Choosing a career path can be a difficult process. It is especially challenging to have an idea of what you are interested in doing, but not have a clear picture of the day to day responsibilities and tasks involved. That’s why we sat down with Lisa Mencia, Program Coordinator for the Nursing Assistant program at Ross Medical Education Center in Midland, Michigan. As an expert in the field and an instructor for future nursing assistants, Lisa knows what it takes to be successful as well as what the career looks like. Read our interview with her below!
How long have you worked in the healthcare field?
I was a nurse’s aide in 1983 for one year prior to entering a local Nursing Program. I am currently an RN with a Bachelor’s in Science and have been practicing in clinical, educational, and administrative roles for for 30 years this year.
What factors helped you make your decision to pursue a career in healthcare?
When I decided to become a health care provider it was simply because I wanted to help people in need, and I found health sciences very interesting. I became a nurse’s aide prior to my application to a nursing program to gain experience and to help my to be sure of my interest and career choice.
What does a normal day as a nursing assistant look like?
Nursing assistants can work in a variety of settings. The most commonly known position is in a nursing home. There, the nurse aide is responsible for a group of residents each shift. Responsibilities may include safely, helping with hygiene, ambulation, transfers, bathing, toileting, vital signs, and all activities of their daily living. In addition and when appropriate, the NA is promoting independence in these areas, to encourage self-confidence and dignity. Throughout the day, the nursing assistant is closely monitoring health status changes and is responsible for reporting any changes to the registered nurse in charge.
What type of challenges does a nursing assistant experience on a daily basis?
Challenges for the NA on a daily basis are typically related to time management. Often, unexpected needs and demands arise. A nurse aide learns to be flexible and able to prioritize and re-prioritize the workload often throughout the day.
What skills do you think are most important for a person to possess who is going into the nursing assistant field?
A calm demeanor, an easy going personality, sincere compassion, and to be a good and effective communicator with a servant’s heart are all attributes of a great NA.
What advice would you give to somebody to start their career as a nursing assistant off on the right foot?
I would suggest that they spend a little time in a nursing home or assisted living facility to preview what the work includes.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting a career as a nursing assistant?
Healthcare is a great field! I have been able to manage my career around my family and other personal responsibilities because healthcare is “open” 24 hours! Healthcare is very diverse, and having a nursing assistant certification may open several doors of opportunities, including medication passing, supervisory roles, and qualifying for other health care programs.