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When an aide loses her dedication

January 27, 2014
by Kathleen Mears
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Emily (pseudonym) worked for several years at my previous facility. When she first started, she was on afternoon shift and was very upbeat. She kept me and the other aides in stitches telling about her daughter's antics. It was a pleasure to have Emily care for me. She liked to talk about the books she read and we chatted about movies we liked. I felt we made a connection.

Over time Emily changed. Sometimes she worked two jobs. She seemed stressed and tired and she was aloof and would not talk. I thought she was experiencing problems but she would not verbalize.

Emily became increasingly gruff. Most days she acted tired of the grind and was frequently short with residents.

Whenever Emily did my care, she showed silent contempt. And the other residents did not fare any better. It seemed to me she felt like all of us were too much trouble.

Emily wanted to move to day shift. She worked some weekend days to get used to the flow. I was concerned because there is a lot going on during the day. Residents have to be ready for medical appointments inside and outside the facility, activities outings, plus there are two meals to handle.

One morning with Emily remains vivid in my memory. She came in late and acted disgruntled when she began my morning care. She seemed to be struggling to remember my routine. Even though I reminded her kindly, she chastised me. She acted like she wanted to start an argument. But I sat quietly, trying to ignore the tension, and not make a bad situation worse.

A few weeks later Emily was called to the Director of Nursing's DON office. The DON told her there had been complaints about her behavior toward residents and staff and suggested that Emily consider getting a different job since she seemed to be so unhappy.

Emily stayed for a while and tried to change her behavior. But eventually she took the DON's advice and left to take a different job. The last I heard Emily was doing much better.



Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...