Language is Soooooo Important!
The team here at the The Eden Alternative constantly reminds me about the importance of language in creating a true person-directed care environment. An article in today’s issue of McKnight’s makes the point very nicely.
One of the most common suggested titles that is already being widely used: direct care worker. The word “worker” is insulting to the CNA profession.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of worker is “a person who does very hard or dull work.” I agree that CNAs work very hard, but the work is anything but dull — it is challenging, difficult and rewarding, all at the same time.
Now, I don’t have the dictionary memorized, but I do know that when I hear the word “worker,” it brings to mind assembly lines and factory jobs, neither of which resemble the service of a CNA. The synonyms for worker that Merriam-Webster lists include drone, drudge, grub, grunt, peon and serf, to name a few.
The word “worker” by definition belittles the challenging nature of a CNA’s job. At The Eden Alternative we use the term “care partner” to refer to CNAs. This is how we honor them for the important role they play in caring for our elders.
CNAs deserve to be honored for the challenging work they do. Let’s be sure to honor them as the care partners they are, not as “workers”.