Saturday, September 11, 2010
Nursing Assistant (CNA) Omar Cain With Loads of Inspiration (Video 6:38)
One of the extras that enriched my experiences as a hospice volunteer in Detroit nursing homes was the ongoing contact I had with staff members and residents. I particularly appreciated my interactions with nursing assistants, also referred to as CNAs and nurse aides. Because they worked closely with residents, I had many opportunities to talk with them. They seemed glad to have me there assisting my hospice patients while lightening their workload, especially at mealtimes. They shared their concerns about low pay, staff shortages, difficult work conditions, and not being appreciated.
Like employees on any job, CNAs were varied in their work performance. A famous American actress named Lena Horne said, “It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.” Two people can experience exactly the same circumstances and respond in totally different ways. I found that many CNAs valued their jobs and relationships with residents, even during stressful situations. They made positive choices about how to carry their loads while working to improve conditions. Attitude was everything. This wasn’t always easy, especially on a daily basis or during the middle of a crisis. I have seen a CNA get slapped so hard by a dementia patient that she almost fell. But she maintained her composure and moved on while another CNA interceded. The passion they had for what they were doing helped them overcome adversity.
I don’t know Omar Cain, the CNA in the video that follows. But he demonstrates a spirit of caring commitment to residents he serves at Golden Living Center. A rapper and hero to many, he uplifts others with loads of inspiration. Omar models a message we can all embrace on how to carry our loads during daily encounters at work and in life.