Worth the Hassle: the Importance of Training



“I hate training!” says my coworker. “I really, really hate it. I mean, all it does is slow you down! I can’t get my work done while somebody’s following me around like a puppy. It’s just a hassle.”

“I get your point,” I say slowly…and I do. I really do. Training slows you down. You’ve got to stop and explain everything that has become muscle memory or second nature to you. You’ve got to watch people try to do things the wrong way, the way you’ve learned is no good. You have to hear all these “new ideas” that you’ve heard a thousand times before. You’ve got to watch the shock roll through the new person, as they stumble upon the grief, the horror and the frustrations that still eat away at you.

You’ve got to be patient.

And that is much easier said than done! It’s hard to be patient; it’s hard to let go of that frantic timer inside our heads. It’s hard to take the time to explain everything the right way. It’s just plain hard to find time, period. And it’s a bit discouraging: to take all the time out for the newbies, to be patient and then to have so many newbies just walk away…often without giving notice.

All that time and energy you invested in them: gone and all for nothing. Oh well. Try again and better luck next time.

Is it any wonder that so many aides just say: “Screw the next time! Why bother?” Yeah…I get her point. Training is quite a hassle, when you put it like that. And yet–and yet, even while I get her point, I can’t agree with her.

Attitudes like that are the reason so many new aides are left to flounder. It’s sink or swim in the nursing home; if you’re not perfect right off the bat it’s out the door with you! How many potential good aides do we bury under the  never-ending landslide? How many potential good aides walk away in a fit of frustration?

How many potential advocates do we silence in our own impatience?

Yeah, training takes time and energy…time and energy we often don’t actually have. True, not every newbie I train is going to stick with it; not every newbie I train is actually going to be worth the effort of training. But for the ones that are good, for the ones who stay, the ones who will become advocates and caregivers of quality…

Oh, yeah. You are definitely worth the hassle. Please come. Please bear with me as I try to snatch the time to dance on the ropes of long term care so you don’t fall.


2 thoughts on “Worth the Hassle: the Importance of Training

  1. donna

    The title says it all and the aides are fortunate that there is a CNA trainer-mentor who loves that role. Now if the unit supervisors would capitalize on this and reward good mentoring (instead of taking it for granted), imagine how much this could do for morale. PS I’d add just one thing to the list that May presented several posts ago, “Ten Things to Remember:” Don’t get in the habit of taking shortcuts. Aides all take shortcuts at times, and I include myself. On a busy morning we might not do mouth care. Someone’s shower is skipped this time; we’re all busy and the resident hates the shower anyway. He doesn’t need his hands washed this time, he just sits in his wheelchair all day. Inadequate staffing is what leads to shortcuts (not laziness, in case anyone is interested), but we end up with very deficient care if we go too far down this slippery slope.

    1. May Post author

      Thank you Donna! Your point about shortcuts is very good, I would definitely add that to my list!


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