A Few Silly Questions

  1. 0
    Ok, I'm currently pursuing a BSN.
    I have no interest in postponing to get a LVN, so I thought getting my CNA would be a great opportunity to support myself, perfect my pt multi-tasking skills while gaining some experience without a break in schooling.

    - How much flexible do you have in the nursing homes? I don't know that I'd get any sayso -- but I like to work nights.
    - Individuals describe backbreaking work. Is it that difficult? I was an xray/ct tech in the military...if you're familiar with Radiology, is it similar? Just trying to gauge the level of activity. On a related note, when individuals say that they have 7 pts in a night does this mean that you're single-handedly responsible for caring for those pts that night...? Are these pts walk-ins?
    - What else do you do besides bathing, changing bedpans, keeping company and wiping up booties? *laugh* Do you have other duties to accomplish besides patient care? Do you file charts or anything like that?
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

  4. 4
    - How much flexible do you have in the nursing homes? I don't know that I'd get any sayso -- but I like to work nights.

    If you can find an acute care setting it would be easier or even a LTACH, they tend to have 12hr shifts so you can work more in less days. When I was a CNA I liked to work Through the weekend, maintained fulltime hours while going to school full time. The hardest shifts to typically fill are 3rd shift weekends.

    - Individuals describe backbreaking work. Is it that difficult?

    You will be tired. CNAs do +90% of the physical labor in healthcare. Its not that you stand most of the day, its not that you are literally walking 10-30 miles per shift (depending of facilty setup), its not that you are placing a ton of weight and strain upon your feet and back by transfering and moving pts, its everything.

    I was an xray/ct tech in the military...if you're familiar with Radiology, is it similar?

    No

    Just trying to gauge the level of activity. On a related note, when individuals say that they have 7 pts in a night does this mean that you're single-handedly responsible for caring for those pts that night...? Are these pts walk-ins?

    Depends upon facilty but basically yes. You are assigned a group of patients that you have to get vital signs on, answer call lights, do rounds on, change briefs etc. It is very common for CNAs to work in 2 man teams, assisting each other on more difficult/heavier patients. Walk ins? Not sure what you mean by that but again it depends on the type of facilty you are working in. Sub acute, SNF, Acute care, LTACH, assisted living etc.

    - What else do you do besides bathing, changing bedpans, keeping company and wiping up booties? *laugh* Do you have other duties to accomplish besides patient care? Do you file charts or anything like that?

    Again depends upon facility. Plan on doing vital signs as a major component of your work day. Charting ADLs, feeding patients, walking patients, answering call lights, monitoring/sitting with confused patients, exercising patients, emptying Foleys and JP drains etc, keeping track of I&Os.

    CNAs are a HUGE part of the Nursing team, again they do much of the physical point of care duties leaving the RNs and LPNs to focus upon assessments, medications, charting, wound care etc.
    trixie333, Gabby_101, MedChica, and 1 other like this.
  5. 2
    1. Health care is so flexible, especially nursing homes. If you apply for a PRN or per diem position, you may even get to choose which days you work. Let me tell you, it comes in handy with school.

    2. Each individual task isn't necessarily hard, but in the end it all adds up. I, like many (OK, most) CNAs, struggle with lower back pain. Many CNAs, especially after the get-up and put-to-bed rushes, are covered in sweat and look like they just ran a marathon halfway around the world. It's all worth it in the end though.

    3. Yes, you will be single-handedly responsible for XX number of residents/patients. 7 is a very idealistic number. If you work nights, like you say, it will more likely be 20+. The patients you have will not be walk-ins, unless you work at an ER or physician office. You may, however, get new admissions during your shift.

    4. 99.9% of the time, you will not have any spare time apart from doing basic activities of daily living (ADLs) with your residents/patients and then documenting what you have done. When our night shift CNAs have downtime, they sometimes prepare basic paperwork for the next month, but this isn't a daily occurrence. You may get to do some more advanced tasks like phlebotomy, EKGs, etc., if you work in a hospital. You may get to do a bit of clerical work if you are one of the fortunate few to find a position in a physician office.
    trixie333 and MedChica like this.
  6. 3
    By the way-

    I sound like someone's grandmother, but...

    There is no such thing as a silly question except for one that is not asked.

    nursingstudent221, MedChica, and casi like this.
  7. 0
    So, in other words: "Get some comfortable shoes..."
    *laugh*
    Well, the good thing is, at least I won't have to kill myself on the treadmill 3-5 days a week. There's a plus.

    - PRN...? Hmm. I'll look into that.
    - Good suggestion about the weekend 12 hour shifts at the different types of facilities. I was wondering how I'd juggle school with nursing clinicals. Best solution I'd had until now was to work nights.
    - @BUGOUT...with 'walk-in', I meant pts being admitted at night. Just drawing on past hospital experiences and trying to find similarities. Now that I think about it, that scenario probably doesn't make much sense for a nursing home.
    Anyway -- this was all very, very helpful. Thanks guys. I'm not very good with peds but I've always liked the elderly so I think this will be a fun and rewarding experience.

    UPDATE:
    In light of the tough job market (in some areas), I think I will eventually try to work my way into the hospital as a CNA...somehow. After a year or two of work, maybe the hospital would give me strong consideration when I become an RN...
    Last edit by MedChica on May 23, '10
  8. 0
    Don't discount LTC, Rehab, and LTACHs. Many of them will pay more than acute care.


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