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Get Inspired By These CNA Stories

June 16, 2022 | Mark Woodka


Spend any amount of time at a nursing home or assisted living community and you’ll quickly realize how crucial CNAs are. Their work makes an impact on the lives of the residents and their families, and is essential to organizational stability. This was apparent throughout many of our OnShift Applause Award nominations. Dozens of Best in Care nominees were CNAs who created innovative ways to engage residents, went above and beyond to help a coworker, provided emotional support to residents’ family members, or motivated others with their positive attitude. I’ll take this year’s CNA Week as an opportunity to share some of these inspiring stories.

One of the common themes throughout the CNA nominations was the importance of a positive attitude. It can be tough to keep smiling through all the challenges that COVID and staff shortages have brought to senior care, but these standout caregivers are true examples of the power of positivity.

“Nancy is the classic ‘under the radar’ employee. She works hard, helps her coworkers, knows her residents, and advocates for them. She always has a smile and goes the extra mile to ensure that everyone has the best day possible. She picks up extra shifts, and covers vacations, even if last minute, to ensure her coworkers can take important family time. She worked all through COVID, and never lost her positive attitude.”

For many CNAs, their work is more than a job – it’s a calling. That’s reflected in how they care for their residents. In our Applause Award nominations, we saw many examples of caregivers treating residents like their own family members.

“Dominique is a quiet force in our memory care unit, always providing the reassurance and calm that is so necessary when caring for residents and families during this difficult journey. She is diligent in ensuring residents and families have time and moments of joy to remember together.”

“Danielle is passionate about what she does. She treats every resident with respect and dignity. She notices every detail if they need a haircut or shave and she always makes sure the ladies put on their makeup and perfume, as well as the men their aftershave or cologne.”

CNAs don’t just care for their residents – they care for their coworkers, too. Reading through the nominations, I was inspired by how many CNAs go the extra mile to train new staff members, cover shifts, and perform tasks outside their job duties. Stories like these show just how crucial CNAs are to keeping a senior care organization running smoothly.

“Trisha is ALWAYS going above and beyond. Trisha has never had an issue with sweeping the floors, helping in the kitchen, coming in early and staying over. No job is ‘not her job’.”

“Rena is a hard worker and a good team player. She makes our organization a better place by training new staff to make sure they are going to do their job right. She takes pride in her job and it shows. She will even pick up extra shifts when needed and/or come in early and stay late just to make sure all her residents are cared for.”

Innovation is another area where CNAs stand out. It’s important to keep open lines of communication between management and staff and provide opportunities to share ideas because wonderful improvements in operational processes and resident care can come from any level of an organization.

“John designed an entire program to present to us called "Transport Hero of the Month." This proposal listed the 'what,' 'where,' 'who,' 'how,' and 'why.' His idea was to incentivize floor CNAs to assist with having residents ready for appointments in a timely manner so that the residents feel and look their best when leaving the facility, rather than being rushed out the door. He designed a logo, a program pamphlet, a 3x4 HIPAA safe slip to add to the assignment board on resident appointment days, and even a badge reel. He also has utilized a digital picture frame with multiple slides designed by him to advertise the program, which he stationed in the scheduler's office.”

The sentiment that was reflected most in these OnShift Applause Award nominations was the appreciation for CNAs. You can’t underestimate the value of a passionate CNA who works hard to make the lives of their residents and coworkers easier.

“There so many qualities about Shacarrio that make her an excellent CNA! She has a heart of gold. She goes above and beyond! She gives more than 100%. If I could give 200%, that would be her! She is caring, dependable, reliable and trustworthy. She is always willing to learn anything and everything new.”

I'd like to personally thank these hard-working individuals and all CNAs for their tremendous efforts. Inspiring stories like these are one of the reasons OnShift is committed to redefining the employee experience so senior care staff can have the exceptional work experience they deserve.

This CNA week, take the time to show your appreciation to the CNAs at your organization. Write a thank you note, treat them to lunch, or find a way to recognize the hard work they do. Don’t limit this recognition to just a week. Look for rewards and recognition programs you can carry on throughout the year. Our Biggest Book of Perks is a great place to find ideas. Download it here. 

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About Mark Woodka

Mark Woodka is CEO of OnShift and has over 25 years of experience in enterprise software sales and marketing, having worked for startup organizations as well as Fortune 500 companies. He often leverages his extensive background in technology-enabled process improvements speaking at industry conferences as well as authoring articles on long-term care trends and issues.

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