To the Nursing Assistants
Today, we honor a group of healthcare providers I hold close to my heart: nursing assistants. As a nursing assistant myself, I know how under-recognized nursing assistants are in the healthcare process. Yet, without us it would be extremely difficult for nurses, doctors and families to care for patients on a holistic level. Without nursing assistants, patients would not be dressed, bathed, transferred, fed, or any other small task which feeds into the overall wellbeing of a patient.
Providing these cares is particularly important in providing quality hospice and palliative care. I remember spending all night rubbing a patient’s back two days before they passed. It was the only action that could get them to calm down and nod off to sleep. Though the task may sound easy enough to do, I encourage you to attempt to give someone a backrub for eight hours while simultaneously assisting other patients and the nurse of your ward. It’s not as easy as it seems. That night flew by in a blur but what I do remember is the calm I saw in my patient’s face in the early hours of the morning, just from giving them a backrub. What I have learned since that night is there are no other healthcare professionals out there who have the time or patience at 2 a.m. in the morning to comfort a patient by giving them a very long backrub.
I know there are other nursing assistants out there who have similar stories. They are individuals who work behind the scenes to make sure supplies are stocked; patients are well fed and comfortable; and nurses are being supported. Surprisingly, many nursing assistants do this for a little more than minimum wage. Though I wish I could give all of you a million dollar raise for what you do, I can’t. Instead, I want to take a moment to thank all of you for the service and care you give your patients. Give yourself a hug for me and take time to care for yourself today. I appreciate the work you do and I have a notion many others around you do too.