CNA / PCT Tips for Nurses: How to Treat Nursing Assistants

Nursing assistants play a critical role in the healthcare industry. In the nursing profession, we often refer to nursing assistants as our “eyes and ears.”

When I’m referring to CNAs or nursing assistants in this video, I’m referring to all types of nursing assistants, including nurses aides, orderlies, nursing assistants, certified nursing assistants (CNA), patient care technicians (PCT), and so forth.

Nursing assistants may have different certifications, different scopes of practice, and/or be called different names in different states or territories. These individuals have a physically demanding job, and they are often underappreciated by healthcare staff.

As a nurse, it’s important that you have a great working relationship with your nursing assistants (CNA, PCT, etc.).

Here are some tips to help you do that:

1. Be humble. Just because nurses have the authority to delegate tasks to the nursing assistant, it doesn’t mean we’re personally superior to them. Treat your nursing assistant with respect, just as you would another nurse or doctor.

2 Make them feel like they are a part of the team. Nursing assistants can gather important information as they care for patients. By having open communication with your CNA or PCT, you can gain critical insights that can help you provide better patient care.

3. Be a servant leader. If you see a nursing assistant struggling with patients, step up and give them a hand (if you can). It’s easy for them to get overworked and overwhelmed. By helping them out, they’ll be much more likely to return the favor, and the patient will receive great care.

4. Thank them. The nursing assistants sometimes get overlooked by patients and other members of the healthcare team. If you see a CNA or PCT that is working hard and going above and beyond, take time to recognize that by telling the nursing manager, giving them a recognition card, or talking to other nurses about buying a gift card (or lunch).

Nursing assistants provide a critical service to patients, and as a nurse, I’ve always been thankful to have nursing assistants by my side. By taking the time to treat them with respect, communicating with them, leading them, and thanking them, we can foster a great working relationship that will benefit everyone.

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