This week – June 17-23, 2021 – is Nursing Assistants Week. It is a week to recognize all of the important work that these medical professionals do for the patients they work with and the doctors and nurses they assist.
For those of us who are chronically ill or disabled, though, it means even more.
We spend more time in hospitals and doctors’ offices than anyone else, which means we see a lot more medical professionals than most people. For us, a great encounter with a caregiver is more than just a day maker. It can mean the difference in getting the kind of care we need and feeling frustrated, ignored, and overlooked.
I have personally had some amazing experiences with nursing assistants in my lifetime, so I wanted to take this opportunity to honor those men and women and share three reasons why nursing assistants deserve your praise, too!
Connecting Doctors and Nurses and Their Patients
While it can sometimes be frustrating to give all of your information to one person and then to the next nurse or doctor who enters the room, there is a good reason for it.
Your nursing assistant is taking note of everything – your vital signs, your reason for visiting, and any updates to your medications or medical history. All of this information is filed away in your medical record to help not only the doctor or nurse you are seeing that day, but any medical professional you will see in the future.
Nursing assistants also handle the everyday operations of their practitioner’s office. If doctors or nurse practitioners themselves had to do all of this, there would be far less time left in their day to see patients and address their concerns. By allowing a nursing assistant to collect your vitals and important information, they streamline their patient interactions and provide better and faster service to those they are working with.
Your nursing assistant is likely to be much more talkative and personable than your regular provider, too. They have more time to do so. That is great not only for you, but for the doctor as well. It helps to relax patients while focusing them on the reasons they are in the doctor’s office.
It makes the entire visit more pleasant and productive!
Keeping Senior Living and Nursing Facilities Running
If you or a loved one are living in an assisted living facility or nursing home, you know how difficult these places can be for both residents and their caregivers.
They are often densely populated and short on the materials they need due to lack of funding. Nurses and caregivers are spread thin due to staffing restrictions brought on by these budget concerns.
Nursing assistants help to ease these problems by taking care of necessary caregiving tasks on a daily basis. They provide first response care when needed, but more frequently, they provide patient, compassionate care for those living with challenges that cause everyday tasks to be difficult without assistance.
Living in a nursing home or other assisted living facility can be a scary experience.
This is even truer when that facility is geared toward those needing hospice care. They understand how grim their situation is and need extra gentle, understanding interactions from those around them. The nursing assistants who provide those interactions are some of the most caring individuals in the medical profession, easing the burden of care for families while also calming the minds of patients they work with.
Selfless Even in the Face of Sickness
When the COVID-19 pandemic began making its way through the communities of the world, doctors and nurses were widely recognized as heroes.
Nursing assistants were less lauded. The fact is, though, nursing assistants were often the ones providing the true frontline care, making them the most essential workers of the entire pandemic.
These professionals were the ones who greeted patients in the lobbies and took their vital signs. They were the ones who referred these patients to doctors for prompt care when they displayed symptoms of the virus. They were the ones administering tests in parking lots and church basements to keep stem the surging tide of sickness.
In many cases, they were the ones who were preventing death tolls from climbing even higher than they have.
If you are reading this, it means that you have survived up until this point. Even if the coronavirus is no longer a major concern where you live, you can remember a time when it was. Just like all of us, you owe a sincere thank you to the nursing assistants who helped curb the virus’s rampant spread.
I know I personally will be taking this week to get in touch with as many of the nursing assistants I know or have worked with previously to thank them for the service they provided during that time – and that they provide every day, regardless of what is happening in the world around them.
What about you? What will you be doing this Nursing Assistants Week to honor those who have served you, your family, and your community? I would love to hear your ideas!