1. What kind of precautions do you take to not get certain diseases? Do you always know before hand that a patient has a contagious disease? What about patients who have HIV, Hepatitis, C-diff or MRSA just to name a few. (Would taking medicine and antibiotics from time to time help with keeping your immune system healthy preventing you from getting sick?)
You will use standard precautions with all patients. This means washing hands before and after contact, and wearing gloves if there is any risk of bodily fluid exposure. With some illness (e.g. C. Diff, pneumonia) additional protections will be in place (gown, mask). You can always use your own judgement and wear a higher level of personal protective equipment. However washing hands regularly is the most effective means of preventing disease spread.
Do NOT take medications or antibiotics to prevent disease. This is not how these medications are designed to work. And in the case of antibiotics taking them when you don't need them causes the risk of developing antibiotic resistant super bugs.
Your best preventative medicine for keeping a healthy immune system is to care for yourself - get adequate sleep, eat healthy, exercise regularly, and keep your stress load down.
2. Do you usually have help with lifting patients?
It depends on the patient and setting. Sometimes you will have assistive devices, sometimes the patient is able to be of substantial help in their own care, sometimes there are orders requiring multiple staff for a lift. You will be trained by your facility on lifting policies.
3. How do you keep from getting hit, bit, spit on? Or having feces thrown at you?
You learn to read the situation, and anticipate problems, and deescalate volatile patients.
4. What kind of facility do you think is best for a CNA to work in? (One that is not so physically stressful and the patients aren't combative?)
Being a CNA is physically demanding work - how demanding can depend on the setting and on the team you work with. Assistive living facilities and group homes are likely to have more stable patients requiring less hands-on heavy care, however these facilities often times operate with less staff meaning when something does go wrong it can be more stressful than in a hospital where a whole team will come running.
Part of this is also up to you. Different people are stressed by different things. I had a quiet office job and was super stressed all the time, I now am on an in-patient high acuity psych unit and am far more relaxed. Figure out what works for you.
5. Do you usually wear masks when you are changing a patients catheter, foleys or providing perineal care? Typically no, unless the patient has C. Diff, or I'm expecting shooting diarrhea while changing them.
6. Is there anyway to prevent having back injuries? Does seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis help? Use good lifting body mechanics, utilize assistive lifting devices, and know your limits and ask for help if it is more than you can safely lift on your own. Also keeping strong core and legs muscles helps as well. I've never been to a chiropractor so I can't comment on if/how much that would help.
7. Do you receive benefits? This will depend on the facility and how many hours you work. It is possible to receive benefits as a CNA particularly if working full time.
8. Was the skills test fairly easy? Can you work as a CNA before you actually take your skills test? (I was told by the school I want to attend. That I would be able to work as CNA before completing my skills test. And that I would have two years to do the skills exam) I actually failed my skills test the first time I took it. It was easy but they are really nit-picky about doing the skills EXACTLY as the guide says. It helps to verbally list of each step so there is no confusion about what you are thinking or doing. That being said I easily passed my second try. In my state (WA) you are allowed to work for up to 120 days after completing the course before you are required to be certified.
I'd recommend taking the exam sooner rather than later though.
9.Would you recommend working the night or day shift?
This depends on you, your schedule, and your sleep cycle.
10. How many patients could you have all at once? I've been told by one CNA that she had 24 patients all by herself. Is this usually the case?
Depends on facility, acuity, and staffing levels. The worst I had was 32, but it was assisted living with a stable population that I knew well, and a coworker called out sick with out replacement. It was a super busy night, but we all survived. My typical load in that setting was ~16-17 patients, which was very manageable.
Working in acute care my typical load was 4-5 total care patients.
11. Are the nurses and doctors usually rude? Are you treated poorly by them?
I've generally had great relationships with the nurses and doctors I've worked with. There are a few out there who are more difficult to work with, but by in large I've been treated with respect.
12. How many people were there during the interview? Meaning were you questioned by more than one person? I've been told that sometimes there are up to six people who ask you questions during the interview.
In my experience: 1-2 interviewers.