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Celebrating our CNAs: Jack Harrison

Our certified nurse assistants undergo rigorous training and a state exam to get their license. Not only do they provide hands-on personal care, they offer warmth, reassurance and support. In celebration of National Nursing Assistants Week, we are highlighting some of our wonderful CNAs.


Jack Harrison


What inspired you to become a CNA?

I’ve been with Hospice Austin for 15 years. My brother was killed in a gang shooting when he was young, so that and going to church motivated me to help people.


What do you love about your job?

Everything. You learn something every day, just sitting and talking to people. A lot of my patients are men who have been in the military and don’t feel they need assistance but they do. Some of them say, “I’m gonna die before I let someone assist me!” If I have a stubborn patient, we sit down and talk and get to know each other. Many times we have a lot in common and don’t realize it. I explain that we’re not going to do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. I treat all my patients as the people they are, not as patients.


Is there a particular way that you make connections with your patients or families?

You go in with a big smile, introduce yourself and ask questions. You’d be surprised how quickly people open up. You might notice a medal and say, “Hey, you were in the army, my dad was in such and such,” and boom, there you go!


Is there a moment or a story where you felt like you made a real difference in a patient’s or family’s life?

Sometimes people tell me, “I wish I had you for a son,” or “I wish you could be here with me until I go.” I love my patients and I tell them so – they cry and hug me. Especially the ones who really don’t have anyone else – just Hospice Austin. Sometimes I spend 30 minutes just sitting and talking with them before I give a shower. I have been with a couple of patients while they died – it’s sad but it’s a blessing to see that person go comfortably.


Being with Hospice Austin has made me a better person. I’m grateful to be here with this hospice family.

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