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Nurisng assistants get recognition

Every spoke is needed for a wheel to run smoothly, and certifiednursing assistants (CNAs) were recognized this week as vital spokesin the field of health care.

Every spoke is needed for a wheel to run smoothly, and certifiednursing assistants (CNAs) were recognized this week as vital spokesin the field of health care.

“It’s like team work. It takes everybody working together toprovide quality care for our patients,” said Tammy Livingston,nurse manager of the in-patient units at King’s Daughters MedicalCenter.

CNAs are not only found in the hospital setting, they also workin nursing homes performing a wide variety of tasks — from takingvital signs to making sure patients eat properly.

“We do a lot of different things. If the patient needssomething, I get it. If there’s a delivery, I assist the doctorwith whatever he needs,” said Cynthia Hucks, a CNA in the labor anddelivery unit at KDMC.

The daily tasks performed by CNAs are what enable doctors toproperly assess patients and care for them.

“The nursing home could not function without efficient nursingassistants. They are the ones who spend the most time with thepatients, and they can recognize even the slightest symptom,” saidLynda Burns, certified nursing assistant coordinator and instructorat Silver Cross Home.

CNA supervisors agree that the most important characteristics aneffective CNA must possess are good communication skills and acaring personality.

Many CNAs believe those characteristics just naturally come withtheir professions.

“You have to be a people person, and that’s definitely what Iam,” said Rosie Coleman, a 10-year CNA veteran in the sub-acuteunit at KDMC.

CNAs say going the “extra mile” goes hand-in-hand with theirjobs as well.

“I work a lot of overtime because I like spending time with theresidents,” said Silver Cross CNA Karen Anton. “It’s nice to listento their stories and talk to them.”

Determination, caring personalities and strong communicationskills are evident qualities most CNAs experience. Many peopleattempt the 80-hour training course for CNAs but do not make thefinal cut because they lack such important skills, said Burns.

“It really takes someone special. They have to be understandingand patient, but also firm, yet respectful.”

June 7-13 was just one week of appreciation for those who madeit through the program and became CNAs.

Several health care facilities showed their gratitude to CNAsthis week with luncheons and gifts, mixed with plenty of “thankyous.”