Can I get some advice from seasoned CNA's?

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    I'm going to be 18 next month, so I am young, admittedly. There is a LTC facility here where I can take a 3 week CNA course. The problem is, LTC facilities scare me to death. I feel so, so bad for those people who can't take care of themselves, who don't even know their own family when they see them, I worry I wouldn't be able to handle it. Does anyone have any advice for me on how to handle it?

    Looking long term, I would really like to work in a hospital as a ER tech or Psych tech (Here where I live, the hospital only requires you to be a CNA to be a PCT) or as a CNA on a Med/surg floor. I have done internships at the hospital shadowing nurses and CNAs and I really like the hospital setting.

    I know that one major thing that I would need to do is toughen up if I'm going to be training and possibly working at a LTC facility. And hospitals as well require you to suck it up. But I'm just wondering what the best way for me to do this is? Because I really want to be in the healthcare field, I want to be around people and help them, it's just the elderly I fear I can't handle.

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  2. 3 Comments...

  3. 2
    Well, I can only tell you my take on it.

    Yes, some of the residents in LTC (and hospitals) can't do much for themselves. That's where we come in. A good CNA can mean the difference between a miserable time and a reasonably happy one in LTC. Just because they don't recognise their family members doesn't mean they are not aware, on some level, of what is happening in their reality.

    I find working with the elderly very rewarding, most of the time.
    Last edit by JDZ344 on May 14, '14
    Sally Lou and Hygiene Queen like this.
  4. 2
    Yes, to a degree you will need to have "suck-it-up" mindset.
    You have to have a lot of self-control and backbone.

    I became an aide at 18 and I remember the first time I had to "keep it together". I was in a hot steamy stuffy shower room when a resident decided that would be the perfect time to defecate (Oh! Do you know how often that happens? Answer: A lot!). Anyway, it was very unpleasant, but I had a very vivid thought (so much so, that I remember it today). I thought, "Welp, this is what I signed up for. I won't show it bothers me."
    That's exactly what I did and continue to do.

    Unpleasant experiences are part of nursing, so there's no crying over it. You just carry on and get it done (and you want to get it done without embarrassing or making your residents/patients uncomfortable-- it's about them, not us).
    Somebody has to do this job and if not us, then who?
    Even on days where something sad or frustrating is going on, we chose to do it and we just remind ourselves to keep it together. It's a lot of mental self-encouragement.

    The nursing home is often where new CNAs get their feet wet so those hospital jobs are easier to get, but I cannot stress that even if you are in it just for the experience, you have to give your 100% because those elderly folks need you.
    I cannot think of any other jobs that hoists so much responsibility on a teenager-- and bless all of them who do it and do it well.

    I'm not sure where you are, but I can only guess by your username.
    In that case, I have noticed most psych hospitals around here utilize PCTs in their geriatric units (though they may work on other non-geriatric units on occasion).
    I am a Geri-Psych nurse who worked my unit as a PCT for several years before I became an RN.
    On my unit, in my hospital (which I can only speak for) we want PCTs who have experience working with geriatrics, especially dementias. This typically means that we want nursing home experience.
    If you worry how you will react in a nursing home, I must tell you that you have to really really get your emotions and reactions down pat because it is a HUGE aspect of psych. Not everyone can do it (but if you can, it is a very cool job for a CNA-- I loved it!).

    How you learn to "suck it up" (I hate that term, but it's true) is totally up to you, but a positive attitude, realistic outlook and giving the best care you can will go a long way to help.
    Cheers and good luck!
    Last edit by Hygiene Queen on Feb 6, '13 : Reason: spelling
    Sally Lou and JDZ344 like this.
  5. 1
    Got to agree with Hygiene Queen. They tend to hire people in the hospitals who have nursing home experience.
    Last edit by JDZ344 on May 14, '14
    Hygiene Queen likes this.


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