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I Love My CNA Job, But I Don’t Want to Work For Free

Like most professional caregivers I Love my Job, however I don’t want to work for free.  How many times have you’ve been on your lunch break and be called back into work?  Most employers don’t allow Certified Nursing Assistants to edit their time cards to reflect this interruption and many fear the consequences they think will be handed down by management. I have personally witnessed CNAs clocking out and then going back to “finish up”. While this is a common occurrence, it is NOT an acceptable solution.

CNAs seem to be able to manage stress best when faced with challenging situations and, at the same time, show true compassion for the people for whom they are caring. Most are conditioned to take on a huge burden. We always want to do everything possible for our residents/patients to make the end result good for everyone. The residents and patients are the primary reason for the willingness to carry such a heavy and increasing responsibility load. When are employers tell us that it is unacceptable to regularly clock out late, we immediately put that burden on ourselves.

As Certified Nursing Assistants, we need to become aware of the fact that we are not always to be blamed and the answer isn’t always to increase our own burden for the benefit of other (budgets). If CNAs on your floor commonly clock out and continue to work through lunch, then we need to learn to deflect this burden back to management. A system change needs to happen that doesn’t involve shorting us what we work hard for.

No matter how much I love my job and care for my patients – I will not work for free. Neither should you. Asking for compensation when you are required to work isn’t unfair, it’s not our fault, and we should not fear retaliation. We should be thanked for giving up that break time to continue working.

The bottom line is that all healthcare workers deserve to be paid when they are working.  Whether they are working through lunch, or having to stay late to chart after a busy day, they should be paid. The first step to resolving these issues is to talk about them with your employer. Fair pay equals happy CNAs, happy Certified Nursing Assistants equal better patient care, and that should always be our end goal.

Certified Nursing Assistant are very compassionate individuals that have a high degree of interested in helping people. The fact is that being a CNA is not an easy job however, it does have its rewards. You are a professional member of the healthcare team who provides vital care–and should be paid for the work you do, never forget this.