Melissa Shenk


April 2005



Strengths of Communication


            As a certified nursing assistant, there are many moments during my job that communication skills are needed. Whether it is listening to a resident or talking to family after one of the residentís death, each of them consists of communication skills. Listening and speaking clearly are the two main parts of communication used in my job.  There are specific examples that can be given of how listening and speaking skills are used at my job, as well as how someone can lack communication skills in every day life.

            There are many residents in nursing homes that are unable to speak clearly or may not be able to speak at all. In order to help them with their every day needs, I must have excellent listening skills. One particular resident, Mrs. Viola Randolph, has had polio for several years. It has made her unable to walk or speak clearly. She has also had several strokes. The first time I met her, I asked her what I needed to do in order to help her get dressed. She was unable to explain to me what she needed because it was too hard for her to speak. After sitting with her for over an hour, using my patience and listening skills, I was able to understand her and what she needed. She had to repeat herself over and over for me to comprehend what she needed. It took time but after carefully listening to each word, I was able to bathe and dress her successfully. If I did not have good listening skills, helping Mrs. Randolph would have been extremely difficult for me.

            In nursing homes, every week residents die from different causes. It is my job to prepare the bodies of the deceased for the family when they come to see their loved one. I have to clean their body and dress them to make them look presentable for their family members. When a family member passes away, it is one of the most painful experiences someone can possibly go through. After they see them dead, they become extremely emotional. Using my communication skills, I talk with the family members to comfort them in their mourning. My first experience was with Mrs. Barbara Holland. She died in her sleep on July 6, 2004 at age 94. It was hard for her family to see her dead without showing any emotion. She was extremely close with her two sons. I communicated with her sons to attempt to help ease their pain from the loss of their beloved mother. I was with her when she passed away; therefore, I told them how peacefully she died in her sleep. I always try to make the family realize that their family member is no longer suffering. Talking to the family seems to help them cope with the situation of losing someone they love. In order to make a situation like Mrs. Hollandís better, you would need good communication skills.

            Other then at work, my communication skills are needed in my every day life. I lack communication skills with a large group of people. For an example, when I am in class, especially a large group of people, I do not like to participate in group activities or discussions. I do not feel comfortable talking in front of a lot of people. I try to only speak when my instructor calls on me to answer a question. I try to avoid answering questions a lot because I do not want to say the wrong answer. In order to improve my lack of communication skills, I need to try to be more active in class. I need to try to speak more during discussions and answer more questions even if I am not sure about my answer. Speaking more in a small group could help before speaking in a large group. If I have an opinion on a topic we are discussing in class, I need to speak my mind. If I

follow through with these instructions; I should be able to overcome my lack of communication skills with a large group of people.

            In conclusion, good communication skills are a strong quality to have in order to work as a certified nursing assistant, as well as in every day life. Whether it is listening to a resident in order to fulfill their needs, or talking to a residentís family after they pass away, each consists of strong communication skills that are used for my job. Although I lack speaking skills when I am with a large group of people, I plan to overcome my weakness by being more open in my classes. Good communication skills are going to be needed for any job, especially when you work with a lot of different types of people. Therefore, in order to be successful with communication, I will need to have great listening and speaking skills.