Everyone likes to be treated with kindness.
As a certified nursing assistant (CNA) for over a dozen years, I have helped people in Greater Boston who come from many different backgrounds: rich or poor; black or white; Christian or Jewish.
I see them when they are unable to do things that they used to take for granted, like cleaning themselves, dressing, or making a cup of coffee. They are compromised. Sometimes they’re embarrassed to ask for help.
They may be different, but they’re all people who need help and appreciate it when they’re shown kindness.
I have always tried to live by the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would want to be treated. So it’s my nature to be kind to people I meet. Every day at work, my kindness pays me back with the rewarding feeling of appreciation.
Lessons of a certified nursing assistant
Before coming to work at Care Dimensions, I worked for 10 years as a CNA at a Boston-area nursing home. Early on I had this one patient – I’ll call him Gerald – whom I’ll never forget. I always tried to get to him right away because he seemed to insist on it, but I soon saw how much he appreciated it. I would make him more comfortable, and he knew he could count on me. That made me feel good, and I knew I was on the right career path. Gerald was my first nursing home patient who died, so I will always remember him. He taught me that kindness is key, which has helped me do my job well.
My nursing home experience made me realize how important it is that others can depend on me. So two years ago when my sister, Emmanuela, who also is a CNA, suggested I join her at Care Dimensions, it made a lot of sense. I was drawn to hospice because I love to take care of those who are unable to care for themselves.
I like working for Care Dimensions because being professional and thorough is important to me. I always do my work as it’s supposed to be done. I make sure the patient is happy with my work. For example, if I’m helping a woman with her hair, I make sure it’s done the way she would have styled it herself. She thanks me for making her comfortable, and I know I did my job, which makes me feel great.
CNA: Eyes and ears of hospice team
I often see our team’s patients more than anyone else does because I help them with their daily physical care. Hospice aides are the “eyes and ears” of the team, which also includes a nurse, social worker, and chaplain. I am the first one to see any changes in one of our patients. When that happens, I call the nurse case manager, who always thanks me and schedules a visit. This makes me feel appreciated. Nobody minimizes anyone here at Care Dimensions. I’m not “just an aide”; I’m an important part of the team.
I also enjoy listening to patients talk and developing relationships with them and their families. They feel comfortable talking to me, and sometimes we joke around and laugh.
Other times, I have special moments with patients. Once, I was seeing a woman who had dementia and was agitated when I arrived. I leaned in close and spoke so that she could hear and see me, and she allowed me to feed her. When she was finished, she kissed my hand and said, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you!’ She taught me how to respond to her.
It all comes back to kindness. I learned that years ago with Gerald, and I make it a central part my work every day. I love how patients respond. It’s so rewarding and I enjoy going home at night knowing that I made the day a bit better for my patients.
Learn about career opportunities with Care Dimensions and sign up for our Careers e –newsletter:
Join us at a CNA Open House from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on April 25 at the Care Dimensions Hospice House, 125 Winter Street, in Lincoln, MA (on the Waltham line). Now offering sign-on bonuses for CNAs who work at least 20 hours/week.