Some nursing homes are robustly staffed. The workers receive good pay and do their jobs well, and the residents are as happy and healthy as they can be. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for many, perhaps most, nursing homes. For staffers such as nurses' aides, the reality is that their employers ask them to do too much, and sometimes, the requests are illegal.
Of course, just because a request or order is illegal does not mean the people making it know of its illegality. They may not have had proper training, but that does not change the fact it is illegal. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.
Doing tasks they are inadequately trained for
One way in which nursing homes ask too much of their workers is by telling them to do things they have not received training for. For example, an aide may be summoned to help lift a resident from a bed or wheelchair without having had prior training in doing so. The result could be a serious back injury for the aide. Proper training helps minimize the chances of both sudden and gradual injuries, although nursing home work is hard. Even with proper lifting, employees may still need workers' compensation at some point.
Wearing too many hats
When a nursing home is understaffed, nurses' aides must juggle a huge number of tasks. They must help transport residents, give them medications, bathe them, feed them, clean them and much more. This can lead to burnout.
Not enough time
There is always a resident who needs help, and what happens if an aide's shift ends? The aide may feel pressured to stay, knowing if he or she leaves, the resident may not receive care until the next day or longer. There can be a lot of unpaid overtime. A similar principle can apply to feeling pressure to skip work breaks and lunch breaks.
Plus, workers who are sick and call in may be basically ordered to come in anyway. That can lead to other staffers and residents getting sick.