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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.

 

Olympia Fulson

 

What inspired you to become a CNA?

It all started my freshman year of high school. My sister worked as a nurse caring for people with disabilities and I watched how she lit up when she went to work and how the patients also lit up. So I went to school – I’ve had my CNA license for almost 15 years.  I used to ask, “God, what is my calling?” It hit me that this is my calling. I’m drawn to elderly people and people with disabilities – it makes my heart smile to help them.

 

What do you love about your job?

I love being able to come in and give the best quality care – being a light in my patient’s darkest moments. I’m here to help care for them but I’m here as a companion too. Some people don’t have a lot of family. I’m here to be that extra help.

 

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

I just always ask God to guide me and let me be their strength today and to listen, and be patient. I think that’s why a lot of my patients love me. When I read Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, the one thing that stuck out was that no one listened to the patients. When I go in, I will ask my patients what they need. I won’t go in saying, “I’m going to do this and this and this.” This way I can give them exactly what they need.

 

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

I had a patient whose kids wouldn’t come around. She was really struggling with that. She was always crying. One day I said, “You might not be able to see your daughter, but you gained one: me.”  We would sit and talk. I’d always call the showers her spa. I’d come in and say, “It’s time for your spa day!” and she would just light up.

A lot of patients struggle with forgiveness. And many families are busy – working and trying to provide care for mom and dad and maybe also a child. It’s rough trying to do it all yourself. We can see they’re exhausted trying to do what we’re trained to do. We lighten the load a lot.

I develop a special relationship with all my patients. I didn’t sign up for this for a paycheck – I do this because I feel like it’s what I’m called to do. If you can’t give love and comfort and care, you’re in the wrong job. I love my patients. I advocate for them and each day I try to do my best for them – putting a smile on their face, or wiping their tears, or just giving them a hug.