MY STORY: Working at a nursing facility during the covid-19 pandemic

Working as CNA can be difficult, but it is especially a challenge when the number of coronavirus cases are surging.


Pamela Serrano

Guadalupe Arreguin in her uniform.

By Guadalupe Arreguin

Many people don’t believe that being a certified nurse assistant (CNA) is a physically-demanding job, but it is. Being a CNA is emotionally and mentally draining above all. It has become especially difficult with the emergence of the covid-19 pandemic.

At this time the facility doesn’t have any coronavirus patients, but we are taking all the precautions needed. 

Two weeks ago we were notified that the facility had to put three of our patients in isolation due to the fact that one of the doctors who had come in to see them came in contact with an individual who had tested positive for the virus.

We took numerous precautions including allowing only one CNA and one licensed vocational nurse (LVN) to assist these patients. The other CNAs were not allowed to go into those rooms to prevent cross-contamination.

We were also instructed to test residents for coronavirus.

Two weeks later we found out that all the results came back negative. We were all very happy and relieved. 

The number one preventative action our staff has been taking is washing our hands. We are also wearing masks, gowns, gloves and goggles and keeping hand sanitizer close by for residents.

We also have residents with Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease who are especially troubled in these times. 

It is very hard for them to understand why they have to stay in their rooms. Some feel anxious and are very agitated. 

We have workers who do activities with them such as going to the garden — while maintaining social distancing — to help them feel the impact of the virus as little as possible and provide some form of consistency to their day. 

What I find very sad is the fact that some family members have to visit their relatives through a closed window.

We recently had two of our residents passed away and some of their family members were unable to say goodbye since they were out of the country and unable to travel due to the virus.

In addition to the worries raised by our patients, we as workers are really worried for our families as well. 

There was a lot going on my mind when I found out that we all were a potential target for the virus. 

The fear that goes through my head is that if I have the virus, I don’t want to bring it home.