Member Stories: Kathleen Ball, CNA, BridgePoint HospitalJuly 23, 2021
Meet Kathleen Ball, who has been an 1199SEIU member and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at BridgePoint Hospital in Southeast DC since June 2005. Her residents and fellow union members have long recognized what an exceptional CNA and coworker she is, and her facility awarded her Employee of the Year this year.
Kathleen said that to be a CNA for as long as she has, “you have to have a caring heart and care about the patients. You also have to work with people who are helpful and who will help you out and be friendly.” Kathleen explained, “you get real connections with the residents. Seeing a familiar face is important. They’ll say, ‘Ok, I’ll take my medicine, that’s Kathleen.’ Or they say, ‘I want to speak to Kathleen.’ And you just encourage them and make them feel better.”
She used to be just on one floor, but now she has to float sometimes to different floors because the hospital has not hired enough staff. She shared how she tries to make everyone comfortable and be an active part of their care, even if she’s floating. “I went in to one room and the lady said, ‘Who are you? You’re not DeeDee.’ I said, “Ms. DeeDee is off today, but how does she change you?’ And I did it that way, and she said ‘Oh, thank you.’”
Kathleen shared that providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic has been “tough because we lost a lot patients, and a lot of nurses got sick. We even had one nurse that passed away.” Because of what she’s seen – “nurses going down, passing out, fainting” – she decided to take the vaccine. She’s glad she took it, even though she had a fever for a couple days after her second shot, “because if you catch COVID, you won’t get that sick. It’s not over, and visitors are coming in and you don’t know if they have COVID or not.”
Kathleen shared some advice to CNAs, because she knows that the job can be really hard, with “all the personalities you got to deal with.” She said, “Don’t take it personal, don’t take it to your heart, and don’t take it home with you. Breathe. Count to 10. Take your breaks, and meditate a little bit.” She said the best way to do the job was to “Just be yourself.”