“Passion,” says Easton. “My people know I am here for them; I am not here for myself, I am not here for a paycheck, I am here to take care of them.”
“Courage. This is not a job for just anybody,” explains Fitzpatrick, “you have to have the heart for this job. These residents need us. When no one else is there for them, we have to be there. ”
“Loveable,” states Cruz. “These residents…they know who is here for them and who is here just for the money. A lot of them get attached to you. The way that I treat them, they can see the love that I give them. I give them that love and peace.”
“Trust. Because once your residents get to know you, they know they can count on you to do anything for them,” remarks Tidwell.
The Certified Nursing Assistants agree that working with such a vulnerable population is a calling. Greenbrier administrators encourage the right people to step up and research this career possibility. “People realize the health care field is a strong, stable field. It will always be here. Long-term care will always be here,” remarks Kay Grey, Human Resource Director, and Guide on the homes. “At the end of the day, we go home, and we made a difference in their life,” says Fitzpatrick. “That is what we are here for. This job can be very hard, but it is so special.”
NACHA, or the National Association of Health Care Assistants, has many CNA members nationwide. Long is giving NACHA The Welcome Home Project so that other facilities embrace culture change. “Where I see the difference is that we are now resident-driven instead of institutional. This means the CNAs are more like family. We are still caregivers, but we have a different role in that we provide care and provide the family feeling. Everything they do is what the resident wants to do,” said Deborah Huskey, CNA at Greenbrier.