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Congratulations on your new job! Working night shift is where nearly everyone gets their start, and is a great place to learn about your new profession without the stress of administration being there during the day. As far as tips go here are 3.
Learn your vital signs WNL values inside and out, and also what they mean. (Practice manual EVERYTHING)
Start learning common diseases i.e. CHF
Associate yourselves with the hard working people (even the ones that seemed burned out work hard too) there to build a good work ethic and reputation.
Congrats! I just got my CNA a month ago and still looking for a job... Did you have any experience prior to this? It seems as if everyone requires a minimum of one year and that I don't have yet... Should I still apply?
Thank you everyone! AshBrock1091, what I ended up doing was starting by contacting all the facilities LTC and hospital in the towns around me and just asked to speak to the DON at the different facilities. Out of the places I contacted which was about 17ish only two were hiring at this time one required more experience the other one did not require any experience. They said I will receive 100 hours of OTJ there before I am on my own since my lack of experience. My only pitfall is that I have a 30 minute commute but that is ok since before I was a CNA I was commuting about 45 minutes for my job. I would say keep pushing you will find a place that is hiring! I know my local hospital is on a hiring freeze at this time.
You are only one person and you can't possibly take care of two patients at once. Remember that. Remember that you will get used to it as time goes on and you find a routine. NO question is a stupid question--ask!!
When they say "Go ask the nurse" they mean it. You may find some hard to approach, but it is far better to ask them or let them know something you find important than to ignore it. In time you will learn what needs to be reported right away and what can wait.
Ask for help transferring patients. It isn't worth your safety or theirs to do things on your own. At the same time, learn what tasks you can do without help. Eventually you should be able to change just about anyone by yourself unless its a huge mess or they have some severe deficits.
You will feel lost at times, you will feel overwhelmed. It gets better. Do the best you can and don't forget to take care of yourself. Use the restroom, take breaks when you can. Make sure that you eat at least once a shift. You are no good to anyone if you aren't healthy.....
Always remember you can only be in one place at one time. You will CONTINUALLY have 2 or 3 people who all want to do something at the same time and need help, at least if you work days or evenings. During meals we would always have some people who wanted to go to the BR or back to bed NOW, while other residents still needed to be fed. Or residents that insisted on sleeping in, then all wanted to get up NOW. Residents are generally in their own little world, and most wont understand that you have other people to help as well. THEY want help NOW and cant understand why you're making them wait.(in fairness you have to understand how horrible it is to not be able to go the BR or do what you want when you want).
Don't let it get to you, you cannot please all of the people all of the time in LTC, just do what you can and learn to prioritize requests and know what can wait and who and what needs to be addressed first, and try to get as many things done at once as you can. For instance if someone wants to go the BR in the morning, try to get them to bath and get dressed while they are up, instead of wasting all this time toileting them and then getting them back to bed, only to have them ring 45 minutes later wanting to get back up. This is especially important if someone is a 2 person lift.
Also, NEVER lose your temper with a resident. That is the fastest way to get fired or worse. You will almost certainly have residents say some really nasty stuff to you at some point, you gotta let it roll off you like water on a duck. CNAs can usually deal with a resident trying to hit them or bite them or whatever, but I've seen some get rattled by some of the things residents will say, especially if its from one of the more lucid acting ones.
Also remember to have a life outside of work totally unrelated to your job, so you can de stress and get your mind off the job. If your job is your life 24/7 you will go nuts.