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Nursing assistants bring compassion, care to their work

Nursing assistants bring compassion, care to their work
Drawn to the work through a sense of caring for others, nursing assistants and healthcare techs at Carle Health are individuals who often see people at their most vulnerable moments and work alongside nurses to put patients first through compassion and care.

Whether they are assisting with toileting, bathing patients, taking blood pressure, removing catheters or filling water pitchers, or offering words of encouragement, those who assist nurses complete essential tasks through thoughtful care and attention.

“I just love taking care of people. You are here for the patient,” Healthcare Tech Maggie Hartnett of Rantoul said.

Hartnett chose to work in the hospital’s advanced care unit after seeing a relative diagnosed with terminal brain cancer receive such compassionate care in the unit. She is planning to further her education to become a nurse and complete a bachelor’s program.

June 17 – 24 is National Nursing Assistants Week, which offers an opportunity to reflect on all nursing assistants do each day on the job to ensure patients receive quality care.

Leigh Kauwell, RN manager, says nursing assistants are key to nursing practice and patient care. “Not only do they assist medical staff with patient care activities, procedures and treatments, they also help provide patients with emotional and spiritual support, which is so important.”

“A nursing assistant needs to be ready to learn, be ready to see new things and learn to adapt to surroundings,” Carle BroMenn Nursing Assistant Cindy Cadena of Normal said.

Her older sister, Lilibeth Cadena, an Emergency Department nursing assistant at Carle BroMenn, influenced her to become a nursing assistant. She currently watches the cardiac monitors for all of the floors and handles other responsibilities such as taking vitals, checking blood sugar levels in patients and applying external catheters.

“It’s really rewarding. I know I made a difference in people’s lives,” she said. A Toluca resident, she is attending college to become a registered nurse and eventually hopes to be a pediatrician.

A nursing assistant for five years, Liz Mendoza-Perez said what drew her to the occupation is the considerate treatment her younger sister received from the nursing staff in the Intermediate Care Nursery at Carle BroMenn. As someone who works in the medical oncology area of the hospital, she sees patients and families often dealing with the end of life.

“I work to help patients feel comfortable and be there for them and their family members,” Mendoza-Perez said.

Carle Foundation Hospital nursing assistant Talitha Larck enjoys working with Inpatient Rehab patients as they have longer stays doing physical, occupational and speech therapies. “It’s really, really neat to see the progress they have made and to get to know their families,” Larck said.

There are also nursing assistants who float from one area of a hospital to another. Simeret Taye of Normal said she enjoys adapting to different areas at Carle BroMenn and working beside educated coworkers. “We work hand in hand with the nurses. It is emotionally rewarding,” she said. “I can go see a patient in the Intensive Care Unit and then again when they are in rehab before being released.”

One of the more experienced nursing assistants at Carle is Holly Parker, a certified nursing assistant for 29 years, with 20 of those years in the Critical Care Unit (CCU) at Carle Foundation Hospital.
With interest in nursing starting at age 12, Parker said, “ I love what I do for the benefit of caring for people and being a loved member of the CCU team.”

Categories: Culture of Quality

Tags: Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, nurses