The random ramblings of a perpetual procrastinator. These are the life & times of a nursing home CNA navigating the ups & downs of living with someone who's living with a disability. A sometimes amusing, sometimes bittersweet look at my journey into real adulthood.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What's the difference?

I recently found out there's a blog dedicated to complaining about the care provided at the nursing home where I work.  It's written naturally, everyone knows who's writing it.  Although it's not about me, or anyone I really know directly, the whole thing bothered me.

And while I'd love to just come to the defense of all my coworkers, I know I can't.  Some of the things that were written are totally true & equally unacceptable.  Maybe that's  the part that bothers me so much.

The headline of the blog says something about the blog's author being "suprised by the vast difference in bringing a new life into this world & ushering an old life out."

That's actually where I have the issue.

Most people adore babies.  The idea of a newborn baby sends women into a happy frenzy, & as such one of the most coveted jobs in nursing is working in the OBGYN ward with all the newbies.

Now, imagine for me what fraction of that number makes up the people who want to work with eldery people as they come to the end of their lives.  BIG difference, huh?

And let's take it one step further & talk about my position, a CNA.  I didn't go to nursing school, & I'm only able to do basic care.  The biggest part of my job is to assist with activities of daily living:  dressing, feeding, toileting, etc.  It's an incredibly demanding job - physically, mentally & emotionally.

How much money do you suppose such a demanding job pays?

I'll save you the ain't that much.

So let's get back to the vast difference between a birth & death.

Ushering in that new life is a lot more appealing, & like I said positions in that field of nursing are the proverbial holy grail.  I think that alone suggests that better people are going to work in those positions.

I'm not knocking the home I work for because they do the best they can, but let's face it - a warm body is better than nothing.  And there are those emnployees who are not particularly dedicated to their profession.

Is that right?  Absolutely not.  Is it the hard truth.]?  Absolutely.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, you can't unilaterally decide the nursing home is bad because of a few bad people.  Most of us are dedicated & do the best job we can every day.  And most of us truly care of the residents we're responsible to take care of.  I'm not suggesting we love them more than their families do, but it takes a certain level of affection to change someone's diaper while they're trying to punch you.

We don't have enough help for the reasons I mentioned before, which puts more of a burden on the people who are there.  Whether you're a good egg or a bad egg, you're only one egg - with 12-15 residents to take care of in a shift.  Non-essentials sometimes have to be skipped.  And with 60 people on a unit, family members need to realize that their loved one cannot always be the number one priority.

I learned very soon after starting this job that the only way I'll ever be all to handle on the emotion that goes along with it is to focus on one fact:  I do my best everyday, & I give the kind of care I would want my own family to have.  That's the only thing I can control.


  1. I work with the mentaly handicapped. I know how tough it is to work with the people that most people dont care about or turn a blind eye to! I also hate how most of their familes dont give a flying eff about them! I get paid pennies, and I work my ass off! Its a good thing I 100% LOVE THESE PEOPLE! :)

    Keep up the good work! Keep your chin up! Know you're making a difference!

  2. Well said. We don't have any relatives in a nursing home, so I had no idea how taxing that sort of job could be. At the end of the day, all that matters is you did your best. I'm sorry someone's bashing your place of employment. Perhaps anonymous should find something more productive to do with their time, like volunteer at a nursing home.

  3. I don't think they would fully understand unless they tried to do your job for a day. It takes a special person to do what you do and you do a dammmmn good job. Hiiiii haters lol