Section 3 – Work Prioritization and Time Management

When working as a nursing assistant, one of the top skills the professional needs to harness is time management and work prioritization. There will always be different tasks required of the individual, so the ability to prioritize is essential. Throughout the workday, a nursing assistant will face varying tasks, activities and unexpected conflicts on top of continual interruptions from patients and the healthcare team alike.

A nursing assistant should plan out their day as best they can. There needs to be some slack as many of these tasks will shift around. Writing everything out, taking notes and taking vitals in between different charting periods can help improve time productivity. For many nursing assistants, the busiest time of the day happens around meal times for patients, as most patients are receiving services at the same time. Due to this, planning for this time frame needs to take place.

If there is one thing a nursing assistant can expect to occur during a shift is the unexpected. Interruptions come in all shapes and forms. There is just no way to predict it. From a call light going off right when the nursing assistant is preparing meal time for one resident to someone requiring bathroom assistance right when the nurse had planned on taking his or her break. It’s just part of the job and nursing assistants need to be able to prioritize their tasks.

It is easy for someone to begin putting off their tasks when some of these activities should, in reality, be taken care of immediately. This kind of procrastination can lead to less than desirable results, especially as these tasks begin to pile up. Every single day as a nursing assistant is going to be busy. It often is written right into the job description. That is why it is so important to focus on time management and prioritization skills. These developed skills will help a day go significantly smoother.

The Ethical and Unethical Behaviors in Workplace Standards

No matter the working environment, there will always be a set level of professionalism and necessary standards an employee needs to meet. The same is true with a nursing assistant, which covers not only professional conduct, but also clothing and, in some cases, how someone acts outside of work as well. When a nursing assistant works as a caregiver in someone’s home, this comes with important privileges, but it also needs to be met with a high level of professionalism.

Ethics are extremely important in the medical field and a nursing assistant must be cognitive of the way he or she acts. Violating the rights of a patient, including their privacy, the right to make their own healthcare decisions, the right to speak their personal opinions and other human rights is subject to a nurse being disciplined. If it is found a nursing assistant has displayed neglectful or abusive behavior, has been caught stealing, damaging a resident’s personal property or conducted any other unethical behavior, the nursing assistant will also be disciplined if not fired for the behavior.

On top of the behaviors a nursing assistant carries out at work, they also have a specific responsibility to remain professional outside of the workplace as well. There are certain states that have set guidelines and regulations regarding how employees within the healthcare industry can act on social media. This includes posting photographs on social platforms that might suggest the abuse of a patient or paint a poor standards illustration of the organization they work for could lead to further disciplinary action. If a nursing assistant has an issue with what is taking place on the job, or if they believe something unethical is occurring, they need to report the issue to the next person in the chain of command.

If a nursing assistant is arrested for crimes including driving while under the influence, they may be subject to further disciplinary action. Further details regarding specific crimes and misdemeanors are covered specifically with the healthcare organization’s own code of conduct.

As a member of the healthcare industry, a nursing assistant is held with a certain place of honor in society. Due to this, it is essential the individual’s conduct demonstrate this compassion both inside and outside the workplace.

Nurse Aide Registry

Every state has a registry nursing assistants must register on. This way, employers are able to verify an individual is eligible for employment as the nursing assistant. The registry will include information about specific training, their criminal background, competency and if they have been found to be abusive, neglectful or they have had other disciplinary actions taken against them. In certain states, healthcare providers are not able to hire a nursing assistant if they have been convicted of specific crimes.

Certification Maintenance Procedures

It is necessary for a nursing assistant to maintain certifications and competencies, as according to the state of residence and the employer. Generally, every year or two the nursing assistant must renew their certification (exact requirements vary from state to state). This will require a fee and proof of the continuing education credits. It is generally possible to obtain this information through an online application or within the facility of employment. Additionally, competencies like CPR must be renewed every two years.

Legal Ramifications of Neglect, Abuse or Misappropriation of Property

There are and will be legal consequences if a nursing assistant is found to neglect, abuse or steal from a resident. The loss of employment, stripping of certifications and possibly legal penalties in accordance with the local criminal justice system may all occur to a nursing assistant due to these unethical behaviors with a patient or resident.

The Responsibilities of an Employer

Before bringing on a new nursing assistant, the employer will vet the potential nursing assistant’s eligibility. This includes checking with the state registry of public health workers, performing a criminal background check, looking up the nursing assistant’s criminal history (and making sure it wouldn’t prevent employment). If the individual does have a criminal history, the employer will look to see if a waiver is in place to allow work. Employers will also look to contact references from previous places of employment.

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