IU13 Community Education offers a specialized class for students preparing for the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) entrance exam. Many of those students are employed as Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), and since the onset of Covid-19, they have seen their work intensify. This article offers a keen insight into the CNAs’ fears, exhaustion, and perseverance.
My name is Liz, and I am the Pre-LPN instructor for IU13 Community Education. At the onset of Covid-19, one of my immediate concerns was for my students (present and past). I reached out frequently through text to check on them. Initially, they were strong, but as time passed and things got worse, they started to show signs of fatigue. It broke my heart to hear their struggles. Below are some of their responses.
“I truly wish I could verbalize all that I have experienced from patients to friends and family with Covid-19, but it’s numbing. I can’t put it into words; it’s dreadful and truly saddening. It’s a learning experience, but not one I look forward to reliving.”
“I had only four days off this month. A few staff quit because of COVID. They and their family were scared, so they decided to quit.”
“Work is very stressful now. (In the nursing home) they have some (COVID) cases, which makes me so scared to go to work. I’m thinking if I'm going to catch this and take it home. I had a really bad fever one night and couldn't smell for like eight days. I just wish everything could go back to normal.”
“Watching patients get depressed and tired, not seeing their families. It’s hard to see them sad. At the end of life, that’s just not fair. I’ve been an aide for 26 years, and I’ve never had to experience something like this.”
It saddens me to see my students in such a devastating time, but I am confident in their training and their passion. Through this trying time, my students have humbly taught me that being a nurse requires more than proper training-- it requires a true dedication to the care of others. This selfless dedication is rooted in a desire to improve the lives of patients and to make the world better.
When I asked our CNAs what keeps them going--day after day, night after night--their unanimous response was, “People need my help. I need to work with my heart.”
Readers, join us today to recognize our medical personnel. To our current and former students, nurses, and essential workers know that your work is noticed, and we deeply value who you are and what you have done for our community.