I wanted to know what your experience has been as Med/Surg CNAs or CNAs on other floors, like ER. I was just hired for Med/Surg, and I have no prior acute care experience.
How is your day like? Do you like it?
I'm hoping it will be challenging enough, and I get to learn a lot, as I am a pre-PA student.
Last edit by SuperSteff on Oct 11, '07
Oct 11, '07
I am assuming that by pre-PA you mean you are a pre-Physicians Assistant student. As far as your question goes. I am a med/surg na and have been for about a year and a half. It is busy at times (depending on the unit you work on and the size of the hospital you work at). It will be challenging, but you will learn a lot if you jump in and ask questions. If you are a student, this is the best thing you can do, by jumping in and seeing things. I am in a 48-bed facility and have floated to our ICU, CVCU (cardiovascular care unit), ED (2x), oncology, observation, and surg/post-surg. I have been able to do many things from assisting with sterile procedures, to restraining the craziest of crazies in the mental health unit.
Just jump in, ask questions, volunteer for anything and everything, and let the docs know you are a student...they are eager to get you in and teach you as well. My tip would be...buy a stethoscope (it doesn't have to be fancy) and have it with you when at work. When you go through and get VS for the nurse, you can get the chance to hear lung sounds, bowel sounds and heart sounds...Excellent learning experience!
Oct 11, '07
I had a GREAT time working as a hospital CNA while I was in nursing school! The nurses really took me under their wings and taught me so many useful skills and time-savers........I'd be doing I&Os or some other task and nurses would just grab me in the hallway and go, "Marla, come listen to this bruit" or "Wanna watch Dr. Smith put in a chest tube?"
It was an awesome experience, and I think it really gave me an advantage when I started working as an RN some time later. I also made decent money, and the job didn't break my back like the nursing home would have. I think anyone who has a shot at such a position should go for it, especially if they want to work in Med/Surg or another unit as a nurse.
Oct 11, '07
Thanks for your helpful response. Yes, I did mean I'm pre-physician assistant. It seems being a CNA in an acute setting will be great experience before the program.
My hospital is a 208-bed facility, and I have been told I will float to DOU and TCU (I had to google those abbreviations!). I am also interested in floating to ED. The hospital also has a 30-bed Mental Health Unit, which would also be interesting, as Psych is a rotation in the PA program.
It's all very exciting!
Oct 11, '07
I've heard so many times that good RNs have background work as CNAs! I'll remember to announce to all the RNs that I'm a pre-PA student.
Oct 12, '07
hi!! i've been working in a hospital as a tech for 6 months now and i have to say that it is the best thing i ever could have done for myself! i'm also on the waiting list to get my adn and working on my bsn prereqs.
anyway..........i just graduated my cna class in march and got hired on in the hospital two weeks later. the expierience is certainly an eye opening one. i chose to work in the hospital becasue when i graduate, i want to work critical care. just as luck would have it, i got hired on in the critical care family as a tech!!! i work in a step down unit/intermediate care where a lot of our patients come from icu or ccc. i've even had the opportunity to float over to icu a few times but i'm saving that for when i graduate school.
so basically my expierience is like most others that have already replied. from day one when the nurses i work with knew i was in school, they've taken me under their wing and i've learned so much from them. in fact, i feel like i'm already one of them because of the respect that i get (of course i give it in return). i have asked and still ask a lot of questions about things and not one of them has blown me off. they may not be able to answer right that second but they eventually get to it. my big thing lately has been learning medicines and what they do so when i hear about a "new to me" medicine, i ask them what it is for.
in the unit i work for, we really do get to see a little of everything. we get some medical, some surgical, even some psych!!!! it's especially interesting because the acuity is high in a lot of our patients and i have really learned how quickly things can go wrong or how quickly a patient can start to code. that's another thing about our unit. we have cardiac monitors and we mostly catch people before they code so i've seen people be intubated and all that on our floor before they are shipped off to icu or ccc.
i recommend working in a hospital for anyone going into the medical field or even considering it. you don't get this kind of expierience from a nursing home. nursing homes and hospitals are two competely different worlds. i say go for it and good luck! the job may be intimidating at first but you will get it and become comfortable with all the things you will have to do.
Oct 12, '07
Oops! I forgot to answer one of your questions.
What is my day like.........
There is no typical day because things can change so quickly which is what is great about my job. It's not even set that I will get or give report! The only thing guaranteed is that I will clock in and clock out and I will take vital signs every 4 hours.
When I come in in the morning, I get all my stuff together and get ready for report. That is when I gear up for the day, drink my coffee and try to make a plan A. Then I hand out linens for the day and update the dry erase boards with the nurses names, my name, and the date. Typically the pts are still sleeping here so I can sneek in and out real quick.
From there on out plan A changes to plan B. By the end of the day I've rearranged my plans so many times I've lost track. That's one attribute I think you really need to be successful in the medical field is flexibility. If you get upset that your plans get disrupted, you'll consistently be stressed and burn out very quickly. You have to play things by ear.
I try to bathe all of my total care patients in the morning. In the afternoons are when people typically get discharged or transferred to a different unit and when that happens, I don't have the time to get the total care patients bathed and all that. Plus in the afternoon, my energy starts to dwindle so it makes it harder to find the motivation to get it done.
Hope that helped a little bit.
Oct 12, '07
Typical day would be get report at 7am, stock linen carts and giving total care patients their baths. Stop to assist with breakfast setups. After breakfast continue with baths/toileting. Answer call bells throughout the day for various issues such as toileting/changing/cup of coffee etc. And ditto whoever it was (sorry to lazy to look back haha) that said to let the nurses know that you are a student. The nurses I work with know that and they will pull me to watch/participate in various procedures. They are wonderful because they take the time out to explain everything to me. I work in a 30 bed Med unit but have floated to sit on Tele (which I HATE btw). Good luck!
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