NEW CNA: Running behind on workload! Feel awful!

  1. 1
    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 and prioritize.

    Here's how I prioritize:

    1. Help/clean patients who need to immediately get to the bathroom

    2. Vitals if needed

    3. Meal times

    4. Simultaneously change soiled clothes/briefs/drawsheet or pads for anyone else who I didn't get to change, especially getting FIRST to the patients who have therapy or dialysis soon.

    **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 honestly did my best to keep the patient safe and clean. I feel SO overwhelmed handling 10 or more patients!! The teamwork goes well, but sometiems we only have 3 CNAs for like 30 beds. Finding help can be hard, and delays my other tasks.

    Thank you for reading, I tried to make this as concise as possible.
    Liddle Noodnik likes this.
  2. 17 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    Clipboard. It will be your best friend. Get one and make out lists of your patients each shift. Turn it into a table of what you need to do and check things off as you do them. At least it worked well for me.
    Liddle Noodnik likes this.
  4. 0
    Thank you Jack245. I am surprised that nearly all the CNAs, even the ones who have only worked for 1 month, do not need any method of organization such as clipboard. They tell me there is no time to write things down. However, I should remember that not everyone is the same. But yes, literally, nobody in the nursing home carries around any clipboards or anything. Even so, I see them have time to stop and mingle! I dont know how they have time.

    At work I focus on myself, and not compare, because that will do me NO GOOD. At the end of the day however, after I am out of work, I think about how do they just do everything. haha

    When you first started out working as a CNA, did you happen to have the same situation, like forgetting 1 or 2 patients? Some of my CNA team members helped me, but I did not get to do tasks myself personally. I feel terrible.
  5. 3
    I didn't have that, but worked with those that did. Thing is, being a CNA is a team effort. No one can do it all on their own.
    duskyjewel, Liddle Noodnik, and panjia like this.
  6. 3
    A clipboard is good if you have the time to carry one around, but I find even just writing all of their room numbers on a piece of paper and ticking off for each type of care I give is good enough. I even still do it, because I just started working at this place less than two months ago and the assignments change a lot even though it's LTC.

    As far as finding time to do everybody, that is a hard part of the job that comes with experience. I know for me, the first few months as a CNA I was wayyyy slower than I am now. I'm able to use the drawsheet to make my life easier in most cases, even with really heavy Residents. Just be patient, go as fast as you can, and try to keep in your mind how frequent they're wet. Each one will have a pattern most of the time, and you'll learn when you need to check them.
    man-nurse2b, Liddle Noodnik, and panjia like this.
  7. 1
    Thanks for your reassurance Mindy. I really don't like missing 1 or 2 patients, because I fear I will certainly get written up, even though I have only been working independently for about 1 week. And well, to be honest, I have left some of my charting blank, because I can't lie--unless I should to cover my butt.
    Liddle Noodnik likes this.
  8. 1
    Quote from panjia
    Thanks for your reassurance Mindy. I really don't like missing 1 or 2 patients, because I fear I will certainly get written up, even though I have only been working independently for about 1 week. And well, to be honest, I have left some of my charting blank, because I can't lie--unless I should to cover my butt.
    Have you tried talking to other CNAs who work with the same Residents? There may be a method to the madness. I know when I come across a new assignment, or am working someplace new I ask a lot of questions. You can even check the charts to see if they wet a lot or not.
    Liddle Noodnik likes this.
  9. 1
    I do ask questions when I can, since the other CNAs are running around tryin to do their own thing, so I can't waste my time trying to find them. In between though, I ought to check the charts more frequently. Sometimes, when I'm on my way to check the chart, I get distracted when someone else calls for urgent help. Then, I forget. Now is the time to have that clipboard lol.

    As you said, it does come with experience. It's amazing how all those things you suggested is really common sense. I just need to calm myself down, and think methodically. I can only focus on one patient at a time, and when many CNA/nurses are telling me, you have a call light on room # so and so. I tell them, I will check as soon as I'm finish. It's just very overwhelming and distracting having multiple things that I need to do, that I forget about the patients that tell me they want to be changed later. I wish that I could just tell them, let's just do that now and get it over with.

    Anyway, thank you!
    Liddle Noodnik likes this.
  10. 2
    You don't have to necessarily do everything they need right when they ask. Just check the light, see what it is, and ask them if you can come back in a few minutes. Sometimes all they need is a medication and you just have to tell the nurse real quick. A lot of it really is just knowing how to work faster. All you can do is your best. Some Residents are more patient than others. I had a situation last night where a very needy Resident who likes to use the call light a lot wanted ice water. I asked if she would give me 15 minutes, and she was cool with it. I had other Residents down the hall who still needed to have rounds done on them.

    You'll find your rhythm. Good luck.
    Liddle Noodnik and panjia like this.
  11. 2
    Thank you again! Yeah finding my rhythm is exactly what it is. The only way I get better, is to just get more experience...figuring out what I can do better the next time around.

    I really appreciate your advice! I wish you well on your endeavors, be it nursing or whatever your career goal is.

    Take care!
    Liddle Noodnik and mindyfromcali like this.


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