Advice for brand spankin' new CNA?

  1. Hey all!

    I am finishing up my clinicals for a CNA course this week, and will have a job all lined up for me at the end if all goes well. I was pretty overwhelmed, especially because I kept trying to do everything by the book, while my preceptor was like, "...OK, so let's learn how to do this stuff in the real world." I know some of this will just take time to learn, but in the meantime, any tips? Just anything that I should always remember to do, stuff I don't need to stress about as much, and any adaptations you made that worked well for you.

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    About NightNerd, ASN, RN

    Joined: Aug '12; Posts: 674; Likes: 1,772


  3. by   Abigail612
    Each facility has there own tips and tricks so even if they are not nessisarily "by the book" don't rule the out you may find them better than the book and time savers. If the tips that your coworkers give you don't work for you and they don't harm the patient just smile politely and thank them you can do stuff your way once you are your own and you dont want to offend anyone you may be working with a lot in the future. Also try to keep doing as much as you can "by the book" like bagging linen and such, that way you won't be in such a panic when the state comes around ! Good luck with the new job!
  4. by   SlaveHeart
    When you start at a facility you will probably spend a week or two in orientation/training. I just got my first CNA job and will be training this weekend and next week. I started a thread about what to expect while in training.
  5. by   nguyency77
    Hi! I've been a CNA for 1 year.

    My advice to you:

    1) School and the real world are completely different.

    Sometimes, rules must be bent for the benefit of the patient/resident. For example, in the school setting you would ask a patient if they want to shower-- because it's all about patient freedom of choice, right? As you start working, suppose you realize this patient has refused to shower for 3 or 4 weeks. A better way to ask him/her would be to gently say, "When do you want to shower-- before dinner or after dinner?" That way they still have a choice in their care, but you're more likely to get them to shower than if you just asked if they wanted to shower.

    Time management is the first skill you need to learn; otherwise you will fall behind and feel terrible/overwhelmed about not finishing your work.

    2) Don't let coworkers' nonsense get to you. You're there to work; just realize that some adult women still like to hang out in cliques. Just like high school.

    If they talk smack about you, ignore it, go out there and prove them wrong. Don't just sit and be upset about it-- if you show them that you don't care what they say, that you're trying to improve your work every day...they have no power over you.

    That said, be open to constructive criticism. Not every coworker is out to get you, and you can learn from the experienced ones. The key is to decide what is a good habit to imitate-- maybe the other NA has a better transferring technique than you do? -- and what is a bad (read: DANGEROUS) habit (i.e. not wearing gloves, gossiping instead of working, swearing in front of residents, making up vital signs, etc.).

    I wish someone had told me all of these things before I got thrown into the big ugly world. Healthcare systems can be extremely dysfunctional; my supervisor recently decided to buy the staff a cappuccino maker instead of ordering us a much-needed vitals machine.

    Despite all this, I believe you'll have moments where residents will touch your heart and make themselves unforgettable--even after they pass. We can learn many things from the choices we make and the people we meet. Remember why you chose to do this in the first place. I wish you a very happy career!
  6. by   FlyingScot
    Do not ever let the phrase "That's not my patient" become part of your ideology. Treat every patient as you would wish your mom and dad be treated. When you are tempted to take shortcuts think to yourself how you would feel if someone did this to one of your parents. You're going to have to prove yourself to the staff. It's just the way it is. You do this by planting a smile on your face and doing your job happily and willingly. Just because a nurse doesn't look like she's busy doesn't mean she isn't. Some nurses are turds. Remember you are there to provide care to patients not make friends so ignore them. If you need help...ask for it. On the flip side if somebody looks like they need help...offer it (even if they aren't nice), If more than one nurse is asking you to do something. Let them know that you'd be happy to but they need to decide who has the more pressing need. It's a really hard job with little appreciation but it's an important one. It may not seem like it but you are making a big difference in your patient's lives...even the grumbly ones.
    Last edit by FlyingScot on Aug 23, '12
  7. by   CrazierThanYou
    Since I work with a host of new CNAs, I can offer some advice.

    First, don't go into this line of work thinking it's easy. It isn't.

    If you don't pull your weight and sit around the nurse's station, your coworkers will hate you and everyone will talk about what a crappy worker you are.

    You will most likely be wiping butts, like it or not. Know that. Embrace it. Don't think your co-workers will do all the butt wiping while you play with your phone.

    If someone asks you for help, do it. You might need help one day. And you will.

    Never say: "That isn't my job" when it comes to the needs of someone who is depending on you to provide care. Or any other time.

    When you are caring for another person, treat them the way you would want to be treated or the way you would want your loved ones to be treated.

    Old people are not "freaky", "scary", or "disgusting". Yes, they might do some strange, gross things, especially if they have dementia. They usually aren't doing it to make your job harder. Sometimes they can't help it. Sometimes they can.

    Don't talk to them like they are babies or idiots. Talk to them like they are human beings.

    If someone wants a hug, do it. Don't shove them away while rolling your eyes.

    If someone needs to be fed, DO NOT forget to offer them sips of liquid DURING the feeding. Don't shovel the food into their mouth faster than they can swallow.

    In everything you do, remember that they are people too. They used to be young. They had families. They had jobs. They went to school. They had friends. They had lives.
  8. by   NightNerd
    Wow, nguyency, your management has some fascinating priorities. That sounds like something that would happen where I work now. Thanks for the tips!
  9. by   NightNerd
    You're exactly right; I know I've got to go in there and establish myself as a good worker who is willing to help. I just hope I can keep up with everyone, because during clinicals I was soooooooo slow. Hopefully I'll pick up speed as I get better at this.
  10. by   NightNerd
    Awesome, CrazierThanYou! This is exactly what I was looking for.