Being a CNA can feel like the most thankless job in the world. You do a ton of work, much of it that makes your body ache and your mind spin by the end of the day, you don’t get paid what you’re worth and no one seems to appreciate that you do your job well and get things done on time. You have all your patients taken care of in the allotted amount of time, you always do your documentation and you take special care to show your patients care and attention. All of this and you are looked over by the nurses and administration as just another body in the building. Honestly, it is likely that they appreciate the fact that you are good at your job but what makes you deserve high praise over the other aids that do the same exact things? The tasks you do are part of your job description and by doing them you are just doing what you were hired to do; what you are being paid to do. So why do you deserve any special kudos? I know it feels good to be recognized for your efforts, but if you really want to be noticed and openly appreciated at work, you have to make yourself stand out and shine. Most nursing assistants do the bare minimum that they have to in order to keep their jobs. If you want to standout as an exemplary employee you will have to go above and beyond the call of duty. This does not mean that you should overdo things, but just that there are things that you could be doing to make things run smoother. Trust me when I say, these little things WILL be noticed by the higher up staff members and you will get the recognition that you want! Below are some things to get you on the road to becoming a top notch CNA.
Perfect attendance, or near perfect at least, will make you standout since so many aids call out on a regular basis. As long as you are not vomiting, running a fever, or been told by a doctor that you are contagious, you should be at work. Other acceptable reasons for calling out include having a child who is ill with no one else to care for them, or a family emergency. Other than that, be at work. If you rarely call out, when you do then your supervisors will know that you honestly could not avoid it and this will get you much respect. The same things go for being on time. If you know that you are going to be late, even if it will only be five minutes, call your supervisor to let them know. This will really be appreciated. If you are not on time than the other aids will begin to moan and groan about the possibility of an extra workload. Plus, if you are always on time and all of a sudden you are nowhere to be found, people will start worrying about you. If you are really in trouble you can be sure that someone from work will come looking!
Do Not Complain
There are always going to be things that you do not want to do; extra tasks your supervisor lays on you, switching lunch or break times, staying over or coming in early, etc. If you must complain, do it in your mind. No one likes an aid that walks around grumbling about having to do this or that. It gets pretty annoying and shows their lack of ability to be a team player. If you are not a team player, you will be recognized by the higher ups, but not in a good way.
Take Some Initiative
When you are at work and have some down time, find something to do. Granted there is not a lot of downtime as a CNA, but when you have a spare second, see what needs to be done. This can be as simple as restocking necessary items, answering call bells for other aids patients, and help other aids get their work done. After all, you know what it feels like to have a bad day and fall behind in your duties. Once you do help someone else, don’t tattle tale to the nurse that you HAD to help so and so do their work. This undermines the reason for you taking the initiative.
Offer to Train New CNA’s
Though it is sad, many aids do not want anything to do with having to train a new worker. If you know this to be the case in your facility, step up and offer to take the newbie under your wing. This shows that you are willing to take on more responsibility and that you care about getting more qualified aids on the hall for the best interest of the patients and the rest of the staff. If you are the kind of person to make this type of offer, you are also the kind of aid that will show the newbie the RIGHT way to do things. This keeps the “bad influences” away for the time being; at least long enough to get the aid trained properly so that there will be less bad habits picked up later down the road.
Finally, ask the nurse what you can do for them. This may put you out a bit, but if you want to become indispensable then you will not mind taking on some more tasks in order to rise to the top.
Expert Contribution by Tanya Glover, CNA
She writes candidly about the things she encounters while working as a CNA. Some of her popular articles include Goldilocks and the Three Nursing Assistants and Nursing Home Personalities 101