Questions about being a CNA

  1. I think I may want to give CNA a try in general I get along with the elderly. Whenever I see them out in the public (mostly the grocery store) I usually end up engaging with them. Whether it be helping them get something, reading a label for them if they are struggling holding open the door for them etc. But I am worried about a few things in particular.

    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?)

    2. Do you usually have help with lifting patients?

    3. How do you keep from getting hit, bit, spit on? Or having feces thrown at you?

    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?)

    5. Do you usually wear masks when you are changing a patients catheter, foleys or providing perineal care?

    6. Is there anyway to prevent having back injuries? Does seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis help?

    7. Do you receive benefits?

    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)

    9.Would you recommend working the night or day shift?

    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?

    11. Are the nurses and doctors usually rude? Are you treated poorly by them?

    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.


    Sorry for so many questions I just have a lot of concerns and want to be prepared.
    •  
  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   verene
    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.
  4. by   Missingyou
    I agree with the first poster but will add more from my personal experiences as a CNA in a nursing home working 2nd shift.

    Quote from Lady In Pink
    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?)
    As mentioned before, you will use gloves and hand washing, hand washing, hand washing....
    Because of HIPPA/privacy issues they cannot tell you what/if someone has a contagious disease. You will be supplied special gowns, masks, etc when needed. If you wash your hands properly with ALL patients there should be no concerns. You will be taught these precautions and how/when to use them in your CNA training class.

    2. Do you usually have help with lifting patients?
    Each resident has a "care plan" in their room. It explains how much care they need, including how much help they need in lifting/transferring. Those who cannot help at all, there is a hoyer lift. Those who can help some what will use an "easy stand". and some just need balance support or are independent. Again, you will be taught how to do all of this in CNA class and by the facility.

    3. How do you keep from getting hit, bit, spit on? Or having feces thrown at you?
    In the 20+ years of doing this, I've NEVER had feces thrown AT me or heard of it being done to coworkers.
    Be respectful to the residents you are caring for. Watch your tone of voice when speaking. Ask, not demand/command them to do something...Remember, you are just a "child" to them. ....still, there are those who are scared/confused or just angry at the world and their situation. You will get to know your residents and what may cause an incident...and what works to redirect it. I have been hit and scratched but never to the point where it was very painful. Also, if I know someone is being combative I will wait to provide care whenever possible. Sometimes, waiting ten minutes can make a world of difference.

    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?)
    Everyone is different. I love the fast pace of a nursing home. I know many others who prefer working for home care. Everyone is different.

    5. Do you usually wear masks when you are changing a patients catheter, foleys or providing perineal care?
    No. It is unlikely that the need will be there to wear anything other than gloves unless the patient is on precautions and you will know ahead of time if they are. It doesn't happen often and many times it is exactly that "precaution", meaning the patient is being tested for a possible contagious infection.....but again, if you are washing your hands, no worries.

    6. Is there anyway to prevent having back injuries? Does seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis help?
    Seeing a chiropractor may help. I strongly recommend stretching before, during and after your shift. Think of it as a work out and prepare for it. Also, exercise to strengthen arms, legs and core muscles. It will make a huge difference.

    7. Do you receive benefits?
    Every facility is different. You can get health benefits/vacation time, some places offer tuition assistance, sign on bonus'...etc. When you interview, you can ask about what they offer.

    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 thought the skills test was pretty easy but, I've done direct care in group homes for years before becoming certified as a nurse aide. Pay attention in class. Do your homework, ask questions during clinicals and you should be fine. If you fail, no worries, you can test again. Every testing facility is different. Some testers are picky, others, not so much.

    9.Would you recommend working the night or day shift?
    Each shift has it's own challenges. Every CNA is different. Try which ever shift suits your schedule. If it doesn't work out you can always move to another shift or type of facility. It will be easier however, to get a 2nd or 3rd shift position since first shift is always very popular.

    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?
    In a nursing home on 2nd shift even being short staffed, I've never had more than 15 residents. Nursing homes are required by law to have no more than a set number of residents per CNA. Each state is different but, I doubt it will ever be more than 15. On a regular shift, I have the same group of 11 residents. If you are in an assisted living facility where the residents are more able bodied you may have more. If you work home care, you will likely have just 1, maybe 2 to care for.

    11. Are the nurses and doctors usually rude? Are you treated poorly by them?
    I've had nurses be rude to me. I ignore the rude behavior and chaulk it up to stress. If you do your job they tend to leave you alone unless they need your assistance. I don't have any contact with a doctor in a nursing home. .....family and other CNA's...that's a whole other story. They both can be rude and thankless. ....again, I ignore the rude behavior and go about my job. I'm not there to make friends, I'm there to do a job.

    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.
    Almost always I've only had one or at the most 2 people interviewing me. There is typically a second interview with the same or another person. The way I've always handled the stress and anxiety of an interview was to go in remembering that I am also interviewing THEM to see if it is a place where I'd want to work.
    .

close