Tending to the needs of others is a skill not all of us possess. Thankfully, those who have those skills often find themselves in roles where they provide care to people—patients, clients, residents, and participants—who need their expertise.

We can be cynical or dismissive of these powerful abilities and as a result, diminish these professionals by devaluing their contributions as not worthy of more than a passing wave of gratitude on occasions like Nursing Week or during a global pandemic.

Let’s be clear, caring is not a simple act. When you think about the work that Continuing Care Assistants (CCAs) and License Practical Nurses (LPNs) do, caring is extremely complex. It’s a valuable role that requires skill, education, and professionalism.

People in these roles must be ready for everything and anything.

A CCA working in home care may arrive at a client’s home and that client is having a bad day. So, the care requirements must be modified to accommodate the client because they still need the services that CCA provides.

In a long-term care facility, a CCA working short must clarify what duties can’t be accomplished during this shift and make a judgement call based on their professional skill set. They work hard to provide residents and clients a better quality of life and apply their knowledge and skill to inform the assessments needed to improve and manage care. In addition to the technical skills, it is the compassion and responsibility that they take on for residents and clients that set CCAs and LPNs apart.

Licensed Practical Nurses work across every modality and sector of the healthcare system. They have specialized and technical skills that require licensing and require continuing education. Across the province, LPNs are taking on leadership roles and are stepping forward to be part of operating teams, nursing teams, administering medications and care, and setting an outstanding example for the quality of care the whole nursing team can provide.

These are just a few of the examples of the complexities faced by our nursing team members of SEIU-West every day. The skill to know when something’s wrong with a person they’re caring for solely by noticing a subtle change in their demeanor is honed over the course of a career. That kind of skill, professionalism, and ability should be respected, celebrated, and compensated fairly for the immeasurable value it brings to our healthcare system.

SEIU-West Nursing Care Committee

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