CNA, more than a job
It does not matter whether Shayla Smith is sick or on vacation – the letters still come.
“I have one client who will write me a letter every single day until I come back to work. He’ll say ‘I really do miss you, hope you come back soon’,”said Smith, a CNA for ACCA’s Adult Day Health program.
For Smith, her role is more than a job, and her clients are more than just people she medically cares for. She has created a safe space for her clients and built a home away from home for each of them. Her care is evident through her client’s love for her. Each of her “babies” as she lovingly refers to them are positively impacted by Smith’s care and intentionality as a CNA.
“I grew up taking care of my grandma, and because of this, I always knew I wanted to spend my life helping people. I had the opportunity to earn my CNA certification through my high school and this made me interested in nursing,” Smith said.
After graduation, Smith’s dream was to become an RN and operate a home for seniors who did not have their own families to take care of them. Though her life went in a different direction after she got married and had children of her own, Smith’s desire to help seniors remained. As a CNA she was able to fulfill her life’s calling in a slightly different way.
“I still get to live my dream, just a little differently. I love ACCA, and I love the clients. The atmosphere is awesome, and it is a great place to bring your loved ones if you need help,” she said.
Smith genuinely cares for each of her twenty-three clients and consistently works hard to build authentic connections with them. They bring her great joy each day and help her to remember the why behind her and ACCA’s heart for older adults.
“I really care for and love my clients as my own. I’ll stay with ACCA until they tell me to go home,” said Smith.
She recently celebrated six years at ACCA and adores her job today as much as she did when she first started. When asked why she enjoyed working at ACCA, her response was simple and powerful.
“The people, the clients,” Smith said. “It is a joy to make their day because I am the first person they see in the morning. I get to be a familiar face for them, and it just makes my day to be able to see them every day.”
Smith still hopes to one day become an RN, but for now loves having the ability to help others and love her clients well through her current role.
To learn more about Smith’s role and how to support ACCA, please visit https://www.accaging.org/services/health-wellness/adult-day-health/