The Gypsy Nurse could not be successful without the support and contributions of it’s readers. Today’s Specialty Spotlight is from reader and Specialty Nurse Michelle, CNA who works as a Skilled and Long Term Care.
Name: Michelle, CNA
Job Title: Skilled and Long Term Care
List your education/certifications: BLS
Where do you work: I work in a continuum care facility, offering independent and assisted living, acute care medical facility, and long term and memory care units.
How long have you worked this Specialty?
Competent 1-2 Years
How/Why did you get involved? Was there someone/something that inspired you to choose this specialty?
I had the privilege of caring for my grandparents when their health began to decline, until their care required admission to a long term care facility.
What do you do in a typical day? My typical day begins with rounds, and vital signs, then reporting any changes or issues to the charge nurse. I then begin to assist my patients through their activities of daily living in preparation for their day. My duties also include therapies such as restorative and ROM exercises, assisting with CPM. My focus is on safe practices in positioning, ambulation, transferring and toileting,
What frustrates you about your job?
Under staffing combined with increased duties. When you have an increased census and decreased staffing it is extremely difficult to provide the level of quality care that patients and their families expect.
What about your job makes you proud to be a nurse? Is there a specific situation that stands out to you as a gratifying moment?
At times my job can feel thankless. However, there are times where it makes it all worthwhile. I had been caring for patient for several months, and she had began to decline and we knew that the end was near. On her last day, I was working a different unit, and her family came to me and said that she wanted to see me. I walked into her and room and to her bedside. I leaned down to give her a kiss on the cheek and she wrapped her arms around my neck hugging me, and said, “Thank you for everything that you have done for me. I love you.” If I was not sure before that moment of how rewarding my job can be, that sealed it for me. I cried with the family and nurses when she passed, but I knew that I made a difference at a time of both hers and her families lives when it mattered most.
Do you feel you receive adequate support for your responsibilities?
There are times I feel as though we do not have any support. I can say that the majority of nurses that I have the privilege of working with are willing to help in any way that they can. However, there are times when you can be made to feel as though you just have to get through situations the best you can, on your own with no assistance. That can compromise both my safety, and most importantly the safety of my patients.
“Be an advocate for your patients. Often times you will be the only voice that they have. You will care for them on a very personal level and their loved ones have entrusted you with an important person in their life. Do it with compassion, patience and love,”
What (if anything) do you get called about on your off-hours?
What is something a nurse who does not work in your particular field might find surprising about your job?
I feel that my job is the most rewarding. I am entrusted with the care of someone’s loved one during a time of their lives that could very well be the end stage. Many of my patients have surpassed the century mark. Can you imagine how much change has occurred in the last 100 years? I have the privilege of caring for many centenarians (those who have lived beyond 100 years), and to have the opportunity to listen to their stories about things that occurred that long ago, and they are telling a first hand account, is just amazing to me.
Does your position involve teamwork, or is it more of an individual job?
My job definitely involves team work. I have many patients that are two assist. Without good team work I would not be able to do my job safely and effectively.
Did you position require any extra training besides on-the-job training that you were required to complete?
Yes, I was required to take a certification class in order to sit for my state licensing exam. Though no where near as long as school for a Registered Nurse, I was still required to pass a competency exam at the end of three months.
One of the biggest complaints given by hospital unit-based nurses is that they rarely have time to eat or go to the bathroom. Do you find that to be the case with your job as well?
Absolutely! It is not uncommon, on a really crazy day, with a patient load of 12-15 to be 8 hours into a 12 hour shift and to not had the opportunity for a bathroom break or full meal break.
What is your definition of “poop hitting the fan?”
In my position I deal with the poop. Imagine 7 patients on your unit contracting a stomach virus. Yes, that is when the “poop hits the fan” and you literally are dealing with it for 12 hours. Not fun.
Are there travel opportunities in your specialty?
Yes! Though not as plentiful as other specialties, there are travel opportunities for CNA’s. I was just offered a travel opportunity in Seward, Alaska for 13 weeks. I am so excited!
Is there any specific advice you would give a nurse pursuing your specialty?
You have to be able to just roll with it. Every day is different, and its exhausting but so rewarding. You definitely have to have a sense of humor, and loads of compassion and patience. Just remember that your patients are someone’s loved one. Treat them as you want someone to treat your mother, father, grandparents or beloved aunt or uncle.
TheGypsyNurse is always interested in learning about new Specialties. If you work a Specialty that hasn’t been covered, please contribute by filling out the submission form HERE.