Being a CNA has made me question my career-Help!!

  1. Hi everyone,

    I just started working at a hospital on the Med/Surg Neuro floor as a CNA about 2 months ago. I enjoyed it at first when there was not as much pressure and I could either shadow someone or work with someone. Now that I am becoming by myself, working as a CNA with doing a biology major at school has become TOO much for me. I come home unhappy most of the time from work, I am nervous/anxious each day before a shift, and I have never been so physically exhausted in my life. Overall, I just do not like being a CNA. I wanted to become an RN and focus on geriatrics, or become a PA and do the same. But after working as a CNA I am questioning both...I would just hate to put all this time, money, and effort into preparing for graduate school or nursing school only to find out that I shouldn't of ignored the warning signs of working as a CNA that this is not what I want to do. I am 100% self financing my way through college...which adds even more stress to pick the right career the first time! I am already in debt and need to find a good career I will love right out of college if possible.

    Any suggestions, opinions, or thoughts on what careers I should do if I am questioning RN or PA? I still love learning about health, how to treat a disease and how the body works. It's more of interacting with patients that I am unsure of.
    I have always been book smart and I am just wondering if there is possibly a career choice out there where you can still work with health, but not have the stress and over exhaustion a nurse or physician assistant might have.

    Or, should I suck it up and get these required patient hours for graduate school for PA or nursing school. Please help!

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    About bsb5090

    Joined: Sep '12; Posts: 1


  3. by   brandy1017
    Being a bedside nurse is stressful and exhausting, but it can be rewarding as well. While as a nurse you are using your nursing skills, you also are expected to be a "team" player and assist the CNA with patient care, turning, repositioning, getting a patient up. Also you are the one responsible for the patient and be expected to act as secretary, housekeeper, etc, whatever your patient needs that the other workers refuse to do! The hardest part is juggling many patients and prioritizing their needs and keeping everyone happy.

    If you are really good in school consider medical school. If you want to be a PA you could also become a nurse practioner, they have similar jobs, but the training is different. PA training is more like medical school, yet they do not have the freedom to practice independently that they NP's do. In many states, NP can prescribe meds, for instance. Keep in mind PA and NP will pay about 1/2 what a primary care doctor makes. There are not as maining PA schools in America and so it is more competitive. NP programs are a dime a dozen and are moving to the DNP which will take an extra year of training and tuition.

    Consider pharmacy where you can use your science skills. Most medical and pharmacy schools require calculus as well as chemistry, etc. I've heard you need a good foundation in algebra to succeed in calculus this from a math professor on a talk show.

    Another avenue is to be an ultrasound tech. You work with one patient at a time and use the ultrasound, for many different purposes, ie see unborn baby, check a person's heart, abdomen, etc. Pay is as good if not better than a bedside nurse, more likely to have regular hours and can work in a clinic as well as a hospital. This job would be less stressful.

    Hope this helps!
  4. by   loriangel14
    You state you are unsure of the interaction with patients.I agree with brandy1017,you need to look at avenues other than nursing. Interacting with patients is the core of being a nurse. If you don't like that you need to find something that doesn't involve patient care.
  5. by   missnurse01
    I was not a CNA first before nursing school and I still nearly walked out my first day of clinical. I could not be a CNA, I know myself. Having many pt's as CNA's do, and feeling like I could not provide the care that I wanted to within the time constraints I had would make me nuts.

    First thing I would say is shadow. Shadow PAs, NPs, in different specialties...same with nurses (in many different areas). There are lots of other areas within the hosp to work as well, although many many are more technical in aspect ( rad tech, us tech, radiation tech, etc etc) but if you are looking for diagnosing and making decisions then you really may think of either med school or a mid level provider. That may provide more autonomy for you and be what you are looking for. Go shadow!!!

    good luck with your decision!

  6. by   Compassion_x
    I think you should give it a little more time. It can take a bit to get the hang of patient interaction.
  7. by   NightNerd
    So, I ditto everything the four people ahead of me said. What I loved the most:

    -Brandy1017's suggestions of alternate careers to look at, just in case. To that, I would add physical/occupational therapy assisting (those are the ones I always consider when I feel like nursing will be too much for me). You'll still be in direct contact with patients, but it's more scheduled and allows you individual time to help patients work through their therapies. You would be supervised by a physical or occupational therapist, who would plan the interventions that you implement. (I just want someone around me to pick up one of those careers - I think they sound so great, but I'm resigning myself to the craziness of being an RN, lol.)

    -Loriangel14's point. Nursing and a lot of the careers posted above still involve a lot of being around people. See if you can shadow a medical technologist or someone else with a more behind-the-scenes role in healthcare. If you enjoy the bio classes but direct patient care is not your thing, that might be a great alternative.

    -Missnurse01 is absolutely right about shadowing. As you said, you don't want to waste time or money pursuing something you hate, so shadowing, interviewing, and observing wherever possible will give you a much better idea of what you want to do than just reading about a career on the internet. Use your connections, call different facilities in your area, and see what they can do for you. HIPAA will complicate this endeavor somewhat, but you should at least get the chance to interview someone in these positions before making a decision.

    -Compassion_x speaks the truth. Story time: I am a pretty shy person by nature, and not the best small talker. For a while I was sure that this would impede my ability to be a good nurse, or really interact with people in almost any setting. After enough group projects and presentations throughout college and pre-reqs, I've had to get wayyyyy over that. I'm still a 100% introvert, but I feel like now I can genuinely enjoy talking (and listening) to people since just practicing the skill enough. I figure that it's the same way with patient care: I will be starting a CNA position in a couple weeks where I work currently. Clinicals were kind of rough for me, but I paid attention and did my best, and I'm under no illusions about what the learning curve will be like for a while. But I'm giving myself the time and allowance to make some mistakes and feel uncomfortable, so it's not a verdict on whether I'll be a good nurse someday or not.

    BASICALLY: Only you can decide whether you've got some jitters about your new job, or if this entire role of nursing is in conflict with who you are. I wish you luck in clarifying which it is.
  8. by   IdianaCNA1993
    I myself had the same doubts you do especially when I had gotten terminated from my job. I didnt want to go back to being a CNA and I didnt want to be a nurse anylonger! Then I went to I want to be a nurse but I dont want to be a CNA ever again, I thought that with the 8months of CNA experience I would make a good nurse and I wwouldnt mind being there to do CNA duties on patients and to help the CNAs. I pictured myself doing other careers like lawyer, Dental assistant and or hygenist, or teacher. I always came back to nursing. Why? because deep down I knew that just because I got terminated from one job for screwing up doesnt mean that every place it as stressful or as bad as my first job. Plus I like takeing care of people and you meet a lot of different people out there. I like the challenge and the abuse. I have a job as a cashier, can you guess what I want to do now? I want to go back to being a CNA in a nursing home ir hospital. I miss it BAD! Im not tired, sore achy, emotionally drained, or satisfied with the meaningless work I have done at the end of my shift as a cashier my soul dont feel clean. I am also an only child so being in the nursing field didnt make me feel so alone. I felt great being a CNA. I enjoyed and appreciated my days off and the days I worked. when I first started I had the same things you did I was axious and nervouse before my shift about what I had to do and how good I was going to perform my job I later droped it and the only thing was that I wondered was What am I walking in to today? and I accepted what ever it was I walked into I prioritised and did what was most important first. you should do the same if you dont already. I put the people that had been waiting longer first and well if I didnt get somthing done because of having less help (I worked nights) I passed it on to dayshift. like if I didnt get the trash taken out or a couple of wieghts dayshift hated me for it. the nurses I worked with laughed and agreed with me when dayshift complained about me doing stuff like that. Get a routine down it will help you out alot. I was told that when I first started out. I was told that it may be hard right now but once you get a routine down it gets easier. and it did. just keep trying. try other places like nursing homes or HHS try a different shift. I myself know that I couldnt do days because Im not a morning person. I can do afternoons and nights. trust me just hang in there develope a routine, try different things, and like others have said think about a back up career. good luck and hang in there it gets better.
  9. by   loriangel14
    I think there are some health related vocations out there that you could look at, especially if you enjoy the science end of things.If patient interaction is not your thing that's OK.It's not for everyone.I have worked with nurses that should have not been in a position of dealing with people.
  10. by   LifeIsGood76
    I am very similar to you and like the "behind the scenes" kind of work. I am actually starting my pre-requisites to become a Clinical Lab Scientist. Maybe that is something you can look into. It seems like an amazing job that I hope I will love. Good luck!
  11. by   lyfhckr
    I was in a nursing program but something came up and i had to withdraw myself from the school. Now i'm trying to go back to nursing school but since i'm working as a CNA for almost 2 years now makes me think if nursing is really for me, i used to like patient interaction but most times it's not a good day for everyone, nurses who used to love what they do became grumpy, and yes, as a CNA, it's back breaking LOL now i'm looking at the Clinical Lab Science program and it's interesting, i go to our lab to get blood and drop off specimens so i kinna look around and my friend also works in a lab and she likes it. But i'm still debating since i already made an investment to nursing...