I appreciate your appreciation

  • Not really List related, but something I have been mulling over in my head all week.
    As a C.N.A., I get to see the best and the worst in people: not just residents, but their families too. Some families always take care to talk to me as a person, to ask how I’m doing, if I’m having a good day…and then there are families who only seem to see the uniform. They only ever seem to talk to me if there is something to complain about.
    Thing is, I do understand the latter’s perspective. They’ve heard, or experienced, horror stories involving nursing homes; they know that I have a lot of people to take care of and don’t want their loved one to suffer the short end of my limited time. They want to feel like they are doing everything they can for their loved one (whether they are or not); they look at me and see all the money they are spending. I get it. I don’t mind families asking questions and keeping me on my toes–I welcome it. It means they are paying attention; it means they care. It’s not the questions or even the nitpicking that bother me: it is when they never bother to learn my name or say “thank you” even once. It’s written all over their faces for me to see: they  assume I’m just there for the money, that I don’t care at all about my residents. They think that it must be just a job to me.
    But I am not my paycheck. I am not “most aides”. I am not the work I do, or a piece of machinery like a hoyer.
    I am a person, and I never forget a “thank you”.
    Yes, I do the dirty work, I sometimes make mistakes, I may not make the bed exactly to your specifications…but I do take damn good care of my residents.
    “Thank you” is far from an empty phrase. To me, it is an acknowledgement of the work I do, the job that I take so much pride in. It lets me know that you see and you respect what I do. A family member, or a resident that just cannot be pleased, that will always find something to complain about, what they are conveying (intentionally or not) is a simple lack of respect for me.
    It’s hard to try your best when you know it will never be appreciated…but hey, that is why I’m a professional.
    After becoming a CNA, I try very hard to say “thank you” to all the people whose jobs we take for granted: people behind the cash registers, sweeping floors, bagging the groceries, and yes, the people wiping butts.


Categories: CNActivist | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “I appreciate your appreciation

  1. Hmm . . . I wonder why they have trouble expressing appreciation. Do the ones who are there more often seem more appreciative or less?

    Good post too. It reminds me to say thank you!


  2. hmhedges

    It doesn’t seem to matter how much the families are there; some families are there constantly and treat the care-takers almost like adopted family…some remain hostile.
    I think the difference might be how they view the staff, either as servants or skilled labor. I don’t know.


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