, not take a lunch break. As a matter of fact, almost all, routinely take an hour for lunch. If by chance I do get a break, there is a 95 % chance it will be interrupted and I won't have time for another. The CNA on the otherhand is never obligated to stop their break and take care of the patient or respond to phone calls.
Some RNs too see CNAs laughing and playing, texting, watching TV on their phones, listening to music loudly, using computers to shop for personal items, in CHARTING areas?? I've had CNAs outright tell me, "get it yourself" (blanket, soda, etc.), and they have no idea that I have late meds, two phone calls to make to MDs, two elevated BPs to treat stat, telemetry calling to say a patient is in Vtach etc... No matter how much I and some RNs help, the CNAs still complain to management. Lucky for them, management listens, thus, giving CNAs more power/worth than RNs.
At the end of the day though, CNAs are at the utmost importance to me. I can tell you how much I truly appreciate that extra attention and tenderness you give to OUR patients! You're an important extra set of eyes. The CNA may be the first to see bloody stool, report abnormal vitals, save a patient from falling or even see that "something is different" about the patient. CNAs are an equally valuable member of the nursing team!
Last edit by grad2012RN on Oct 18