She looks shocked.
I really don’t know why: all I said was “You inspire me.”
“Oh, no,” she replies, laughing a little, but it’s a nervous little laugh. “You’ve been a CNA for years, I’ve only been one for a few months–”
“So? You handled that situation better than I did,” I say. It stings coming out–but it is the truth. I didn’t handle that situation very well. I lost my cool and she didn’t. Sometimes I think I’m told too often that I’m a great aide; it’s true I’m good at my job but there’s always room for improvement. Today, I was shown in area in which I need to improve by this new CNA. It’s a bitter pill to swallow–but I believe in giving credit where it is due.
“I’ve never been told that before,” she tells me. “Mostly I’m just told ‘Don’t tell me how to do my job’ or ‘Listen here I’ve been doing this for far longer than you’.”
“Well, I have been doing this longer than you,” I reply with a laugh. “That doesn’t mean I know everything and I’ve got nothing to learn. Today I learned how to keep my cool. Tomorrow maybe I teach someone how to make a resident laugh. We’re a caregiving team: we either make each other better or we make each other worse.”
God knows I’ve got my flaws, but I hope the day never comes when I was “too good” to learn something. I never want to be of those aides you can’t say anything to.