"I enjoy meeting people and talking to people."
Vickie has a knack for helping patients feel comfortable — even in situations where they may feel vulnerable.
As a certified nursing assistant (CNA), she provides bedside care to patients on UPMC Western Maryland's medical-surgical floor. She has many different responsibilities, from taking vital signs and moving patients to bathing them. In those situations, Vickie will talk about anything — television, sports, an item the patient has in their room, or their personal history.
"You just want to start the conversation to make them feel a little more comfortable during their bath," Vickie says.
Because CNAs spend so much time with patients, building relationships with them is important. That's the part of the job Vickie enjoys most. She's been a CNA for over 20 years now.
"I enjoy meeting people," she says.
"I love talking to the patients a lot. If you have time to talk to them, you try to stay there and give them attention as much as you can."
Vickie says she has always enjoyed taking care of people. When she was younger, she helped to take care of her grandmother. That inspired her to eventually become a CNA.
Many of the older patients she cares for now remind her of her grandmother.
"It feels like you're making a difference when you're taking care of them," she says. "Sometimes, you like to go in and just make them feel better by talking to them and making them feel like they're family when you talk to them."
Vickie has nine grandchildren of her own now — "they always think I can fix everything," she says.
Because she's been a CNA for over 20 years, Vickie has helped train many employees over the years. She says her co-workers have become a second family to her and that everybody backs each other up in hard times.
Whoever she interacts with, she has the ability to build a strong relationship with — whether it's her co-workers or her patients. It's one reason why she still enjoys her job so much and goes above and beyond in her duties.
“I wouldn't know what to do without being here, really," she says.
At UPMC, Life Changing Medicine means creating lasting relationships.
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