10 Ways To Make Yourself Indispensible To The Charge Nurse

by Patti on April 1, 2012

in Advice for CNA's

The recent Question Of The Week, “How do I become more valued by the nurse?” got me thinking. I did a lot of observing at work over the past few days and came up with several factors that make a CNA truly valuable to the charge nurse. We have written extensive articles here for new CNA’s, and here is another article designated for this group of aides.

1) BE AT WORK- don’t be a call out queen.
Really this can’t be repeated enough. Calling out of work does more damage to your reputation than most anything else short of abuse and/or neglect. In any industry, but particularly healthcare, nurses and aides are single most important ingredient to continuity of good care. You know what happens when there are call outs- others have to pick up the slack. It’s not good. Be at work and call out only when you are TRULY so sick you cannot function as an aide. Let the nurses send you home if they so decide. The nurses will respect you so much more and keep you in high regard, if you come to work as scheduled.

2) BE AT WORK ON TIME- don’t be LATE.
Another issue that can’t be repeated enough. Nurses like having all the aides at work, ready to manage the units. Being down an aide for 20 minutes is a hassle- residents are unaccounted for during the time, other aides have to cover or in some cases, the previous shift aide has to STAY OVER to cover for you! It’s not right. Of course there will be times when you get into an fender bender on the way to work- extreme situations that happen maybe once every…..8 years. Everyone expects that. Nurses want aides who are reliable and not late every other day, or every other week, or even once a month.

Let the nurse know, RIGHT AWAY, of resident issues (skin tears/red areas, fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, poor appetite from one who usually eats well)
NOTHING TICKS a nurse off more than to find out, at the end of shift, that a resident has a fever or an open area…or one who fell….it’s not good for the resident to go all shift not feeling well or even hurt; it’s not good that the nurse did not assess the resident either. YOU are the common denomter here- YOU MUST let the nurses know. By doing so, in a timely manner, you will make yourself a valuable aide. Guaranteed.

4) DON’T COMPLAIN about assignments.
BE FLEXIBLE- be willing to accept new residents on your assignment; be ready and willing to SWAP assignments.
From a management point of view, there is nothing quite so annoying as staff who whine and complain about their assignments. And nothing so negative at times, as well. Don’t be a complainer. Accept your assignments with grace. Be humble about it too- no one likes SUPERAIDS and in this work we don’t want martyrs. An assignment is full of human beings who deserve good care, attention and nurses will respect the aides who accept such assignments with little noise.

On time. Don’t be so slow your residents miss meals; but don’t rush through care either like a SUPERAIDE. Help other aides when possible. Offer to help the nurse with tasks such as supply ordering. Don’t nag the nurse about this. Just offer.

If you see supplies running low, place an order or restock the items; if you see a few beds unmade, make them! If you see messes being left by other aides, help them out and then speak with them later about cleaning up after themselves. Don’t go running to the nurse to complain about the aide you just helped! Unless the aide asked you, YOU made the choice to help…You have to live with your choice which was a good one. Again from a management point of view, much of the complaining that nurses hear is about petty team work problems that the aides could resolve among themselves. So take initiative to help, as well as to offer constructive helpful criticism.

This may depend upon how your facility manages training of new aides. If a mentor/orientation period is offered, be the aide the nurses trust to do this important task! The benefits of training new aides are numerous- you can show them best practices with the residents- all their needs and tips the aides use when providing care; you can ALSO model good staff relations skills as well. A reliable trustworthy aide gets along with most everyone at work! When the nurse knows you are a good reliable aide, she will welcome your ability to train new staff.

When new residents are admitted, be the aide who the nurse turns to get admission info completed; be the one who makes the new resident feel welcomed and comfortable. Develop an admission checklist for yourself- with things new residents need to know (call bell use for example); routines and schedules (meals, for example)- be the one person welcome committee for new admits! Get initial vital signs and weights/heights during the first meet and greet with the resident. Get this info to the nurse as soon as possible. The nurse will be very grateful that this was completed.

Some nurses have stomachs for this sort of behavior from aides and others. Good nurses however, don’t tolerate it. Neither should you. When someone approaches you with gossip, listen and walk away. Don’t repeat what you were told to others. Be the missing axial in the mills of rumors. Trustworthy aides don’t have time to belong in clique like groupings, nor do they have the desire to spread unfounded rumors about others. Spend any spare time with your residents- they will truly appreciate it.

What? Be humble? With all the skills down pat, with the nurses coming to you to get things done, you think you’ve earned the right to hold yourself above your co-workers? Not so fast. Admit your shortcomings. Acknowledge deficiencies in care. Learn from your mistakes. Trust me on this: NOTHING is more irritating than an aide who thinks she is better than everyone else! One of the traits of successful people is their ability to remain humble in their dealings with everyone. Be real; don’t go around with a halo around your head. Be honest. Perform your duties in a purposeful and professional manner. Nurses will appreciate you being YOU more than anything else.

To summarize, nurses find that certain aides are more valuable than others in terms of WHAT THE AIDE CAN ACCOMPLISH without sacrificing care. This is a SKILL- to be able to get the work done, correctly, takes time and practice as an aide. It won’t happen overnight. Having the confidence to get the resident care completed as well as tend to other tasks is multitasking. This is not a skill we’re NOT taught. In order to learn these skills, you have to show up for work on time. You have to be willing to swap assignments and take on extra residents. You have to put it upon yourself to do things not necessarily in your job description. Be helpful when it comes to training new aides. View yourself as a mentor, formally or not. Distance yourself from the gossip crowd. Stay real and learn to be humble if you don’t know how. Nurses will come to depend upon you to get the work done.

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