NEW CNA: Running behind on workload! Feel awful! - page 2

by panjia 3,889 Views | 17 Comments

Hi all, Brand new CNA. Already had 6 days of training. So far, have worked 6 days of being assigned my own patients, ranging from 6 - 12, but typically 10 to 12 patients. Problem? I am not fast enough, I work my best... Read More


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    If you work in a hospital, you can maybe coordinate with the RNs and have them do total care on one of their patients if you have a really heavy load. You can also have them do some other tasks like taking vitals while they are in doing an assessment.

    If you are working in LTC however, you are pretty much on your own, unless you can get other CNAs to help you if the people you are assigned to are more work than the ones they have. The RNs where I worked didnt do any ADLs. You were lucky if they toileted a patient, usually they would just tell an aide so and so needs to go.
    Liddle Noodnik likes this.
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    I'd ask the other CNAs how they manage. My floor has 1 NA at night for a 24 bed unit. She manages well but doesn't have to do baths since days does them. The RNs help out as much as possible but I'd be pretty upset if my CNA asked me to do total care because of poor time management. I'll help as much as possible and don't mind at all, but if it is manageable but you are having problems, keep trying new things. Bundle care. Make rounds and offer assistance while you are there. It may prevent an entire bed change if they go before an accident. Good luck!
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    funtimes: yeah, i work at a nursing home. i'm pretty much on my own, and yeah the nurses are super busy with their agenda so they just alert cnas of any adl care needed. actually, i was lucky one day...i had this one nurse placed this resident on a bedpan, but i took responsibility for removing him off the bedpan and getting him cleaned up. she was a great nurse in teamwork.


    eatmysoxrn: i understand, the nurses are busy with like 25+ patients, so i try to do the best i can to do total care for the patients. yeah, you're right, it's really just about trying new things. the more days i get to work, the more i realize what works and what does not, and the closer i get to establishing a routine. i really don't like leaving my responsibilities to other people, so like one poster said, it really is all about teamwork. if i can, i try to offer help to other cnas, but most of the time, i try to focus on my patients--because for right now, i am still new. however, i think after like a month or so, i'll be able to be more efficient

    thank you guys for your advice!
    Liddle Noodnik likes this.
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    I didn't enter nursing as a CNA but I think you will get up to speed soon, don't compare yourself to the other CNAs and remember they were new and slow once too. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it

    Figure out a routine and stick to it as best you can. Have all your supplies ready too.

    I see most new CNAs start slow but they usually get quicker within a month or two on the job as they get to know their residents.
    Last edit by Forever Sunshine on Aug 18, '12
    Liddle Noodnik likes this.
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    Quote from panjia
    .

    **MAIN PROBLEM: my guilt for failing to care for every single one of my patients, since I did prioritize who needed what first. Some of the patients I want to change, say they want to be changed later...so then I do it later, and move on to a higher priority. Yet, when I sit down and chart, I realized, I had FORGOTTEN like 1 or 2 patients! Even though we are REQUIRED to do bed baths for every patient, there is just not enough time to do that for every single patient! However, I find in the charting, that nearly everyone SOMEHOW has the time to do it. Is this true?! I don't know how it is realistically possible! I am still learning which things I can do to take short-cuts, b/c there is just too many patients in so little time.
    I can say that exact same thing about being a nurse. The guilt is overwhelming. These people have legitimate needs that we don't seem to be able to meet, there are just not enough people and not enough time It does get better though! If you can get through all this with a sweet smile and give your residents the knowledge that someone really does care - if you can continue to figure out what IS most important - and do it - then you will be ok. Don't give up though because with so little time under your belt, you are going to learn how to be faster and "work smarter." So give it at least a year I would say. (just my humble opinion)
    TurtleCat likes this.
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    First, use a cheat sheet. Your cheat sheet should have residents' initials, room number, and care plan details that you, as a CNA, need to know, such as whether they're able to ambulate, whether they're a one or two person assist or a Hoyer lift, whether they're incontinent, what their level of orientation is, etc.

    Also, what shift are you on? This will make a difference. For example, if you're on days, you'll be doing morning ADLs, getting residents up and ready for the day, etc. If you're on evenings, you'll be doing HS ADLs and putting them to bed, and if you're on NOCs, you'll be doing a lot of turning, changing, and toileting.

    Getting into a routine and finding your rhythm are key, and will come with time, and with experimentation. How I might organize my shift would be to first get report from the off-going CNA, making any needed notes on my cheat sheet, then check in with the nurse to find out if there is anything specific they need you to pay attention to, then doing a first round on every resident. The first round is not to do anything other than check in with each one and see what kind of condition they're in (Are they breathing? Are they soaking wet?), talk with them about the plan for your shift (i.e. "Tonight after dinnner, we'll do your bath" or "Since you're going to dialysis today, we'll do your bath right away, but first I need to check in with everyone else, so I'll be back in a while to do that").

    With your heavier residents, you should team up with another CNA. Make a deal with them, where if they help you with so and so, you'll help them with one of theirs. This makes it a lot faster with those residents who have hemiparesis with spasticity, or who are obese and immobile, or who take a long time for whatever reason.

    The toileting thing is tricky. I know a lot of people have urgency and simply cannot wait to be toileted, or they will be incontinent. Plus, it's uncomfortable to have the urge to void or stool and have to wait, and if the person decides to ambulate to the toilet without assistance, they may fall. On the other hand, a resident should not be left stewing in a soiled brief any longer than absolutely necessary, or skin breakdown will occur. So, to me, they are both of pretty high priority.

    This is where clustering your care can be a lifesaver. For example, when you're assisting a resident to dress, toilet them at that time. Explain to them that even if they don't feel the urge at that moment, it may take you a while to get back to them when they do have to go, so they should try while you're there to help. They have every right to refuse, but if they're cooperative with this plan, it can help prevent some of those "I gotta go right this very second" types of calls. Also, some people are very regular and have a predictable pattern. The more you become familiar with your residents, the more you will learn their patterns and be able to incorporate them into your routine. You can even pre-empt some of those call lights by addressing the predictable needs while you're already in the room.

    Good luck!

    Edited to add: It may very well be that your workload is not humanly possible, so you do have to prioritize and let some things go. When I worked NOCs as a CNA, I had on average 20 residents, 15 of whom were in briefs and needed changing Q2. If it takes 15 minutes to change a brief because you're doing it by yourself, then it will take three hours and 45 minutes just to do your first round of changing on 15 residents. Factor in calls for assistance to the toilet, HS snacks, and the three residents I was required to dress and get up for breakfast before the day shift arrived (one was a stroke with hemiparesis, one was morbidly obese and immobile and required a hoyer, and the other was in a wheelchair and used orthotic devices), and you can see that the workload is simply not humanly possible.

    When you work in a culture where everyone else is charting stuff that they didn't do because they didn't have time, it makes the powers that be think the workload is possible, and you'll get no sympathy if you try to tell them that you don't have time or the workload is too heavy.
    Last edit by ~*Stargazer*~ on Aug 18, '12
    MasterTomSisk, panjia, mindyfromcali, and 1 other like this.
  7. 0
    You haven't been doing it long enough, that's all.

    What shift do you work? On second shift it's easier to get all your people (especially the 2-assists) in bed as soon as you can right after dinner because you can change them by yourself all night once the initial transfer is over, without waiting for others to come and assist you. Also that way you can go to your lunch break knowing that none of them are sitting in wet briefs-- if your shift is 8 hours long you should be doing 4 rounds on everyone, and that already takes care of two of them. The third round is done while you wash people and the 4th is a cakewalk because that's all you're doing.

    On first shift it's a little more complicated and I do it differently with every person, depending on if they need to be in a chair for breakfast, their assist level, how much they pee, etc. You want to leave some of them in bed so you can change them alone as needed, but you don't want to leave ALL of them in because you need time to get them all up for lunch and have their beds made.
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    I'd be pretty upset if my CNA asked me to do total care because of poor time management.
    Well I dont see a problem with it IF as a CNA I have say 20 patients I have to do HS cares and vitals on in between call lights and toileting people, and im working with say 4 RNs with 5 patients each. Obviously I keep in mind RNs have their own duties they cant pawn off on anyone, so its not something Id ever do because Im lazy, and im more reluctant to do it than other aides. We have some who automatically ask the RNs at the beginning of almost eve4ry shift which patient they wanna do total care on. I reserve it for rare situations, and if im ahead of schedule Ill usually end up doing most or all of the cares and vitals on the patients the RNs took anyway.

    Our supervisors prefer we do that over trying to do it all ourselves and have patients waiting until they soak their bed and have vitals that are late. Time management can only get you so far when you have situations like a bed jumper whos on isolation precautions and a fresh surgical patient who just came up at the beginning of your shift.


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