Certified Nursing Assistants, or CNAs, do so many things both known and unknown to improve residents’ quality of life and help nurses, doctors and other medical professionals deliver necessary medical care. During the month of June, we honor and celebrate their many contributions, especially during the week of June 10-17, or National Nursing Assistants Week.
We sat down with several Parsons Presbyterian Manor CNAs to find out more about their profession and why they enjoy taking care of others.
Sheila Glaspie has been a CNA for more than 25 years but decided to take the plunge into nursing school just this year.
“I just found out I got accepted to nursing school, which is something I had never really planned on doing. One of our former DONs (Directors of Nursing) encouraged me to do it, and my daughter sort of tricked me into actually applying. She said we were going to enroll her in college, then once we got there, she said she wouldn’t enroll unless I applied,” said Sheila.
Sheila truly enjoys helping others and likes that no two days on the job are the same.
“My favorite thing is that I love coming in here not knowing what each day will bring. And of course, I love helping the residents live their daily lives and be the best they can be,” said Sheila.
Mey Barlow has been a CNA for 15 years, and like Sheila, she loves helping others.
“I decided to be a CNA to be more involved in the community. I found out about this wonderful opportunity to help others, and I did it,” said Mey.
Mey, like so many others in the healthcare field, feels strongly that it’s important to help residents retain their sense of dignity and independence.
“Never forget that they are in control of their life still,” said Mey.
Antionette Grimmett has been a CNA for more than 19 years and became a CNA at a young age.
“I enjoy giving care to all kinds of individuals, and for the past 6 years, I’ve been the activity coordinator as well. Our job is to give care, and make sure they’re supported. That’s what we all enjoy doing. That’s what we get in the field for. It’s all about helping them and giving them the quality care that they deserve,” said Antoinette. “If I were to give advice to anyone wanting to enter the medical field, I would say become a CNA first, because a lot of medical professionals come into field without knowledge of what it takes. It all comes down to giving personal care. Otherwise you shouldn’t pursue it.”
Sheila, Mey, and Antoinette all agree that not everyone is cut out for the work of a CNA.
“You have to have a lot of patience, and it’s not for everyone. Some don’t think it would be that hard, but there’s behind-the-scenes things they’re not aware of. We’re a shoulder to cry on, and we help people with those activities of everyday living, like giving baths, changing clothes, brushing teeth and other things. They don’t realize all it entails to help a person get up every day and get through their lives. It’s very hard work, and often physical. You often have to work beyond the eight hours, and it takes a special kind of person to take care of people,” said Sheila.
We certainly agree with that, Sheila! CNAs are special people and deserve our recognition this month and all year long!