Lydia Koehler, certified nursing assistant at Episcopal Church Home in St. Paul, talks about her job.
Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
I work from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in a transitional unit with eight residents. In the morning, I check on them and get the reports from the overnight nurses to see who has early doctor's appointments so I can get them up and give them a shower. The rest of the residents wake up when they want and I set up breakfast for them, assisting those who are having trouble using their hands with eating. I also help them with toileting and other activities of daily living, take them to physical or occupational therapy and to activities. Before lunch, we have fun, just hanging out or reading books.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?
It's very important to support the healthcare system. I deal with fragile and elderly people who need love and respect and dignity, so my job puts me in the middle of the healthcare system. We make a significant difference in the healthcare system and people's lives.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
I interact with the residents, their families, therapists, nurses, homemakers, the kitchen staff and other staff.
Q: Why did you become a certified nursing assistant?
I have a preference to work in the health field. This job as a nursing assistant is one step to becoming a nurse or a dietician one day.
Q: What do you like about your work?
I like being a nursing assistant because I work closely with the residents. This job is a passion for me and you have to have it in your blood because you have to do it with your heart. You have to love it.