CNAs and nurses are often seen as the ‘angels’ of the hospital. They go above and beyond to help patients, but they also have their own thoughts and feelings on what it is like for them in this profession.
Here are 15 things CNAs never tell their patients that they wish they would.
1. You should really lose weight
A 5’4″ nurse weighs 125 pounds, but she’s healthy. A 5’8″ nurse weighs 145 pounds, and he’s healthy too.
But a 5’4″, 148-pound woman has hypertension? High cholesterol? Sleep apnea? Diabetes? It’s funny how having 8 extra pounds makes it so much easier to have heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure… isn’t it?
2. You did something wrong
That spill on your bed? Your fault.
That cut you got when you were in isolation? Also your fault (and potentially deadly for your nurse).
We’re not saying you shouldn’t feel bad about it, but don’t act like we did something wrong by trying to help you up or by cleaning up the mess.
3. I’m sorry; there’s nothing more we can do
There is always something more we can do (or try), no matter how bad things look… But sometimes there just isn’t anything left to do that will fix this problem without causing another one.
The patient’s family should understand that while what happened may have been in their hands, what happens next is in God’s.
4. This would go faster if you helped…
This isn’t a game of Solitaire, and this isn’t your kitchen table; it’s the hospital.
Just like everyone else there, all we have are our two hands to get the job done – but unlike everyone else there, your family can get 6 hands working at once.
Let us use ours for more pressing matters while you do things that will free up our time so that we can take better care of you.
5. It looks worse than it really is
That doesn’t mean “Everything will be fine,” so don’t get too excited just yet…
But what this does mean is that even though half your stomach was removed, your throat is now a gaping hole that you can’t keep closed, and you have a 10-inch incision on your side with a bag of urine hanging out of it…
You’ll still live. Not happily ever after, but you’ll live.
6. We don’t have enough staff
It’s not that we’re purposefully trying to ignore you, it’s just that with all the other things going on around here, sitting in a room talking is pretty low on our list of priorities.
And if you need us for something specific, chances are someone else needs us more for something general… Maybe even another patient – so when we say “We have to go,” it’s because we do.
7. We’ve done this over and over again
It doesn’t make getting up at 2 AM any easier or less frustrating when yet another patient falls out of bed… But knowing we’ve been doing this for years without stopping helps us stay positive as we continue to do what we love most.
And if things start going south here, that positive attitude may be the thing that keeps us focused enough to do everything it takes to get us back on our feet.
8. You should really take this opportunity to rest
You may not like the idea of “staying in bed for days” (and neither do we)… But if you’re offered the chance to stay overnight, don’t argue; just say yes.
Your body needs it after all the trauma it’s been through – and so does your caregiver… Trust me, there are other times where getting proper rest will be even harder than now (but I can’t talk about those yet).
9. You look familiar…
You may not know this, but some patients have extremely common features that make them almost impossible not to see again…
Once you see that patient’s face, it will never leave your mind.
And if you ever do a rotation in a different unit with a similar patient population, the search begins… It is almost as though you think you have met everyone who exists on this Earth or something… Oh wait, maybe you have.
10. We love being here for this special time
We enjoy seeing peoples’ reactions when they find out their baby has arrived – and even more so when we get to hold her ourselves! Being able to sweep them up into our arms and give them that clean bill of health makes it all worth it…
And then there’s that first diaper… Ahhh, nothing quite like it.
11. I could stay longer too…
What we mean by this is: “I wish I didn’t have to go.” It doesn’t matter if we’ve been here for 8 hours at a stretch; we will always say we could stay longer if it means making sure you’re as comfortable as possible.
Some of us may even sit down and hold your hand for a few minutes before leaving… This brings me to my next point.
12. You have beautiful hands
You’ll never know just how much those gentle squeezes meant to us… or those long, meaningful stares into each other’s eyes…
Just kidding – but the simple fact that some patients’ hands are so cold they can barely feel anything is heartbreaking, especially when their caregivers need so desperately to be there for them.
13. We would get in trouble if we did this for too long
There are so many things we want to do for you, but get reprimanded for…
Things like sitting down next to your bed and talking to you all afternoon, calling your family members from home just so they can hear from you directly, giving a back or shoulder massage while you’re restless… You know what I mean.
The list goes on and on – but maybe that’s why our turnover rates are higher than others’.
14. Slow down! It’s going to be okay! This is not a race
Patients tend to think that the faster the diagnosis comes back, the better it will be. Well, newsflash: If the result takes longer than expected, that’s usually a good thing!
When the lab work finally comes back negative, your nurse will be right there to tell you – and it just may be the biggest relief you’ve ever felt.
15. You really need to see this…
When we come in to wake you up at 8 AM with an “I’m sorry” face… We know whatever it is won’t be pleasant. But putting it off anymore will not make it any easier on either of us.
And trust me, coming into work on my day off (or during my vacation) won’t help you feel any better about having to deal with what’s about to happen.
So I apologize (and trust me, this apology doesn’t even begin to cover it) in advance.
We don’t care if nurses are seen as the “lower half” of the hospital food chain; We love our job dearly, and wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world. Sure, we get paid less than doctors (and just enough to stay in debt), but that doesn’t mean we’re any less important than they are… They need us, and we need them – together, we make up one hell of a healthcare team!