How do you hold it together?

  1. 0
    Hello! I was just hired at a LTC facility as a CNA. I start this week. I'm scared. I am pre-nursing, about halfway through my prereqs and need the hours for my nursing school application. When I did my clinicals at a nursing home I remember it being one of the hardest things I have ever done. I held it together well, the residents loved me and I loved them, but it was difficult. I remember that I had to just completely remove myself (mentally) from so many tasks in order to make it through (of course, I never let on that I found it difficult/gross!) While I'm so grateful for this job and want to love it...I just have a lot of anxiety about it. Here are my obstacles:

    1. The work itself, let's be honest, is super unpleasant and gross.
    2. I find it really depressing to only care for old people
    3. I'm extremely friendly/bubbly/talkative, but I struggle with elderly people who can't communicate/tell me what they need.

    Can you guys please share with me how you deal with all of this on a daily basis? I want to love this job, I want to be awesome at it, I want to handle all the ickies...I don't want to feel like I felt that week at clinicals. Maybe you have a mantra you tell yourself or something? Anything? Haha please help me.
  2. 11 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    To start with, being a CNA is a hard job...absolutely, no doubt about it. But it well better once you've been working for a bit and have gotten into your groove/routine. However, before you start complaining about the job, actually start working and see what you think then!

    By the 'gross and disgusting' things you referred to, I am guessing that you are talking about toileting, feeding, showering, etc? Because those are things that you will have to deal with as a nurse, as well. Yes, LTCs have CNAs who do that work, but from your comment about finding it 'depressing' to work with the elderly all the time, I am figuring that LTC is not where you want to remain as a nurse. Please remember that no matter what job you get as a nurse, you will always have to deal with things that you may find disgusting. I don't wish to come across as rude or mean here...but its time to pull on your big-girl panties and just get to work and deal with it...it will get better (trust me!).

    I will agree with you that it can be depressing at times working with only the elderly...but it can also be very rewarding. You said that you are a bubbly, talkative person....so talk to them, share a smile, brighten their lives...and pretty soon, it won't be as depressing of an environment anymore.

    And about them not being able to communicate their needs...learn to watch their facial expressions, their behaviors, etc, and you will soon be able to figure out what their needs are.

    This may not be your favorite job in your life, but it is one that will provide excellent experience for your nursing school career and for your nursing career. You asked if we have a mantra that we repeat to ourselves...well, I don't really have a mantra, and once I got into my groove as a CNA (which took a while...lol) I found that I didn't really need one. But when the job does get too depressing, or when I feel that I'm just running into the wall no matter which direction I turn...I remind myself that this isn't going to last forever. So pull yourself up by the bootstaps and keep going, because in the end it will be totally worth it!
    gochicagobears and pnkgirl25 like this.
  4. 0
    It is a hard job. And most of the things you've listed as concerns will (or should) fade within a few months on the job. The BM gets less gross, you get your own routine going with the residents as you get to know them, and your social skills with the elderly will improve. It's a learning experience for sure.
  5. 0
    Thank you so much for your post! Yes, I definitely will need to keep my big-girl panties well-stocked I am a lot better at dealing with blood and other body fluids then, say, incontinent residents. As a nurse someday, I really look forward to working with people of all ages and I like the idea of making people better-like at a hospital, they usually get to go home eventually (hopefully!). It's just a different world than the one I am most excited for. But you're right, it's not forever. I am thankful for the job and the opportunity to get great experience. I do love elderly people, so I'm sure if I just pay attention to their nonverbal cues and am my usual friendly self that it will be fine. I think I'm just REALLY nervous that I will suck or something! You said it takes time, so I will just have to be patient with myself I suppose. How long have you been a CNA?
  6. 0
    Thank you so much for your post! Yes, I definitely will need to keep my big-girl panties well-stocked I am a lot better at dealing with blood and other body fluids then, say, incontinent residents. As a nurse someday, I really look forward to working with people of all ages and I like the idea of making people better-like at a hospital, they usually get to go home eventually (hopefully!). It's just a different world than the one I am most excited for. But you're right, it's not forever. I am thankful for the job and the opportunity to get great experience. I do love elderly people, so I'm sure if I just pay attention to their nonverbal cues and am my usual friendly self that it will be fine. I think I'm just REALLY nervous that I will suck or something! You said it takes time, so I will just have to be patient with myself I suppose. How long have you been a CNA?
  7. 0
    Thank you! This was really encouraging!
  8. 1
    I've been a CNA for one year now, and will probably continue to be a CNA for at least two more years while in nursing school. I was extremely blessed to get a job right out of my CNA class: 7-3 shift at an LTC. Going from no CNA experience to being thrown into the busiest, fasted paced shift of the day with only a few days of orientation was...interesting! But I usually ended up working with a partner who has been a CNA for over 20 years, and she gave me a lot of great tips and training and constructive critism. It did take a couple of months (there was a bit of time where I was getting depressed and wondering if I had made the right choice) but one day I realized that everything had finally clicked, and that I was not only enjoying my job but also doing it well! I switched to working the 11-7 shift a couple months ago (works better with my class schedule as I cannot afford to stop working) but I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to refine my skills on day shift.

    It is very scary to start a new job, especially one where you don't have experience in the field and where you might not have made your first choice to work. When/if it starts getting hard for you, don't gice up...you have an amazing goal in mind and this is a necessary step toward that goal. Your coworkers are there as a support system for you, and don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it or to take some consctuctive critism. Remember that the hands on patient care you will be responsible for will provide you with skills and comfort levels that your class mates may not...do your best at the job, and before you know it, we will both have jobs in a hospital environment.
    sweetie_pie likes this.
  9. 0
    Clearly I was struggling with the repy button last time - haha I haven't actually posted on this site in awhile now oops! Thank you for the advice and again for the encouragement!! You have made me feel so much better. Good luck on your nursing career! I know we'll both get there, one step at a time
  10. 0
    Talk with even the people who cannot talk to you. Unless they shoot a look at you that tells you to shut up, they generally enjoy a smooth calming voice telling them about their care and just paying attention to them.
  11. 0
    The stuff you mentioned as being obstacles kind of seems relatively minor to me, more like speed bumps than obstacles. The stuff I found hard as a new CNA was time management, dealing with confused and combative patients,and moving and transferring people without hurting yourself or them.

    The BM thing can be unpleasant, but if you work as an RN in a hospital or Nursing home, youll be encountering it almost as much. Wait til you have to take care of some of these patients with GI bleeds or C Diff(or better yet, both). Even after your shift ends and you throw everything you wore into the wash and took a long shower, the smell will still be stuck in your head. Itll make you want to pluck out your nose hairs.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top