After CNA Training – How’s Your Bedside Manner?

cna trainingYour Career After CNA Training

CNA training students are generally so busy developing their clinical skills, they may fail to focus on one of the most important parts of a compassionate and valuable CNA, –bedside manner. As you’ve learned and should be able to recognize on your own, your level of care, concern and your emotional actions and reactions to your patients are just as important (if not more important) as filling out the correct information on their patient chart and making sure they remain free from bed sores. Your patients are people. People who have cares, concerns, anxieties, and inhibitions. Do you know how to help the 30 year old man who is waiting to hear whether his son has cancer or the new mom who was just informed that her child has Down’s Syndrome? Your patients often look to you as their source of strength, their sounding board, and the voice of reason in their situation. Your bedside manner is of utmost importance.

Your Career After CNA Training: What Exactly is Bedside Manner?

I have a little story for you that will help you understand what correct bedside manner does NOT look like. This may help you to see how you can improve.

Years ago, almost a decade now, my spouse was rushed to the emergency room with what we thought was a bad case of dehydration and the flu. As it turned out, he was diagnosed with spinal meningitis and given little to zero hope of recovery. I was frantic, of course, and don’t recall all the details, but I do recall the package of chocolate chip cookies fresh from the vending machine the doctor was eating as he told me and my family this devastating news. The package of cookies is burned into my mind. I’ll never forget the way I looked at him in amazement and astonishment as he nonchalantly picked out the cookies, popping them into his mouth as he told us that my husband would probably pass away between midnight and 2 am, because those are the weakest hours for the body. The thought of eating chocolate chip cookies still makes me ill to this day.

CNA Training and Bedside Manner

The story above is an extreme lack of bedside manner and I’d like to hope that things like this don’t normally occur. Like I said, I’d like to THINK so. Needless to say, interpersonal skills are essential both during CNA training and after. Your CNA training should have provided you with a basic outline for bedside manner, but here is a little refresher course in case you missed it.

  • Focus- Your job after CNA training may have you running in ten different directions at once, but when you are with a patient, do your best to give them your undivided attention. Don’t chart while they are talking to you, glance at your watch every five seconds, or answer your phone. Even if you can only give them five minutes of your times, make sure the entire five minutes is devoted to them.
  • Listen- Listening involves more than hearing what your patient is telling you after CNA training. It also involves reading between the lines and understanding exactly what they are saying. Their questions and statements should not always be taken at face value, and it is important you understand what they mean so you can report it to your nurse or provide them with the care they need within your scope of practice.
  • Body Language- When you are caring for patients after CNA training, your bedside manner can be greatly affected by your body language. Make sure you avoid defensive postures, like crossing your arms, that you always maintain eye contact to show your patient you are listening, and don’t fidget with the hem of your scrub top. Keep your body relaxed, nod, and stand close to them, but don’t invade their “bubble” or personal space.

Improving Your Bedside Manner After CNA Training

If you want your patients to open up and trust you, you need to work on your bedside manner. Use these tips to guarantee improvement after CNA training.

One Response to “After CNA Training – How’s Your Bedside Manner?”

  1. Marcus Tate Says:

    I hired a CNA for my mother when she turned 77. Up until then, she was mostly able to care for herself, but now has much difficulty getting around the house, getting dressed, cooking her meals, etc.

    I initially hired a non-licensed “home health care worker”, but became afraid that if something happened, this woman was not qualified to help my mother.

    Now she has a CNA, and I have to say, her “bedside manner” is professional and friendly!


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