Hospital or LTC? Other options?

  1. 0
    hi e'erbody!

    cnas rule!!

    i'm a cna.

    anyway, i have only been a cna since nov 05 and i don't have much experience. i was wondering if some of you wonderful people could tell me about the differences between working in a hospital and ltc.

    i have been working in an assisted living facility and it is pretty basic. i love my residents and my co-workers, but decided that this place is being run very poorly and i didn't want to be a part of it. sunday was my last day.

    i decided that i really don't want to work in a skilled nursing facility type nursing home because of how my cna clinicals affected me. i don't think i have the emotional strength to deal with the utter sadness and despair that i saw in the nursing home.

    point-->> should i try to get a job in one of the local hospitals? how is it different from ltc? i'm sure each department is dramatically different. i was offered positions in er and l/d at a small suburban hospital and was just kinda wondering what cnas do there. i think that the official title was unit secretary/na i, is that just a clerical position?

    i'm just confused and want to decide something before school starts in the fall.

    thank you!!

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  2. 27 Comments...

  3. 0
    I don't know how it is in all hospitals but I know in the one I work at the techs (nursing students who are considered CNAs just get paid more) in the ER get to do all kinds of things...start IVs, draw blood, foleys, take out IVs, apply splints and the docs with all kinds of procedures. I found it a wonderful learning experience. I also do not like LTC. I much prefer the hospital setting. Even if you do not get to actually perform the procedures you get to watch them be done which in itself will help you when you are done with school. Actually I have mastered more skills working than I have in school. More opportunities seem to arise at work for me than in clinicals with 7 other students. The secretarial part will also help you out I think. You learn to recognize different drugs and what they are usually used for, you recognize labs and values and different diagnosis and it will help you with the medical terminology. Good luck in whichever you choose.
  4. 0
    Hello! I have been a CNA off and on for about 4 years. I started out in LTC and worked in two different facilities for about a year. I really did not like it very much, it was depressing, and I felt like I wasn't learning anything, also blew my back out. So I worked about 2 and half years in two different hospitals. They were the big hospitals in my area. I LOVED working in the hospitals! It definatly made me want to become a nurse. I never worked ED but have worked in med surge, oncology, telemetry, surgery admissions, PACU, ambulatory care, rehab (which I hated reminded me of LTC), ICU, CVICU, CCU, and pre admissions (surgery patients). Later my facility trained me as a unit secretary, I hated it b/c I had NO patient contact all I did was push paper, answer phones, and use the computer.

    There are MANY opportunities for CNA's in the hospitals. You learn sooooooo much and as stated before you get to watch sooooo many cool procedures! In the beginning I felt so dumb b/c the other CNA's I worked with had worked hospitals for a long time and they knew so much more than me. LTC in no way prepare's you to work in the hospital environment. But it got better as I learned about procedures, meds, ect. Some units have different "scopes of practice" for CNA's at one of the hospitals in the ICU (not the ICU I worked in) the CNA's were primarily secretaries. Usually your main duties are patient care (like in LTC) with some cooler stuff mixed in. In most ED's CNA's do not do nearly as much as nurse techs. In my area ED's don't hire CNA's they hire EMT's or paramedics.

    Hospital work is (IMO) a lot easier than LTC work, you have smaller loads, and they pay better too.

    My advice, if you have the opportunity to work in a hospital DO IT!!!! You will really enjoy it! I hope my ramblings helped you out. Good luck!
  5. 0
    I have never worked in LTC but I held a tech position at a large teaching hospital (liver/kidney transplant and general M/S) and I learned soooooo much. I was able to do a lot of skills along with tons of blood draws - very helpful because while my clinical experiences were great, I didn't get much opportunity to perform skills like I did working as a tech. I would say go for a hospital position if that's ultimately where you want to be a RN.
  6. 0
    Quote from supermo

    point-->> should i try to get a job in one of the local hospitals? how is it different from ltc? i'm sure each department is dramatically different. i was offered positions in er and l/d at a small suburban hospital and was just kinda wondering what cnas do there. i think that the official title was unit secretary/na i, is that just a clerical position?

    thank you!!
    hi supermo,

    i've seen a position like that before, in fact i'd like to apply for one this fall. at the hospital where i'm at it's called cta, cross-trained assistant. you do cna duties but then you also work the desk, too. not sure how much you really do at the desk, but the one i'm referring to, your duties are mostly cna responsibilities.

    does that help?

    to answer your question, i think i'd prefer the hospital, too. earlier this summer i worked a cna job at a ltc. there were 6 alzheimer's pts. and 1 cna who did everything. including cooking all meals, cleaning dishes after meals, cleaning, on top of regular cna duties. i'll admit, it was too much for me and my husband insisted that i leave the job (actually, i really wanted to leave). part of me wanted to stay for the residents, because they weren't getting the full care they needed. but i knew if i stayed on something was going to happen (a resident falling while i was tending to the needs of a total care pt) which would jeopardize my cna license.

    i tell ya, it was my first "you-can't-save-the-world" lesson.

    best of luck to you!

  7. 0
    Thank you so much for the replies!!

    I have spent the entire day comparing students loans online so forgive me if I seem a little scattered.

    I feel a little better hearing others say that LTC wasn't their calling. I kinda feel bad but I really don't think I belong there. Some people are really comfortable with mortality but I guess I'm not there yet. Before every shift I braced myself to hear who had passed since I left. I just don't think an end of life facility suits me.

    It is kinda discouraging to hear that in some places the Unit Sec position is a paper pusher. I am a go-getter, I'll be sure to get HR to clarify the percentage of the duty division before I accept anything. Maybe I should see if I could talk to someone on the floor to find out what the position really entails.

    Anyway, thanks everyone for your input!
  8. 0
    Hey supermo,

    About the CNA position I was talking about, the CTA's are really on the go. From what I've seen and heard, it was about 80% CNA responsibilities. In this job, there is a regular unit clerk, so not 100% of those requirements would fall to the CNA.

    From what I understood, you'd be helping the unit secretary when things got rough on the floor, but you certainly wouldn't be doing your full job as well as the unit secretary's job, too.

    What I'm trying to say, you'd be busy and on the go in this type of position. At least, that's the impression I get from the CTA's who I work around.

    I do agree with you. If it came down to it, I would take another LTC job, but only if the conditions were right. I just prefer the work in the hospital, but that's just me (or maybe it's not. )
  9. 0
    i've worked LTC and hospital as a cna. i prefer hospital work. LTC was alot more adl's, showering, feeding, turning, etc. in the hospital, alot of the pts are for the most part (in my area) self or limited assist pts. when i worked in tampa we got to do alot more technical stuff (wound care, foley, etc), but where i work now in ga, we do the basics (v/s, baths, bed changes, etc).

    some people love LTC, some don't. i loved the pts, but disagreed with managements way of running things. example, there was a tremendous need for supplies (nail care, v/s machines, briefs, etc), but they took the money and rewallpapered and changed out all the sinks and counters. the problem with this is, there was nothing wrong with the wallpaper, sinks, fixtures, and counters that they took out. they had a concept of "let's make this place beautiful." that's fine with me, but first should always come patient care!

    welcome everyone to the cna forum!
  10. 0
    Hospital policy is no direct calls, just online contact.
    Last edit by chadash on Aug 27, '06
  11. 0
    I feel your pain chadash. I hope to one day work in a hospital. We have 4 hospitals in my city, and ALL are hard to get into. Its like the Secret Mason Socitety or something around here!


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