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A caregiver is simply a person who cares for the health and basic needs of another when they can't do it for themselves. This can be a nurse or simply a loving family member. Nursing assistants look after their patients in basic but vital ways. They help them bathe, eat and dress. They help them in and out of bed, provide walkers and wheelchairs to those who can't get around without them, fetch items as needed and provide a listening ear for their troubles. While the primary job of a nursing assistant is giving basic care to people who can't do it for themselves, it's also about restoring dignity in the process. To make sure she does this, a nursing assistant must keep several goals in mind.
Of paramount importance to a caregiver is making sure he gives his patients the best in quality care. This doesn't just mean knowing what to do and when to do it, although those things are important as well. Good patient care is grounded in knowledge, but it also means showing empathy for patients. Nursing assistants make it a goal to never be cold or dismissive toward their patients. Their patients are people who may be sick, frightened, lonely or unhappy. A warm, understanding person in their lives can make a great deal of difference.
Nursing assistants work in a variety of health care settings, from nursing homes to surgical hospitals. They come in contact with infectious disease and bodily fluids every day. Possessing a thorough understanding of how bacteria spreads and how to eliminate it is very important. Caregivers make it a goal to make sure they take every sanitary precaution. They make sure their patients are clean, they deal with accidents swiftly and safely and they change soiled bedding immediately.
Nursing assistants are an integral part of a team of health care workers, all working with one goal in mind: to restore their patients' well-being as much as possible. Members of that team need to work together to reach this goal. Aides should maintain an open line of communication with their peers and supervisors, keeping them updated on any changes in their patients' statuses or any observations they've made. They should listen carefully to the duties they're assigned and be willing to go the extra mile when the situation calls for it.
Caring for Themselves
Health care can be an exhausting, emotionally draining field. Caregivers are frequently faced with the heartbreak and pain of disease and death. As much as it is important for a nursing assistant to care for her patients, she must also be mindful to take care of herself. She must strike an important balance between showing personal interest in patients and becoming deeply emotionally involved. A caregiver can't properly look after all of her patients if she is worn thin with worry and grief.
Brooke Julia has been a writer since 2009. Her work has been featured in regional magazines, including "She" and "Hagerstown Magazine," as well as national magazines, including "Pregnancy & Newborn" and "Fit Pregnancy."