The job of a CNA can be really demanding. You not only have to stay on top of your basic medical knowledge, but you also have to conduct yourself in a professional manner. This can be really tasking considering the duties of the CNA and your overall responsibilities.
As a CNA, it isn’t enough that you just follow the medical guidelines or just perform your job. You must do more. Your primary objective as a CNA is to assist your residents or patients in healing and ensure they have a safe and productive environment. You must be the first line of communications and the direct link between most of the medical staff and your patients. It requires you to be proactive and productive, even when assignment might not necessarily dictate.
To be a top-notch CNA, you must exemplify the following characteristics:
- Dependability: For a medical team to work, those inside the team must be able to depend on the other members to perform their tasks. A doctor must be able to depend on you to assist or administer the appropriate procedures. Your patient or resident must also be able to depend on you. Knowing that you have their best interests in mind, a patient must feel comfortable placing their lives in your hands. You must display this quality of dependability on both sides; the medical team and the patient. Otherwise, you will lose the trust of both sides and your overall job will become significantly more difficult.
- Flexibility: In a perfect world, a CNA’s hours or area of responsibility would be finite with clear definitions. But any true CNA will tell you that this isn’t true. You will find times that medical situations require you to perform beyond your assigned working hours. Or certain situations will require you to perform tasks that you weren’t necessarily ready to perform. You must maintain a level of flexibility and ensure you are ready to meet any challenges that comes before you.
- Respectfulness: The biggest complaint that I have heard from patients about other CNAs is a lack of respectfulness. In many cases I have seen CNAs treat the elderly as children and talking down to them. You must understand that many of your patients or residents have lived full and wonderful lives filled with experiences and hardships that we cannot even imagine. Approach each person as if they are of true meaning and full of wisdom. This simple act will go far in building their trust and their reciprocal respect for you. Respectfulness is also an important value amongst the medical team. If members of the team do not respect other members or their responsibilities, the team will fall apart. Ensure to give proper backup, but also provide proper respect.
- Kind Demeanor: At times, you may encounter a patient who is confused or frustrated. They may even become violent or hurtful. But no matter what, you must always maintain a kind demeanor. Meeting anger with frustration will only exacerbate the situation and cause more issues in the long run. You must be able to handle the situation and ensure you maintain a calming attitude. This sort of attitude and emotion will not only help to calm them down, but also help to maintain the strong relationship that you hopefully have been working to foster.
- Proactive Attitude: The medical world is always changing. Patients develop sickness or new ailments all the time and every member of the medical field must be ready to react and treat as necessary. As a direct path between the patient and the rest of the medical team, you must always be on the lookout. Not only should you be ready for the challenges presented by the patient, but you should also be on the lookout for any measures in which you can improve the overall health and quality of life for your patients. To do such a thing, you must be proactive and search for opportunities to assist the residents or the medical team. Don’t just go into a room to change the bed sheets like you were asked. Instead, take the opportunity to talk with your patient. See how they are doing. Check their room for any problems or look at the overall cleanliness. These proactive measure go a long way in helping to foster a better medical environment.
- Knowledgeable: The key to success is always improving your level of knowledge. Most CNAs study for their CNA Exam and upon successful completion, they never look back. However, the top CNAs will continue to build their level of knowledge and thus grow as a medical professional. Although it is not your job to diagnose, it is your job to report any issues that you may find. Because you are a member of the medical team, your level of knowledge is extremely valuable. The more you know, the better off your patients will be. Don’t just become complacent with the results of your CNA Exam. Look for opportunities to grow. Look into things like MACE certification, or the possibility of becoming an RN. Just always continue to build your level of knowledge.
- Team Player: As you have been reading the above qualities, you may or may not have noticed that just about quality affected your medical team’s relationship. The medical world is always changing and presents different challenges every day. A good team can tackle these and move forward. But that requires a “good” team. You must understand that it is a team effort and be a willing participant.
Although there are many other qualities that will help you become a better CNA, those that were listed above are of the greatest importance. They hold true for any situation or environment. They will help to foster a safe and enjoyable environment for your patients and will help to improve efficiency and effectiveness amongst your medical team. If you found that you might be weak in a certain area or think that you could improve on one or two qualities, then try and concentrate on it everyday. In the past, I have actually written it on my hand. That way, every time I would reach out to perform a task, I would see the message and it would reminds me to think about my actions. It’s one step at a time, but over time, you will gain much ground.Top Characteristics of a Good CNA by Tiffany Michaels