Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rants about CNAs

I need to take a second and rant. I was recently told by a client facility that they couldn't understand what was up with the CNA turnover -- they established a CNA council and it didn't do squat to keep people from quitting. I firmly believe that the reason most nursing homes can't keep CNAs is because there is a tremendous cultural barrier. And that cultural barrier is related entirely to the gap between the socioeconomic classes of direct care staff versus everybody else above them in the organizational chart. The average CNA is a poor single mother roughly between the ages of 25 to 50. "We can get them to stay by offering just a little bit more money," I've heard. Not true. People want more from a job than just money. Social relationships, for one (just look at the turnover in facilities where folks aren't allowed to work together). Feeling like part of a team is another. Having a CNA council defeats that purpose because you are in essence telling these folks they aren't part of the team, even though they typically make up at least 60% of your workforce. And the arbitrary rule about no CNAs behind the nurses desk. "But Matt," you say, "They have no business being behind there. All they'll do is just waste time reading a newspaper." How many times have you seen a LPN doing that? Your CNAs are already isolated by their poverty; isolate them at work and you've just lost another one or three.

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