This week we’re celebrating the 40th Annual Nursing Assistants Week – Nursing Assistants: Specialists in the Art of Caring. These caregivers focus on personal care, daily living assistance and the safety and well-being of patients.
LaToya Reedy is a home health aide/certified nursing assistant (CNA) and fills in as a patient care team assistant (PCTA) on a facilities care team at Suncoast Hospice, a member of Empath Health. In this Q&A, she discusses her role working with her patients, families and team; the tender support and relief she brings to her patients; and her personal and professional growth.
1. What’s your background?
I had always wanted to go into health care. For five years, I worked as an EKG heart monitor tech at St. Anthony’s ICU (intensive care unit). I’ve worked at Suncoast Hospice for almost 10 years. My roles have included PCTA and CNA on a few care teams.
2. What are your career goals?
I’m ready to grow. I’ve been taking classes and my plan is to register back at St. Petersburg College to eventually become an RN (registered nurse), social worker or case manager.
2. How do you provide care and support?
As a CNA, I give the one-on-one care that our patients need. I assist them with their activities of daily living – bathing, showering, toileting, skin care, nail care and oral care. And I make sure they’re safe and dressed nicely with dignity. I also cover as a PCTA providing our team support. When patients, families or facilities call in and need medication, a nurse or someone else to talk to, I help guide them.
3. What do you hope to achieve with your patients?
I want to provide our patients one-on-one time, not rushed. I hope that they’re happy, relieved of anxiety and pain and rested once I’m done with their care. I’ve provided touch therapy and aromatherapy for a few patients. Using lavender oil and rubbing their temples help comfort them and even myself mentally.
4. What’s it like working with your team?
We’re the eyes and ears for our nurses. We collaborate with them and provide updated information about our patients and their needs. I have great team members who are always willing to talk and teach me new things. I like learning at our IDT (interdisciplinary team) meetings. It makes my job easier. It’s important to keep our lines of communication open and we do. We’re just a phone call away.
5. What qualities should a certified nursing assistant possess?
Compassion, patience and understanding. It has to be within you. It’s not a job. I feel that God has made this a calling for me.
6. How does hospice care benefit patients and families?
It’s life changing. It’s a great organization for our community. We can assist with all of the services that we provide. It’s helpful for patients and families and enhances patients’ time and dignity.
7. What has working for Suncoast Hospice meant to you?
I like working here. Everyone is friendly. It has made me grow. It has made me a better person and mother. It’s a blessing to help others, and with just the smallest things they’re grateful and appreciative. I’ve learned to be patient, to listen and to take one day at a time. Every day’s a gift.
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Has a CNA touched the lives of your family? Tell us your story.
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