For CNAs Everywhere: Walking a Path of Purpose

All of us at In the Know are honored to have Corey Anne Rotella, CNA, lend her very special voice to our blog as a regular contributor. Corey has worked on the frontlines of long term care since 2008. As she states, “Sometimes, you pick a career and sometimes a career picks you. In my case, the latter is true.”  (You can read more about Corey below.)

Here, Corey shares her thoughts about CNA Week:

Another National Nurse’s Assistant week is upon us.  Every year, I am deeply moved that others in the medical field take a moment from their own hectic schedules to show us their appreciation, often in creative and thoughtful ways.

There are times when our job can feel thankless and, sometimes, we might forget that we play a vital role in the health and quality of life of those for whom we care.  I know, for me, any lovely words of encouragement and tokens of appreciation from the nurses, administrators, and doctors mean a great deal.

Recently, as CNA Week approached, I found myself thinking of how much I appreciate my fellow CNAs–my partners, my teammates on the frontline.  It occurred to me that every year, as we celebrate together and feel appreciated by others, we don’t necessarily stop to say thank you to each other.  I would like to take the opportunity to do so now.

Thank you, my fellow CNAs.  Thank you for showing up to take care of your patients, even when you feel under the weather. Thank you for staying late when necessary. Thank you for helping out even when it’s not your patient or resident, for being a team player.  Thank you for helping me find that invisible dog for my patient with Alzheimer’s disease, for risking your back with heavy lifting and for bravely cleaning up any number of bodily fluids. Thank you for being my grief counselor, and allowing me to be yours, and for sharing laughter and tears and frustrations.  Thank you for being my teachers and for shining the light of humor during the toughest shifts.

Most of all, thank you for caring and reminding me, by your example, of the value of what we do.  We are the eyes, ears, hands, legs and voices for those who cannot fend for themselves.  I know this truth in my heart of hearts because you have taught me. I take great pride in walking this path of purpose with all of you and you are deeply appreciated.  Always know that you make a difference in this world. I thank you for that!

Until next time,


Here’s more about Corey Anne Rotella, in her own words:

“At first, I worked in the housekeeping department at an assisted living facility until I could afford to take the state test. Then I moved up to CNA. I also have my Medication Aid certification, but my heart is on the floor, where I can interact, observe and care for my residents.  My priority is taking time with my residents so that they know they are valued as human beings.  At the end of the day, don’t we all need to know that?

What I love most about my job as a CNA is that every single lesson I learn at work can be applied in all areas of my life.  A lifelong chronicler, I began to fuse my two passions and write about my work experiences, my perceptions and the issues that we all face in the healthcare system–patients and workers alike.

What impresses me most about the nurses behind In The Know is that they shine a light on the problems that exist in the healthcare field and offer practical, well thought out solutions that are effective and embrace individual accountability.  I am both extremely grateful and incredibly excited to contribute to their mission in any way that I can.”

How Will You Thank Your CNAs?

CNA Week begins on Thursday, June 12th.  Are you ready to give some extra acknowledgement and appreciation to your hardworking nurse aides?

If you need some ideas, please see this blog post on our sister site, Embracing Civility. You can also send your CNAs to this link so that they can win a free copy of In the Know’s bestselling book:

Another idea for CNA Week is to keep a computer (that is accessible to your nurse aides) open to Just for Nursing Assistants so that your staff can take a minute here and there to read all the comments from grateful nurses, celebrities and the general public.

Have a wonderful week celebrating your top-notch nursing assistants!


Get Ready to Honor Your Nurse Aides!

National CNA Week will be here before we know it!  This year, it spans from June 12th to June 19th.  In the past, we’ve heard from nurse aides around the country that their organizations don’t acknowledge CNA Week. If this is true for your workplace, how about starting this year?  Just pick a few free and/or low cost ways to honor all your hardworking frontline caregivers.

If you are short on ideas, here are a few to get you started:

  • Split a list of the CNAs between all the nurses and have them send each aide a thank you card…to their home address.  (If it’s against policy to give out home addresses, collect the completed cards and have your HR department send them all out.)
  • Give each nurse a bag of those chocolate gold coins and ask him/her to pass them out during CNA Week to acknowledge a job well done.
  • You can do the same thing with rolls of Life Savers.  Management and/or staff nurses can pass out a roll as a “Live Saver Award” to nurse aides who pitch in whenever they are needed.
  • Prior to CNA Week, ask your nurse aides to bring in baby pictures of themselves.  Post the photos and have the rest of the staff try to guess who is who.  This is a simple and FREE way to make your aides the topic of (positive) conversation!
  • Consider making your employee lounge more inviting.  To honor your nursing assistants, add something special to the lounge, such as a smoothie maker, a bean bag chair or a Velcro dart board.

Stay tuned for more ideas in the next few weeks.  And please feel free to add your own CNA Week ideas in the comments below.


An Easy Way to Thank Your Nurse Aides!

tycard-300x214Did you know that, for many nursing assistants, their number one complaint about work is that they don’t feel appreciated? There’s an easy fix for that. On our sister blog, Embracing Civility, we’re offering a simple template for some cute “thank you” cards that you can download. Try printing them on thick paper or card stock. Then, on the back, jot down some words of appreciation for each of your nursing assistants. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Praise a CNA for his or her outstanding patient care.
  • Give kudos to an aide who embodies the spirit of teamwork.
  • Let a nursing assistant know that you recognize improvement, especially if it’s an issue for which you had to counsel the person.
  • Acknowledge loyalty for those CNAs who are longtime employees.

Once you’ve readied your cards, think of creative ways to give them out, such as:

  • Hide the thank you card between pages of inservice handouts.
  • Slip it in with the person’s paycheck.
  • Put the card on the employee’s clipboard when his or her back is turned.
  • Tape a card to a piece of equipment that you know that person will be using soon.

Of course, you can also simply hand it to the employee! The important thing is to show your appreciation. By taking the time to show your gratitude, you’ll help to combat one of the main “gripes” of all nursing paraprofessionals–regardless of their work setting.

While you’re visiting Embracing Civility, feel free to poke around the site. You’ll find interesting blog posts and more free downloads that may prove useful at your workplace.

Honoring VA Nursing Staff!

veteran web

As we celebrate Memorial Day, 2011, all of us at In the Know send our deep gratitude to every past and current member of our Armed Forces.  In addition, we would like to honor the 77,000 nursing personnel who work with Veterans in the VA health care system—including the more than 11,000 certified nursing assistants! Thank you for all you do to promote the health of Veterans across the United States.

Here are a few things you may not know about the VA health care system:  (Thanks to the VA’s website,, for these facts.)

  • The VA was a leader in the development of home care.  During the early 1930s, a special category of VA “follow‑up” nurses visited Veteran patients at their homes in rural, isolated areas.
  • Until 1976, nursing assistants outnumbered RNs.  Today, there is approximately 1 CNA for every 4 RNs.
  • In the early 1990s, some 2,300 VA nurses were in the ready reserve of the armed forces at the time of the Persian Gulf crisis.  More than 600 were called to active duty and another 300 were put on alert status. Approximately 3,200 VA nurses are Veterans themselves.
  • In 2005-06, VA nursing staff responded heroically to hurricanes Katrina and Rita by assisting with evacuation and continuing care of hundreds of VA hospital patients.
  • The VA is working hard to address the nursing shortage by instituting several scholarship and tuition reimbursement programs that support nurses in continuing their education. Examples of such programs include: Education Debt Reduction Program (EDRP); National Nursing Education Initiative (NNEI); Employee Incentive Support Program; and Tuition Support Program.
  • Every year, nearly 30,000 student nurses gain clinical experience in a VA setting.
  • Three years ago, the 4000th VA nurse graduated with the help of the Employee Incentive Scholarship Program.  The awards from this program cover tuition and related expenses such as registration, fees and books.

To do our small part to honor the hardworking VA nursing staff, we are offering any VA health care facility three free inservices. Each facility may choose their three topics from among our vast library of CNA inservices.

There is no gimmick associated with this offer, no strings attached and no deadline. If you work at a VA facility, simply email us at or call us at 877-809-5515.  If needed, we will assist you in selecting the best topics for your facility.  Your order will be filled promptly—and include our sincere gratitude for the work you do every day.

Happy Memorial Day!