My name is Sharon Rand and I'm a certified nursing assistant.
I've been where I work for 14 years, and the comfort of knowing my co-workers and my residents is what keeps me coming back every day. My co-workers can see if you're having a bad day, sometimes by just looking at you even with a [PPE] mask on. Somebody can see your eyes and say, "Are you okay today?" And I’ll say, "Actually, I'm not." And you could pull them to the side and kind of get stuff of your chest. That's what I like about my co-workers.
When the pandemic first started, they made our unit the COVID unit. That was really challenging because there were a lot of things that you weren't used to. You had to make sure you were gowned up, put on two masks, and have a shield on.
There was a lot of stuff the residents weren't used to, like sitting in their room all day. They would want to come out and you had to talk to them and try to make them understand what was going on. If they couldn’t understand, we would get them talking about something else. We would talk about their family members or anything else to make them stay in the room.
I feel proud of my care for the residents that are still around. We lost so many. I'm proud of myself because I feel like the work I did is what has them here still.
I like being a CNA because I like caring for people. You also learn a lot. It's not just about caring for residents. You learn stuff from the nurses that you wouldn't be taught as a CNA. Sometimes the nurses can say something to you and you're like, "Really? How does that work?" "What do you mean when you say that?" So, it's a lot of schooling, but it's welcomed schooling. I've been doing this for 20 years, and I can learn something new every day.
[In the early days of the pandemic], my family was proud of me for being brave enough to do my job because so many of us decided not to do this anymore. And I can understand that. But my family were 100 percent behind me. Nobody was negative trying to say, "You're crazy if you do that and you stay there." They were concerned about my welfare. But they know me, and they know I'm going to take care of myself. So, they were very encouraging.