As a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, you are going to work with many other healthcare professionals on a daily basis. In fact, to accomplish your duties effectively, you'll rely on your coworkers a lot more often than you probably think. As a CNA, being a team player is crucial. It means not only accepting help when you need it, but offering it whenever you can. Pick up some tips for being a team player while working as a CNA below.
8 Tips for Being a Team Player as a CNA
Keep these tips in mind to ensure that you work effectively with others in your role as a CNA:
- Lead by example - First, you can't expect others to stick to the rules or to toe the line without doing so yourself. Be an example of what a hard-working CNA is supposed to be to inspire others to do their very best. This includes maintaining a positive and helpful attitude whenever possible and resisting the urge to give in to frustration.
- Don't judge - In a stressful work environment like a hospital or assisted living center, it's easy to make assumptions about coworkers. Judging others is a bad idea in general, and it's especially problematic in the workplace. Avoid making snap judgments. Give people a chance. Remember that because of the environment that you're in, people may not give the best impression right off the bat. Keep an open mind, and do your best to give others the benefit of the doubt. Most importantly, focus on yourself instead of worrying about what others are doing.
- Be reliable - If you make promises to coworkers as a CNA, be sure that you can keep them. If you develop the reputation of being unreliable, people will steer clear of you and will be less likely to lend you a hand when you need it. Show up on time for your shifts, and take care of your responsibilities as required. Whenever possible, assist coworkers who need to trade shifts or who otherwise need favors. When people get the sense that you are a dependable person, you will all work more productively together as a team.
- Be flexible - When it comes to being a team player, stubbornness is your worst enemy. Sure, you have a certain way that you prefer to do things, but others do as well. As tempting as it may be to stomp your foot and refuse to do something even when you're in the right, it's generally best to go with the flow and be agreeable whenever possible. If people get the impression that you are inflexible and unwilling to accommodate them, they will avoid you. This is especially problematic for times when you desperately need a little help, so keep this in mind while on the job.
- Admit to mistakes - A crucial quality of any team player is being willing to own up to mistakes. All too often, employees in stressful environments, in particular, do whatever they can to pass the buck. Remember that everyone makes mistakes. If people get the idea that you think yourself infallible, they will grow to resent you. Even worse, by not taking responsibility, you may inadvertently cause problems for blameless coworkers. This is one of the most poisonous reputations that any CNA can get in the workplace, so own up to your mistakes willingly, and demonstrate that you are willing to learn from them. A little humility goes a long way in this line of work.
- Be open and honest - This point dovetails nicely with the previous one. If you ever feel the urge to hide what you're doing while on the job, stop and think again. Honesty is always the best policy in all areas of life, and that's especially true when working in a fast-paced, stressful environment like a healthcare facility or nursing home. Be clear with coworkers about what you are doing at all times. Avoid gossiping about others as well, as this will make them think that you are talking about everyone behind their backs.
- Be respectful - Regardless of where in the country you are located, you'll almost certainly be working with a team of people who come from many different backgrounds. Like you, your coworkers all have had unique experiences, and they bring their own unique qualities to the job. It is crucial to respect people's differences and not to let them get in the way of performing your job. If you find yourself in a dispute with a coworker, don't handle it yourself. Take it to your manager or to HR and let them sort it out.
- Give credit where credit is due - Finally, under absolutely no circumstances should you ever take credit for anyone else's work. Incredibly, this faux pas occurs all too often in the workplace. For some workers, it is just too tempting to take credit when their boss makes a positive comment. As tempted as you may be to bask in some glory, your reputation will take a huge hit. This will affect your ability to work constructively with others on the job. You should not only give credit when it's due, but you should go out of your way to compliment coworkers who do things that make a positive difference for the team as a whole. This spirit of camaraderie will come very much in handy, and it is sure to be repaid in kind.
As you can see, it doesn't take a whole lot to be a team player as a CNA. For the most part, it's about being a respectful, polite person. By working well with a team, you will hone many crucial skills that will serve you well throughout your career.