10 Traits Of Well Respected CNAs


1 Compassionate: A compassionate CNA is valuable. She respects what her residents/patients are experiencing; she has a knack for knowing what to say, just when to say it too! She advocates for her patients/residents- she gives detailed reports and updates to the nurses on changes in condition.

2 Patient: This CNA does not allow her job demands to get in the way of resident care. She does not **do** the tasks for the residents in order to get it done quicker; she encourages her residents to take their time with tasks. This CNA does not rush her residents thru meals and toileting.

3  Work-oriented: The CNA who loves his job is evident to all. This aide rarely uses her cell phone while working; when this aide arrives at work, she is ready to work; she focuses on her assignment and residents; she has little time for small talk.

4 Enthusiastic: The CNA who is upbeat and positive is rare. He will have a “Let’s get this done” attitude with a smile. He will not let others’ emotions and negativity affect his day.

5 Reliable: A reliable aide is one who shows up for work, on time. She gets her assignments completed in a timely manner and importantly, residents have become comfortable knowing this aide will take good care of them.

6  Punctual: On time, every time. Whether it’s arrival time for work, or getting residents to activities and meals, the punctual aide is an asset.

7 Hard-working: The hard work CNA’s do is what we are (in)famous for. A well respected CNA isn’t afraid of this work- she doesn’t mind all the lifting, pulling, tugging and moving. She won’t complain when she misses a break occasionally. She will offer to work an extra shift to cover a call out. She doesn’t blink when confronted with confused and scared residents with Alzheimer’s Disease.

8 Flexible: One of the truly most important traits of a good aide is whether he/she is flexible…flexible to float to other units, to swap out shifts to cover openings, to swap assignments when needed…to help a co worker who is running behind.

9 Self-disciplined: It’s getting harder and harder to find nurses and aides who are more in tune with their residents then themselves. Self discipline relates to one’s ability to maintain control of their emotions and feelings. It also relates to staying totally professional when at work. Not too many aides can do this these days. The skills needed however, can be taught and modeled.

10 Focused: Are you totally, 100% focused on your residents and their needs? Do you plan your assignment to fulfill resident desires and ensure you schedule enough time for each resident? Do you carry your cell phone with you? Do you get caught up day dreaming?  Do you tend to get involved with other aides’ problems and gossip? The answers should be YES, YES, NO, NO and NO.

7 Tips To Deal Effectively With Difficult Residents

We’ve all been assigned to cranky, demanding rude residents/patients. You know them: Mean, belittling people who have elevated themselves above all others in level of need. Not just pillow fluffers, these residents demand strict attention to minute details not because the attention is necessary but because the resident believes they are entitled to it. Resident families can be just as hard to work with. I’m not sure who is worse: The demanding resident or the demanding family member. Regardless, here are 7 tips on working effectively with the Mrs. Cranky’s of the world:

Check on the demanding resident 1st thing: Once you know you’re assigned to Mrs. Cranky, go to her room and check with her right away. Let her know you’re her aide.

Ask her if she has any special requests for today: Perhaps she wants her bath later in the morning; or she isn’t feeling well and would like to skip breakfast. Or maybe she has guests coming and would like to wear the hard-to-don red dress. By asking her what her plans are for the day, you are giving her a real say in how her day will go. Based upon her feedback, schedule your workflow to accommodate Mrs. Cranky’s needs. This does not mean you neglect your other residents.

It is perfectly acceptable to let Mrs. Cranky know that your other assigned residents have the same needs as she does. Make it clear that you are responsible to others and that you cannot cut back on time they need. You can say all this in a polite, professional and caring manner. Even further, I would let Mrs. Cranky know the order in which you will tend to her care. Give APPROXIMATE time frames. By doing this, you are alerting her that you hold your other residents’ needs just as high as hers.

Unless she is your first resident, check in with Mrs. Cranky every so often. Anticipate her needs. Use your knowledge of her demands as a tool: If you know she usually rings the bell at 10am for bathroom use, be one step ahead of her and show up in her room at 9:55am to see if she needs the toilet…

5) TALK!
When performing actual cares for Mrs. Cranky, listen to her if she speaks. If she is rude or insulting you, let her know that this offends you! Tell her that her words hurt your feelings. By doing this, you put her on notice that you won’t stand for rude remarks and the like. Try to find some common interests to talk about- this shows her that you do have a genuine interest in her. Ask her about pictures she has; ask her where she has traveled in her life; ask her questions about HER LIFE in an effort to show your curiosity. If she answers your questions positively, GOOD! Keep aiming for this positive energy. If she continues to gripe and complain, remain quiet. Don’t ignore her, but ignore the negativity and by doing so you are not giving her audience.

If Mrs. Cranky seems upset or angry, while doing her care, ask her if something is bothering or upsetting her. Sometimes people are uptight or nervous about things and take it out on the nearest person. If she expresses sadness let her know she can speak with you about those things and offer to pass on her concerns to others as needed. Let her know she can trust you. If she is angry at her family, offer to speak with the nurse to see about a family meeting. If she is mad at other staff, listen but don’t give any feedback. Give her attention for her positive words and say little about her negative words.

During the shift, after her care is completed, check in with Mrs. Cranky. Again, ANTICIPATE her needs! When you take a break, let her know. By doing this you are letting her know you care about her. At the end of the day, if appropriate, check in with Mrs. Cranky one last time. Ask her if she needs anything. Ask her how she thinks her day went- and what could be done to make it better. When we ask people to help us with planning schedules and work flows, it’s amazing how much feedback we get! It’s always appropriate to say goodbye and other polite remarks.


Nursing Home Workplace Culture


Definition: The predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization.

Maybe you have heard a lot about workplace culture lately. It has been a buzzword for the past few years and much of it is geared towards the corporate world rather than the nursing home setting. However, every place of employment DOES have its own culture and within the LTC setting a bad culture is devastating to staff and residents.

Signs of a “BAD” Culture include:

  • High turnover and absenteeism
  • High amount of agency staff use
  • Uptight unsmiling staff
  • Grouchy residents
  • Backstabbing, gossipy groups
  • No teamwork
  • Hostilities between shifts
  • Too many cliques

Causes of a bad culture include the actions, or lack of action from management, charge nurses and YOU the CNA. You have a huge impact on the culture of the unit you work on. Your attitudes and ability to be positive all have a large role in whether the place you work is seen as a good employer.

Everyone has a set of personal values they go by; also, everyone has morals. Knowing these can be a first step towards changing your attitude and therefore becoming more upbeat.

Many of the reasons/causes of an unhealthy culture are not the fault of the CNA, and these areas must be addressed by the Administrator and DON. Some tips for them would include:

  • Hold regular staff meetings with ALL staff
  • At these meetings seek input and advice from staff, and ACT on items that can be acted upon. Explain why others cannot be followed through.
  • Break up negative cliques and do not allow little gossip groupings
  • Examine reasons for shift wars and implement methods to stop them
  • Have a mission and SHARE it with all staff better yet have all staff help with developing the mission statement
  • Maintain a positive attitude and make all decisions based up the mission statement.
  • Catch staff doing things the right way and give them credit for doing so (Gone with the mindset that “They should be doing it this way in the first place”)
  • Hold staff accountable for policies and procedures breaches (attendance)

Many things are within the control of you the CNA, when it comes to creating a positive culture. You have to look at things differently though, and this can be hard work for old timers not used to change. Having the mindset that people are lazy and will take advantage of others, for example, will get you nowhere. You will always been seen as a negative force.

Your attitude might be why you are so unhappy at work. No one likes to be around someone who always finds fault with others with their work, their uniforms, and their lifestyle.

Negative people drain energy from others. It is hard work to remain negative it amazes me to see how some CNA’s can be so miserable for so many years. It does seem that these miserable aides end up having more health problems as they get older, they LOOK so much older than they are, and they are just as unhappy at home as they are at work. The old saying “Misery likes company” may have some truth, but what I think really occurs is “Misery infests others”.

Things You Can DO, Right Now:

  • Try not to get involved with gossip; stay away from groups of staff who tend to share stories about others. If you are approached with a statement like “Did you hear” say NO and say “I DON’T WANT TO KNOW”. Walk away.
  • Don’t be a part of the “Call in Queen Club”. Show up for work, on time. And have a smile on your face.
  • Have a personal mission statement/vision if management cannot pen their own. A simple motto will work something to the effect “I will give the best care I can and I will be a good coworker to my peers.” Live by this. You will quickly become known as someone everyone likes to be around.
  • Don’t keep old baggage on your back. Forgive others for past mistakes and issues. Move on. Talk with them; tell them they have another chance with you. Stand up taller, take the higher road. You will feel so much better, like a burden has been lifted.
  • Use your manners. Saying PLEASE, THANK YOU, EXCUSE ME and I’M SORRY go so much further in the culture you create, then saying things like Nope, I can’t, or doing things like rolling your eyes, sighing heavily, murmuring under your breath.
  • Instead of having that “Us vs. Them” mindset, why not have “Its US”? All of “us” shifts, including housekeepers, cooks, nurses, residents, etc. We are working together, not against one another.
  • When you are training new staff, be kind and gentle to them. Just because they are CNA’s doesn’t mean they should be treated poorly. And don’t expect them to know everything no one knows the little tricks with residents until they get the training you can give. Model decent behaviors and talk about being positive. This will make a lasting impression.
  • When agency staff are utilized, don’t be rude to them. It’s not their fault they are there. More than likely it’s partly the facilities’ and YOUR fault! It all rolls back to culture if a place is full of negative people who refuse to help one another, who call out frequently and where there is management that condones these practices. Folks are not going to work there. People will quit or call out. Face it– a vicious cycle can occur here.

When you treat agency staff poorly, they talk. They tell their bosses and they tell other aides in other facilities we have all heard about HELL HOLE nursing home its hell because of the staff usually. I have heard some stories about agency staff being treated so badly by aides at certain nursing homes I would NEVER consider working at. And that is bad for you: Aides who might consider getting a job where YOU work, so you are not working short all the time won’t even give your employer a chance. And you might wonder WHY you don’t have enough staff.

The same cycle occurs when we mistreat new staff who quickly quit on us. They find employment somewhere else, and talk to others about their experience at your facility. The facility has reputation that has bad culture and is terrible to work at.

Help the culture at your work. Do your part: Smile, stay positive, help coworkers, train new staff well and ask Management to help create a workplace culture that helps with retention, and then in turn, recruitment.

Hopefully management can assist with this because it will take some enforcement on their part to make this work.