Continuing Education or Just Another In Service?

by Patti on February 2, 2007

in Educational Articles

A Perspective For CNA’s

We have all been there. In a room at work, sitting in front of a TV monitor watching YET another in service video. Usually no one is actually teaching us anything. And often we are doing this in a hurry to make sure we have enough “hours” to count towards our state requirements for yearly on going training.

This is not the fault of the CNA. Because of budget issues and time factors, many nursing homes and other facilities do not bother to consider that CNA’s deserve better in services, better continuing education. Everyone agrees that CNA’s deliver 90% of all hands on care, yet we are often the last to receive important new information to help us stay up to date with new practices and procedures. Many CNA’s do not feel supported by their management teams to request attending seminars and conferences. And many CNA’s don’t really care- they have a life outside of work and don’t feel they should have to spend extra time learning things they think they already know.

I would like to address the first issue mentioned above- budget and time concerns- this might catch the attention of the management of a nursing home. This is really a simple to fix in my opinion. There are so many talented people who work in nursing homes, hospitals and similar facilities. We have dieticians, activity professionals, pastors/priests, nurses, OT’s, PT’s, Speech therapists. These are just a few folks who have a wealth of knowledge that can be shared. Some topics for consideration might be:

• Nutrition and Dehydration (DT)
• Socializing and Activities for residents (Activities Director)
• Religions- learning the basics (Pastors)
• New skin care protocols (Nurses)
• Understanding the Nursing Process (Nurses)**
• Feeding Techniques (Occupational Therapists)
• Range of Motion Exercises (Physical Therapists)
• Special communication devices and techniques (Speech Therapists)
**Many CNA’s do not know exactly what the nursing process is.

Also, many facilities have specially trained psyche nurses and doctors who regularly make visits. This person is a great resource for helping CNA’s learn to cope and deal with behaviorally challenged residents. I have heard from CNA’s who work for forward thinking organizations that actually request from their CNA’s what THEY would like to learn about.

Some of the ideas shared with me were:

Working together issues- communication with peers; how to deal with negativity in the workplace; how to re-direct angry co-workers, how to deal effectively with superiors….

Keeping up to date with all the new skin care protocols. Many, many a CNA has shared with me their despair of being certified years ago and not being told/taught about new trends. An example given was from one CNA in GA who told me about how she always massaged her residents’ reddened skin after washing the area. Of course new evidence suggests we don’t do this but she never got this, and she first learned of it online 13 years after she became a CNA.

Documenting/Language: I am always amazed at the numbers of CNA’s who just do not understand how important their role is in the entire care giving process, part of which is good documenting. Down this road also comes a need for CNA’s to understand and know the English language well enough to communicate with residents. It would always be a good investment to send foreign speaking aides to a local college to learn ESL (English as Second Language) classes. Not only is spoken language covered, but written language as well.

With a little thought, planning and research anyone can come up with content for the above mentioned ideas- online there are many good web sites to tap for info. Local colleges will work with facilities and may even come onsite to do training.

Finally I would like to address those CNA’s who think they know everything and don’t need any extra education. Smile- you’re not alone but you are going to become a DINOSAUR real fast. The young and up-coming CNA’s are motivated by learning and continuing to learn. You deserve to have opportunities to better yourself, to deliver better care to your residents. Since you have to keep your “hours” up to date, wouldn’t you rather learn something new and different vs. sitting in front of that silly monitor watching an infection control video that is 7 years old??

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