Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why I Shouldn't Be a Nurses Aide

One of my first jobs out of high school was working at the town's nursing home.
Not that it was my dream job or anything.
But, in a town of 1200, dream jobs are hard to get.

So, it was the nursing home.
I made it all the way through orientation.
I could work six months as an aide before I needed to be certified.

I was good with that.

Orientation was fine.
I learned how to take blood pressure and how to properly lift the old people.
Which, by the way, is way harder when actually trying to lift an old person.

I learned how to take out teeth and wash the nether regions.

All the fun stuff, you know.

And can't forget the feeding.
I got to do that too.

Now, according to state law you have to ask the patients if they want to wear a bib and you must respect them if they say no.
Even if it means they spill food all over and end up needing all their clothes changed.
They need their dignity.

We are also not supposed to keep feeding them food if they don't want it.

Now, here's the thing with Alzheimer's patients.
They have to eat.
They are up all night and have very high metabolisms.

I got to feed the Alzheimer's people.

Alzheimer's patients have really bad short term memories.
I mean, like you tell them something and poof it's gone.

But, they have to eat.
They just do.
They might not like it, but they need the food.

One day, I had to feed this lady some yummy pureed food.
And she was not a fan.

After every bite, she kept telling me "I don't like that".
So, I'd say "OK" and give her another bite.
Than she'd say "I don't like that".
I'd say "OK" and give her another bite.

This went on the entire meal.
She'd tell me.
I'd say OK, but I'd keep feeding her.

By state law I wasn't supposed to do that.
But, it was for her own good.

Some people say I was taking advantage of the old lady that couldn't even remember what she said one minute ago.
I say I did the right thing for her.

Needless to say, I did not last long on the floor before I went to work in the kitchen.
And that was my short lived stint as a nurses aide.


  1. I don't think I could do that either.

  2. Yes, in Canada, we call these people health care aids, and I've had to do a stint as a student nurse. It was grueling and hard work. As for the elderly lady you were feeding, I think far worse things could have been done than feeding her something she claimed to have disliked.

  3. I think it's a tough business, especially when you're dealing with the elderly. I mean, you have to be professional, use your opinion of what's best for their health and take criticism with a straight face. I'm sure if you wouldn't have fed her, you would have gotten remarks for starving her. I'm glad you did the right thing, but I don't blame you for leaving.

  4. Nurse's aides do have a hard job, and an important one.

  5. OT,
    I know so many people that do and I don't know how.

    Here, in the US, they call health aides the ones that come to people's homes. Interesting.
    Honeyman laughs over the fact I just kept feeding her even when she said she didn't want it.

    Auto TL,
    I am sure I would have since the nurse keeps track of those things.

    It is a tough job indeed and it takes a special person to be able to do it.

  6. I agree. If they are mentally unable to care for themselves then they need someone else to make sure they are staying as healthy as they can be.

  7. When you were in the kitchen, did you make the pureed food?
    Oh, I couldn't do that.
    You had me at washing the "nether regions."

  8. Al,
    The cooks made it. I got to put in on the trays though.
    I remember one time a male CNA had to wash one of the ladies and she just kept telling him not to stop. LOL.

  9. fun reflection, be yourself.

    check out short story slam and make a submission today.


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