First off, I apologize if this will be a long read for you.
I took my CNA course back in August and finished in October and passed my exam. I knew from clinicals that I wanted to apply at the ALR we were at and nowhere else. I got a friendly, laid-back vibe from the place that I didn't feel from the SNF that we did the other portion of clinicals at.
So when I applied and sent my resume to the ALR and was called for the interview the very next day, I was ecstatic! The interviewer told me she wanted me, so I waited it out while all the background checks and paperwork went through and started at the beginning of December 2012 on the morning shift.
My first few weeks there were a bit hectic. I had had previous experience volunteering with Alzheimer's patients, so they placed me in the dementia unit at times, but my main unit was in the unit with residents who were pretty much total care. It is very time-consuming and physical work. The facility had basically cut their orientation time in half, so I had a little less than 2 weeks to learn all the groups of residents, all the while bouncing back and forth from the dementia unit. On my first day alone, I did not feel prepared at all.
Despite that, I toughed it out and worked really hard, and though I was admittedly pretty slow at first, I feel like I got into my own little groove about a month into it. I forgot to mention I have never worked as a CNA or anything like it before. The residents all liked me, and even the ones who were cognitive and alert said they really enjoyed working with me and could see I am compassionate and care for them, and that I do a good job.
However, I have had THE most difficult time with my coworkers. One of my friends whom I took the CNA course with was hired on pretty quick (she had applied before we took our exam and they promised her employment if she passed, so she had worked there a month before I started) told me that some of the CNAs liked to bully her too. They are really snippy, and pick apart ANY mistake you make, no matter how small or large it may be. For example, if you forget to shave the whiskers off a resident, they will announce it in front of the entire dining room and embarrass you. One was particularly rude about it, another downright nasty, and another would literally run to management trying to get you written up (she did this to me once after she thought I had left a dirty brief in the trash, even though it was a NOC shift CNA who did it). One even had the nerve to stick her hand up to me and say "Shoosh, shoosh, shoosh" in my face when I was giving her an update on one of her residents that I had helped out of the goodness of my own heart while she was busy.
Despite all this, I tried my best to ignore these girls and do my very best.
About a month ago, I took my med training course (In my state/facility CNAs can pass meds if the facility will allow it and you take a proper training course). It was VERY hectic at first, and overwhelming, but from my understanding everyone who first starts meds has a very difficult time with it. Despite that, within a few days I had gotten used to the team of residents I had and passing their meds. I was given the most difficult team for meds at first so I could tackle the hardest group first. So I had my first few days of passing meds and doing my rounds, then my days off. No problem, right? Well, when I come back I work almost the entirety of my shift and then I am called down to the office to talk to HR and the lady who hired me.
They proceed to tell me that I literally have a LIST of complaints from other CNAs about basically how imcompetent I am, that I am slow and cannot accept criticism. I will admit that there is a group of CNAs, a very small one at that, who I had become so accustomed to being talked down to from and badgered that I had a hard time wanting to listen to them. Keep in mind these girls are not my supervisor and they are peeking into my rooms trying to find any sort of mistake I may have made to go tell, and I saw these things on the "list" so I knew it was these same three girls who reported me for my "imcompetency". One of the complaints, and we work in a "No-lift facility" was that I continued to lift a resident with the gait belt. I was only told this once, not many many times as the ladies told me in the meeting. The girl who had helped me toilet this resident wrote a statement about me! Another complaint was that I had spread the med bags out on the floor because I was too overwhelmed. This was my first day on meds, and the issue wasn't about cleanliness (the meds are in their own little small bags that we tear off, and inside another big bag. I had wanted to put this resident's bags in order to make it easier on the CNAs so I had spread them out), but that the reporting CNA thought I couldn't handle doing meds. This was on my FIRST DAY passing meds. Another CNA told them that I ask too many questions. Well, yeah I do. I don't like to treat the residents like they're on an assembly line and it's just one procedure after another to get them ready. I LIKE to ask questions so I know their personal preferences for getting ready. Everyone is different and if you treat all the residents the same they tend to get upset, so I like to ask questions. So the higher-ups took this as I didn't get my job. Another CNA even told them that I asked if I should put shoes on before pants. Why would I do that? I've been dressing myself since I was a child and it is common sense not to put shoes on before pants. Another complaint was an outright lie, that I was crying in a resident's room, which I will swear on all I hold dear never happened. There was also another statement that was a lie too, that I was told 3 times to properly make a bed when 1.) It was my hall partner who made that resident's bed, not me and 2.) I was only told once about it.
So basically, the people who run the home told me that I have been there 2 months, and I "should know the job by now". Then they told me that they are moving me to the evening shift so I can keep up with the pace better and that I can't handle the day shift. This is the first and only time they have had to talk to me. I could understand if it had been several times, but it was only once! And keep in mind all of these complaints are by the same 3 girls, who go to the CNA II (who they are all friends with outside of work, too) who also reports these things. I was so upset, and I cried in this meeting. It just didn't seem fair.
I don't get it. Of course I was a little slow at first but I have sped up, and all of my residents are to breakfast and lunch on time and toileted. I don't have time to stand around and gossip about coworkers and the nurses like this group of girls does, because I like to do a thorough and good job and get to know my residents, and help my fellow CNAs. I guess this makes me an outsider to their clique.
I am now scared every single day that I go in that I will be complained on and it will be one complaint too many and I will be fired. The other day, I was putting a resident onto the toilet with the lift and she got a small skin tear on her hand. I called the nurse right away, and she said it was fine but that I would have to fill out an incident report which I did. I am afraid that, along with all these other complaints by these same people, that that mistake will be my undoing. I will also say that I have no problems with the other CNAs or the nurses, and it's just this group of girls. I am told all the time that they talk about me and that it's "just how it is for all the new people". But that doesn't work for me. I don't think it's right to treat people this way. Some of the other CNAs also told me that they have noticed how these girls talk to me.
I have been gone for 4 days now. I caught a GI virus that was going around and was told to stay home to not spread it, followed by my 2 days off. So I don't know what awaits me when I go back tomorrow.
I am actually sort of happy to be moving to evenings now (it will be mid-next month), because the CNAs on that shift seem a bit nicer, but I wish it had been by my own wishes and the whole procedure had been a bit more fair.
But I am so scared to go in tomorrow. I think I may eventually be fired. These girls are still going and complaining on me even after my meeting. It is a union job and I am on probation for my first 6 months, so I don't know what that has to do with firing or if they can fire me before the end of the new employee 6 month orientation.
But I have lost all my enthusiasm for this job, and lost all faith in the people who run the home if they can't even take my side of a story before moving me to another shift. Am I ridiculous for thinking this? I could use some words of encouragement right about now.
Thanks for reading.