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  • Importance of Respect in Patient Care
  • Sue Gibson

I have been a state-tested nurses aide (STNA) for 32 years. When I get up to go to work, I always start out with a positive attitude.

After I clock in for my shift, I go to my assigned floor to start my day. I gather up all my paperwork that is necessary and I'm off and running.

I feel the best way to make a resident feel comfortable in their surroundings is to have the resident help in making as many decisions in their day as possible. Decision-making helps a resident feel at home. As an STNA, I am there to help them if a resident needs any kind of assistance during the shift that I am working. One of the first priority questions of the day concerns their meals. The resident selects the lunch and dinner choice. If a resident is not sure what they would like to choose for their meals, I help them choose from what is available to them. I write their selection down for the dietary department and I always thank the resident and smile as I leave the area. Now that they know what their choices are for the day, they have something to look forward to. [End Page 139]

Another decision a resident has for the day is their choice of what they would like to wear for the day. He or she may have a favorite article of clothing they like to wear. They may like it because it may be their favorite color or something they really feel comfortable in. I again thank the resident on their decision-making and helping me make their day. I compliment the resident on how nice and neat they look.

Showering is the next big thing of the day. Some residents love to get in the shower, while on the other hand, some residents hate to hear the word shower, let alone get into it. Some residents need a lot of encouragement to take a shower. I give the resident a choice as to when they would like to shower. All the residents have a regular shower day. If the resident is scheduled for a shower and would like to take the shower before going to bed, I tell the nurse and the shower is rescheduled for the afternoon shift. The decision is made by the resident and the resident is more likely to follow through with their decision.

Activities are scheduled on a daily basis. When the activity is announced over our intercom system, I ask the residents if they would like to attend the activity and sometimes I take them to the floor the activity is being held on.

Every Thursday there is a scheduled outing for either breakfast or lunch. It is my job on these outings to go with the activity staff and tend to the residents' needs, if necessary. We go out to a public restaurant and the resident chooses what they would like to eat. If they need help, I am there to help them. I'll ask them, "What are you hungry for?" or, "What sounds good to you?" I read the menu for them and give the residents time to choose what they would like. I have residents who need the food cut up for them because they cannot see well. I tell them where what food is on their plate. I sit by the resident who may need assistance or help in eating and drinking. I feel this outing is important to every resident who goes. Whether it is going out to eat, on a ride, or even to the doctor, they need to feel they have the freedom to choose to do this.

It is not unusual to be physically or verbally abused by a resident on a daily basis. A resident might be angry over some little thing and the STNAs are the people they take their anger out on. I take into consideration that the residents are here for a reason, so I never take their words or actions as a personal attack on me.

Staying in bed an entire shift...


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pp. 139-141
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