I submitted my resignation today. I will never work in long-term care again. Twice in the last 3 months I've been written up for a resident fall -- again because of failure to have alarms on a wheelchair. In my most recent disaster, a resident (Ms.'B') had gone to physical therapy at some point during our morning routine and she was returned to the Special Care Unit (dementia) shortly thereafter. I was working with a newly oriented CNA who didn't tell me Ms. B was back in the Unit, as I was with another resident at the time of her return and didn't see her come back. Well, Ms. B decided she was going to take herself to the toilet alone so she disappeared behind one of the doors of another resident's room. For some bizarre reason, the PT staff didn't set any of her alarms and the chair sensor pad wasn't even on her seat.....as Ms. B tried to transfer herself she fell and no one heard a thing. We don't even know how long she was on the floor as this happened right before the lunch rush. It was like the resident was 'lost.'
Of course I got really screamed at by one of the floor nurses, in front of my co-workers -- she implied that the State's going to shut the whole place down because of me.
I was utterly humiliated. The truth is, to 'lose' a resident and not even be aware of their whereabouts is inexcusible. When someone leaves the Unit, the first thing you do when they come back is check that their alarms are in place, which my partner for the day did not do, nor did she tell me that Ms. B was back in the Unit. Because I was the one who was more experienced in the Unit, the responsibility fell on me -- in other words I should have went looking for her as we were gathering the residents around the lunch tables and noticed she wasn't anywhere in sight. Of course, I had to sign the written reprimand about this incident and now I look like a big fat jerk. I feel like one, too. I don't know if my partner got written up as well as the PT staff, but it seems like the responsibility for this should be shared by all three of us. This is supposed to be a team effort, and in this case no one had my back.
Now I'm in search of another job, I have 1 month to find something else. I have an interview with a home health agency that pays better and they have great employer-paid benefits -- however there's no guarantee of full-time hours. I've also applied for a receptionist job at a pediatrician's office that pays better still. I'm hoping to get out of CNA work altogether, it just doesn't pay as much as other healthcare jobs -- especially in long-term care, a realm which tends to eat its young.
I have great respect for anyone who can continue as a CNA in long-term care for any length of time-- kudos to you. As for me, I have to get out while I still have my self-respect.