A good nursing assistant is worth their weight in gold. They make the difference in having a crappy shift or a smooth shift.
In our hospital, we have patient care techs which is like a nursing assistant to the 10th power. Not only do they have the normal responsibiliites of getting vitals, checking blood sugars, answering call lights, etc. They also draw blood, start IV's, insert and remove foley catheters. They are such an awesome resource.
I didn't realize how much I had come to rely on our techs until the other night when we didn't have one. I was assigned to work on one of the medical step down floors. All of the patients are on telemetry cardiac monitoring and all need every four hour vital signs taken. Whew! When you add that to patients being confused, trying to get out of bed, pooping and peeing everywhere, it makes for an eventful night especially with no tech.
There were three nurses and each of us had four patients. We tried to help each other out as much as we could but I'm not going to lie, it was rough. Patients had to be assisted to the bathroom, incontinent patients had to be cleaned up often, alchohol withdrawal patients had to be monitored closely, you name we had it.
Being a float nurse, sometimes I get assigned to be a tech and I have to say I have the utmost respect for the job these women and men do.
There is nothing like working with a good tech, nursing assistant, nurse's aid, cna, I know there are many variations to the name.
When the nurse and tech are on the same page, things go so much smoother. I have found the best thing to do is keep the lines of communication open. Since I float I don't always know the techs I'll be working with. Before I even start my shift I seek the tech out, introduce myself if I don't know them and do a quick run down of my patients.
I know the techs get report from the previous tech but sometimes stuff gets missed. I don't take up anymore than five mintues of their time. I hit the high points like which patients have blood sugars due in the morning, anyone going for a procedure in the morning, anyone npo, drains, foleys, basically the important stuff.
I can't tell you how many times a tech has said "oh thanks for letting me know I didn't know Mrs. xyz was npo after midnight."
I have no problem answering call lights, helping patients to the bathroom, getting vitals, whatever needs to be done to keep things running smoothly. In the hospital setting teamwork is a must, not only among fellow nurses but techs and nursing assistants as well. We are all there to take good care of the patients.
At the end of my shift I make it a habit to thank the tech that I worked with and tell them I appreciated their help. As they say there is no "I" in the word Team. They truly are worth their weight in gold.
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Tasha Nelson is a registered nurse who works the night shift at a large midwest hospital. She is also a total wellness enthusiast who firmly believes in the importance of taking care of yourself. A healthy mind, body, and spirit makes for a happy person. Isn't that what we all want?