Often, I have heard it said that CNA’s “eat their young.” For some, it stems from burnout due to understaffing and high turnover. For others, it is that all of their patience is saved for the residents. Maybe, it is simply because it’s a tough field. Keep up, or move out of my way. I can understand the reasons, but I do not consider them excuses for poor behavior. There is a difference between being honest and being cruel.
There is a dark part of the human nature that thrives on kicking people when they’re down. I see it on the news, on Facebook, on videos of others’ misfortune that go viral and I recognize it for what it is; that ugly pimple on society’s face that is born out of collective fear and insecurity; that need to feel superior to another human being in order to feel ok about oneself. It’s a temporary, false sense of confidence and by its very nature, it is destructive. It also has no basis in reality and holds no truth.
This cliquish mentality that holds us back, prevents us from compromise and promises to keep us in a futile battle of the egos, has been prevalent in almost every environment in which I’ve worked, but nowhere have I seen it have such a divisive, disruptive and dangerous affect than in the world of long term care.
Third shifters are lazy. Second shifters all call out. First shift are all whiners. Medication Aids don’t listen. The office doesn’t care. The administrator is useless. The activity director is lame. Did you hear what she said?! Did you see what she did?!..Where, in all of our self-righteous finger pointing, is the solution? Where is their room for our residents? It’s toxic and contagious; a virus of negativity.
Make no mistake, I sometimes find myself thinking along those same lines. I GET the inclination. It stems from fear and frustration; a subconscious need to believe that, whatever the issue, it’s another person’s fault. It’s a way to avoid accountability. I feel awful when I allow myself to be dragged into the abyss because I know that with that awareness comes responsibility.
The truth is, NOBODY is right if EVERYBODY is wrong. The truth is, we are powerless over everyone but ourselves. Our choices. The truth is we are in the business of lifting people up rather than bringing them down. In order to do that, sometimes you have to defy gravity and rise above the chaos. If enough of us consistently try to help our fellow co-worker, whatever their department, rather than rip them to shreds, then maybe we can set an example and create a new, more cohesive, happier environment. Happier workers mean happier residents.