May 25, 2016
“My name is Aixamar Ruiz. I am currently a nursing home worker in Anaheim, CA. I came to the U.S. from Venezuela in 1999. I came to this country to seek a better life. My dream since I was in Venezuela has always been to be a nurse. I feel a lot of satisfaction in being able to help another human being. It is very rewarding but not everyone has the heart for it. This is why I decided to pursue a CNA license. I went to school and worked hard to earn my certification.
When I started working at nursing home facility was when reality hit me: the pay is low and the workload is huge. It is extremely hard to take care of nine patients from 7am – 3pm; get them up, clean them, and do all we can to ensure good hygiene. At such a fast pace with so many patients, it becomes very difficult to do things how you would like.
Just recently I received my 3 month review and got excellent scores but they included a note about how I was taking too much time with the patients. But it should not be about time but about the quality of work.
When I come back from my break, I get three patients ready to go and before I know it I’ve taken care of six patients, yet I am told that it is not enough that I need to hurry up. But when I get to each patient I realize that they need help with other things – it is not just about changing their diaper or getting them out of bed and onto a wheel chair – sometimes they have their hair tangled or need help with deodorant, lotion on their feet, etc.. It is important that I help them with that as well.
I try to organize the way I do things and take care of the patients – I organize the pans while I lay out the shirts and practice every day to get better. But then I get home and see my paycheck and get disappointed. They tell me they appreciate my work and you know that without you they cannot run the nursing home but at the same time they do not want to recognize our value through our wages.
I am at this facility because I like the patients, they know me. I am there because I want to be there, I can easily try and look for a better paying job but I love this work. Instead I want to be part of the change, I want to be part of a movement. I am not just thinking about myself and the changes that need to happen to help me but to help all nursing home workers.
In a few weeks I have my daughter’s graduation and I was not granted the day off because there is no one available to work, so nobody can take my shift. People come and work at the facility and after a few months they realize that the way things are managed is just not right.”
Some of the most vulnerable in our society need long-term care, we need to ensure that our nursing homes are equipped with higher staffing ratios to provide quality of care because nursing home patients deserve it and because caregivers care and caregivers count! Please take a few minutes to show your support by signing on to this petition and sharing widely! #CaregiversCount
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