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Hospice nursing assistant brightens days for patients, families

051919-tacitha03

Tacitha Grant

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Tacitha Grant, also known as “KiKi,” says she knows she was meant to spend time being a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) with hospice patients.

Grant, a CNAII with Nash Health Care Hospice and Palliative Care, watched her grandmother die in 2011 and saw first-hand the care and help her grandmother’s hospice team offered her family.

“I still think of that time, when I’m working with patients now. I know how I would want my mother and grandmother to be treated and make sure I do for my patients what I would want for my own family,” Grant said.

Grant said she thinks her ability to connect with her patients and their families helps her do a good job.

“That’s just something about me that I think makes me a good CNA — I get to know the patient and their caregivers and I really want to make things go smooth for them, to make them more comfortable. It’s not just a job, it’s something I feel.”

Grant, 32, received her CNAI training from Pitt Community College and her CNAII certificate from Nash Community College. She’s been a CNA for about six years and has been working for Nash UNC Health Care for five years.

“I was in the rotation pool at the hospital — that’s when they move you around to wherever they need you,” Grant recalls. “About four years ago they asked me if I wanted to try working with hospice patients, and I haven’t looked back since.”

Grant said the biggest difference between being a CNA in the hospital versus hospice care is her increased involvement with the family of the patient.

“Your job is to take care of the patient, first. But in hospice there’s a lot of communication with the family, too, and I try to help them find ways to better take care of the patient, when I or a nurse can’t be there.”

Grant says many times, after her patients pass away, her friendship with a family will continue.

“I still have families that we still hug each other when we run into each other. It’s a bond, for sure,” Grand said.

CNAs are an important part of a treatment team for patients in a health care facility or a home setting. CNAs help patients with personal care, assessing vitals and help patients with eating and personal tasks, watch for behavior or medical changes and help set up medical equipment.

Grant is working on furthering her education and wants to become an RN. She’s taken most all of the pre-requisite classes at Wilson Community College. Grant said she’s a mother to three kids, ages 9-11 and that slows down her studies a little bit.

“But it’s all good,” she said smiling, “I love my job now and I’ll get there.”

Grant said being a CNA is a great field to be in and she’d recommend students to check out the CNA program while in high school.

“They offer the classes through community colleges for high school students and you can graduate from high school with a CNA certificate. You can work while you figure out if you want to get more CNA training or do something else,” Grant said.

Grant said her list of top skills she’d tell a young student they need to have to be a successful CNA would include:

■ Compassion: “You’ve got to be able to put yourself in their shoes and understand what they’re feeling.”

■ Good manners: “In many cases you’re going in people’s homes and you have to be professional and treat people how you’d want to be treated. Good manners means being kind.”

■ Patience: “Patients move slow. They’re sick or hurt. You can’t hurry them. Be understanding and go at their pace.”

■ A Positive Personality: “You might not be feeling cheerful, but when you go to take care of the patient, you’ve got to BE cheerful. They’re going through some rough stuff and you can’t go in there and bring them down. You have to be positive and leave them happier or more comfortable than when you first got there.”

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