Amanda Haines Talks About a Typical Day of a CNA

A 17-year veteran in the nursing industry offers details of her day as a certified nursing assistant at Waterville Residential Care Center

By Barbara Pierce

Amanda Haines is a certified nursing assistant (CAN) at Waterville Residential Care Center in Waterville. It’s a 92-bed skilled nursing cacility that offers both short- and long-term rehabilitation.

At WRCC, like all nursing homes and assisted living facilities, the foundation of the care that is given to residents rests in the hands of the CNAs. Under the supervision of registered nurses, CNAs provide the intimate, hands-on, day-to-day care to residents.

Q: As a CNA, what is your typical day like?
A: I work days, so I start by getting the residents up and ready for the day, I sponge bathe or shower them, help them get dressed and ready for breakfast. I serve breakfast, feeding those who need help. I make their beds, then get ready for lunch. I serve lunch, and help them if they need help. After lunch, I settle down those who want a nap.

As I work in the rehab unit, I help with the therapy that is given to residents, therapy that helps them get to where they can go back home. I may walk someone up and down the hall, maybe someone who’s had a broken hip. The next day we go a little further up and down the hall, then before long, they’re ready to go back home. Many of our residents do get better and are able to return to their own homes.

Q: How long have you been a CNA at WRCC?
A: I’ve been working here as a CNA for 17 years, since 2005; I’m 34 years old. I love working with the residents. I live near Waterville, so I don’t have a long drive to and from work.

Q: What training did you have to begin working as a CNA?
A: I was trained here at the facility and got my CNA certification through that training. I was paid while I trained. To begin training requires a high school diploma; they train you for one to two weeks, depending on how fast you learn, then you’re on a 90-day probation, under close supervision of a nurse.

Q: What personality characteristics does it take to do your job?
A: This isn’t a job for everyone. You have to have a whole lot of patience. You have to have feelings for people — you’re caring for someone else’s family member. Caring about people is the most important personality characteristic to have.

Q: Do you have any plans to become an registered nurse?
A: I’m thinking of getting my RN; it would take two or three years. I haven’t looked into how I would achieve it.

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: The best thing about this job is taking care of the residents — that’s what I love. It’s especially exciting to see someone who has had a broken hip or some other problem gets better and go back home. I am especially happy when someone I’ve been walking up and down the hall walks further every day, and is finally ready to return home. Many of our residents do go back home and I’m always happy for them.

Not long ago, I took off for a week of vacation. When I came back, the residents laughed as they told me: “You can’t take any more time off; we missed you too much!” I liked hearing that!

Q: What’s the most challenging about your job?
A: There’s really not anything that’s difficult. I love it!

For more information about Waterville Residential Care Center, call 315-841-4156 or see