New cna rant: Being a cna feels so uninspiring

  1. I'm a new cna and have been working for a few weeks. I know it's early to start ranting about my job and being a cna, especially when they're cna's that have been working this job for years and years. I will get to the back story of my rant here. I became a cna because I have been unemployed for over 2 years without luck finding a job. My stepdad kept bugging me about going to nursing school and being a cna for years since I graduated from high school (I'm 21 now) and told me how stable the job was and how I will always find work.

    So after a few years of being bugged about nursing school/cna classes I signed up and completed my cna classes last fall and passed my state test last January. While finally getting a job, making money, and working again makes me happy, I don't like the job title or work. I was never interested in health care in terms of a job or career choice and never cared about going to nursing school like most of my coworkers. I am currently at a 2 year school planning on transferring to a 4 year school for a BA. I want to major in political science (a field I am passionate about).

    I find working in a rehab/extended care facility tiresome, uninspiring, and depressing. My work days are interfering with my school days and study time, and I have told this to the lady who handles scheduling. When I told her I wanted to take a day off to study more for school she got snippy with me and told me I have to stay on this schedule for another month. I honestly don't think I will stay there for over 6 months. 3/4 of the staff hate their jobs (even the RNs and LPNs) and complains about it during the breaks and lunch. The facility itself is in bad condition and is run down. The pay is only min wage and we are terribly understaffed. Idk, they're like 2 cnas that actually look like they enjoy their job and I look at them with disbelief.

    I listen to some of the most depressing stories about the treatment the residents get and how bad their lives are, I don't know what to do. I hear and see them whale in pain and I can't do anything but get a RN to help them. Idk how some people work this job for more than a few years. Being a cna is too laboring, underpaid, and underappreciated. We also get looked down on by the higher ups (RNs, LPNs, Back office workers, etc) even the cooks in the kitchen look down on us where I work at. Being a cna is like being the janitors of the health industry. We do the work no one else wants to do. This only motivates me to work harder in school to get out and do what I love for a living. Everything feels so uninspiring.

    Sorry for my long rant. I had to say something about it. I just feel depressed and uninspired about everything.
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    About zara ray

    Joined: May '12; Posts: 16

    16 Comments

  3. by   mindyfromcali
    I know how you feel. It was really hard for me when I first started as a CNA. I'm here to tell you it can get better, but that depends on you. LTC is really hard. I did it for one year. I don't know how I got through it, but I have to say that the first few months or so were the hardest. It's a tough job, but if you want respect, you have to earn it. You have the power to make a difference in these peoples' lives. They depend on you to take care of them, and do things for them they can't do for their self. It's also way tougher if you're not passionate about it. The scheduling issue sucks, but if you said you're having a tough time finding work, then maybe try to stick it out? I used to sing songs in my head as I worked, and would try to see the positives of it. It was really hard to do, though, because a lot of people who work in LTC are pretty burned out. Don't focus on them and their issues with their job. It took me a long time to realize that I had the power over how well my day would turn out. The faster you get, and the more you help others out, the more respect you'll get. Nurses take notice when you make their day easier. Stock up their cart with straws, cups, and medicine cups. Don't bother them during med pass if possible unless it's an emergency. It's not sucking up, it's building relationships with the people you work with. I hope that helped.
  4. by   mindyfromcali
    Oh and another thing, if you can, make friends with other CNAs. Try to get a buddy on your shift who you can help with the tough part of their assignment and they can help you with yours. I had a few friends like that in the places I worked, and it REALLY helps. It can take time, though. If you finish early, look for people who need help and you're stepping in the right direction.
  5. by   zara ray
    Thanks mindy! It's frustrating and hard work. I hope things pick up more after these first few months. I have made a few buddies so far and it seems to help when I'm working. But i'm still have a uninspired feeling about the job. I will just do the best I can and look at the brighter side of things.
  6. by   IEDave
    Sounds to me like you've got a classic case of "I went into the wrong line of work". Since you've already been given some excellent advice on how to cope more easily with the environment, I'll take a slightly different tack - while you're working as a CNA, take notice of what goes on around you. Not just the squabbling, but the entire LTC as a whole - because with a Poli Sci degree and your experience as a CNA, you'll be in a perfect position to advocate for reform of this segment of the healthcare industry, which is (as you've obviously seen) in dire need of some reworking. Up 'til now, the reform at the state & federal levels has been more along the lines of slapping Band-Aids on the problems, ranther than taking a good, hard look at making meaningful changes in how these places are run, monitored & subsidized. Certainly a worthy task - if you're interested in it.

    In any case, something to think about. The very best of luck to you, and try not to let the situation get too depressing.

    ----- Dave
  7. by   zara ray
    Thanks Dave! I have thought about being more politically motivated about the ongoing conflicts of the job. Sometimes It feels like I can't help out and make a change in the residents lives outside of giving them basic care. I even get told by some of the residents (that either used to work as nurses or as an cna) that I should find another job somewhere else because being a cna is hard and working in a LTC is a depressing environment.

    It feels like these types of jobs (health care) requires a certain mindset and a certain type of personality. You have to have a drive to want to physically help people and I never had that mindset before. I try to look at it from an angle that it should be like taking care of you grandparent, and it does make the tasks easier.
  8. by   student forever
    Quote from zara ray
    You have to have a drive to want to physically help people and I never had that mindset before.
    You have a job for a paycheck, nothing more. It will be short lived in terms of your whole life, so try to remember that. You have been given excellent advice from others, so I will only add that these months of service that you are giving to a neglected population (families cannot/will not do what you are doing for their loved ones) will hopefully make you more compassionate in all areas of life. Remember the lessons well.

    Seek your dreams no matter what the cost. Living for a paycheck is only a temporary solution.
  9. by   interceptinglight
    ^^^That comment there by student forever is great!! It's wonderful to get such a personal reward out of knowing you are helping people in such a personal way -- however, CNA's are only able to give help that's very temporary in nature and that is what is depressing. They know all too well that they're mostly powerless to make a real difference and effect the quality of life of the people they serve in any kind of lasting way. You, zara ray, may use the experience and knowledge you are gaining right now in a position you could find yourself in the future in which you can advocate for change and really be able to do something about what you learned at the ground level. Maybe getting this job was just what you needed and you'll be glad you went through it. Best wishes to you!!!
  10. by   zara ray
    Thanks for the comments student forever, and interceptinglight!

    I know that this is a good job for helping ill residents and try to help them in their daily lives, but it does get overwhelming. So far I am getting used to it, but idk how to communicate with some of the residents. A few ask me if I am going to school for nursing and I tell them no. I feel bad. I honestly don't want to work in the health industry and the longer I stay the worse I feel. I talked to a classmate at school who is a cna but going to school to be a RN quit her cna job for the moment to focus on school. They wouldn't let her take anymore days off.

    I tried to ask to take my Mondays off to have an extra day to study and do homework, but they guilt tripped me into my original schedule and gave me a snooty attitude. Since starting this job I have fallen in my classes and now these next few weeks will be finals and lots of big assignments. I don't want to compromise my education with my work schedule. I have decided to either work during the weekends or quit. I have applied to 3 other places (one retirement community and other other two at a summer camp) and got a response back to two. I will see where this next week takes me...
  11. by   interceptinglight
    That's something you will find in most health care facilities. They have an almost hostile attitude toward students, because they know the student is going to put schooling first and their slave-wage job will most likely take a back seat. Wishing you luck to find something more compatible with your school schedule!
  12. by   adorris
    I used to be in your same shoes. Unlike your goals, I have always wanted to be a nurse but while waiting on actually getting into nursing school (while taking my pre-reqs) I decided to get my CNA certificate. After being a CNA in a LTCF for a week, I thought to myself "what in the world was I thinking?!?" I hated the job so much and how much I felt like I was looked down upon. I was over worked and under paid while being treated worse than a fly on the wall. After quitting during the second pay period I signed up to take a CNA 2 class, phlebotomy, EKG and starting working in the hospital. I wanted to avoid a MED/SURG floor because I knew it would be like working in a LTCF, so I started working in the ER. I have learned so much working there and don't imagine being anywhere else. I'm not saying that the ER is for everyone because it's not, but I am saying that there are CNA jobs out there that are rewarding. I graduate in December 2012 from nursing school and I plan on staying where I am now. The hospital pays A LOT better than minimum wage and hours are flexible. I work two 12 hr shifts PRN weekends and nights and get shift differential pay so it adds about 3.00 more than what I make hourly. I used to hate being a CNA (especially in a LTCF) but the job isn't that bad if you find a job that actually cares about their CNAs. I wish you luck in your future goals.
  13. by   Thujone
    Being a CNA gives you the opportunity to provide care for people that may not other wise receive it, and you can make the worst or best of it. If you can't see why being a care giver is empowering then I suggest getting out of the health-care field.
  14. by   zara ray
    Thank you for the comment Adorris! Yeah, LTCF are tough and going to school full time is too much all at the same time. It's tiring and the attitudes from what seems like everyone is horrid. I would like to work in a hospital (for both the pay and in certain areas) but all of the surrounding hospitals are not hiring CNAs. Idk, I did this job to get a job since it's harder to find something stable but being a CNA is too much work. I wish you luck on becoming a nurse! I know the job isn't for everyone but it's needed. It takes a person who really wants to help another person physically.

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