Dear Readers

Dear Readers,
This blog started with the idea that the voice and experience of caregivers has been a vital missing ingredient to the improvement of Long Term Care. A conversation about reform that doesn’t include our voice is like bread being baked without yeast.
When Bob found me on a CNA support site I had been searching for answers. For quite awhile, I had felt lost. I was appalled at how those in our care were being treated by the system as a whole. I was beyond frustrated that nothing my fellow co-workers and I said seemed to matter to those in charge. I was saddened by the fact that this was accepted as a matter of course and I was unwilling to believe that nothing could be done about any of it. By providence, fate, or incredibly good timing, I was ready to jump in when Bob explained his idea for this blog and asked me to be a part of it.
Over the last few years you have walked with us as we expressed the frustration, beauty, humor, love and loss that comes as part of the package in this field. Many of you have shared your experiences with us in the comments or emails. I had no idea how far reaching this blog would be or how much I personally would be affected by writing for it. I did not realize at the time that by simply writing a post a week not only would I be an active part of the solution and have the ability to reach others, but I would be opening a door to allow all of you to reach me.
You…yes YOU, reading this, give me hope. You aren’t sleep walking through life telling yourself that one person can’t make a difference so why bother trying. Instead you are reading a blog that’s very existence proves otherwise. It is an incredibly inspiring and deeply moving experience to be a part of CNA edge. In the process I have learned that I am not alone, that we can and are making a difference and that we all have a responsibility to keep speaking our truths, even when we feel it falls on deaf ears.
If you are reading this, you have impacted my life. You inspire me. Writing these pieces force me to look beneath the surface to the deeper essential realities in this field, to dig deep, be honest about my emotions and fears and face them head on. I can never give up because of you. You force me to be brave because how can I ask you to be willing to take a stand and consistently work for change on every level of this field if I am not doing so myself? How can I expect you to believe that you can make a difference if I don’t believe it myself? What experience is more rewarding than to inspire and be inspired? So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
With love,

5 thoughts on “Dear Readers

  1. minstrel

    Thank you, Alice, for another beautiful, moving and important post. CNA Edge was definitely an important discovery for me. “Nobody understands what we’re up against. Nobody cares. So long as we’re not causing reportable incidents, they don’t mind that our residents don’t get the care they need and deserve. And they definitely don’t want to hear what it’s like to try to live on $10 to $13/hour.” These were my toxic thoughts, pre-CNA Edge. Then I found this website. Thanks to this labor of love of Yang, Alice and May, I was no longer alone in my world. Can we CNAs change long-term care? “Yes, we can!” I felt hopeful.

    CNA Edge is a place where we readers, too, are welcome to express our own take on CNA life. I’ve been very grateful for the opportunity to be a guest contributor from time to time. But then my ‘inspiration’ well dried up. Or to use a more apt metaphor, I began to feel I was spinning my wheels but going nowhere. What is needed? How to change the long-term care status quo, to improve the quality of the lives of those living and also those working in long-term care homes? There are so many organizations out there, each seems to have a worthy mission for improving long-term care and some even recognize the need to improve the employment conditions of direct-care workers.. Yet, here we are. At ground level, how much has really changed in the last 5 or 10 years? Long-term care homes are still grossly understaffed; caregivers are still grossly underpaid; and residents are still not getting the attention they deserve.

    Social scientists (and Ralph Nader) tell us that change depends on motivating a ‘critical mass’ of one percent of the relevant population to come together around an issue. According to the Bureau of Labor Standards, in early 2016 there were 1.5 million CNAs in the US. Why can’t we galvanize ourselves to unite and change the status quo? Rather, HOW can we galvanize ourselves to unite and change the status quo?


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