Precautions Nursing Assistants Should Take

Choosing to be become a nurse assistant is almost certain to provide you with a rewarding job of helping others, however there are some risks inherent in the role that when prepared for will minimize harm to yourself, your patient, and ensure your career. Simple precautions that you are not taught at college might just be what the doctor ordered.

During your state exam you’ll be tested on hygiene, patient care, following procedures and all with the emphasis on being able to perform a much needed role in society. Unfortunately, since the course is usually only a few weeks, there is very little time to teach precautionary safety and you might not be fully prepared for work in a medical environment.

Certified Nursing Assistant Wearing Scrub

Back injuries are by far the most common reason for ending a nurse assistant’s career, and the majority of cases occur through poor lifting technique or trying to lift a patient alone without seeking assistance from your colleagues. In a short staffed facility it may often seem quicker and easier to help lift a patient without waiting for assistance, especially if the patient is in pain, but be careful. You may not always have the tools at hand such as powered lifts, and if you aren’t wearing a lumber support brace, you could be cutting short your career and becoming a patient.

A significant proportion of patients resent the assistance they require and will take out their frustration on anyone wearing a uniform, and usually on the closest person to hand. In most cases that will be you. Of the two abuse patterns, verbal and physical, it is more likely you’ll face verbal abuse from patients and their visitors, often for no reason other than the patient is in pain or confused. Whilst you are not the attending physician, your role as nurse assistant could be confused for a registered nurse.

Being aware that abuse directed at you could happen, the precautions to be taken are at all times remain professional, immediately state that you understand and what it is you are doing, and if the abuse continues, call for assistance. Any abuse you suffer be it verbal or physical should be reported to your manager as soon as possible to avoid a situation where you become accused of neglect, or worse, the patient reports you for abusive behavior. Fortunately, most managers understand that some patients are difficult, but failing to report can be a disciplinary offense.

You’ll be required to work long and physically demanding hours for much of your career which can lead to fatigue and other ailments, as well as a depressed immune system. Being aware of your own strengths, taking precautions to stay fit and eat correctly, and avoiding emotional burnout are important. Generally, the nurse assistant who arrives for duty with a cold or virus will be sent home, sometimes without pay, so building your body’s immune system through fitness training and a balanced diet should be considered essential.

Remembering that you are human and not a machine, and that your own good health ensures you will be able to work also means you’ll continue to enjoy a rewarding career for many years.

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