Scared to be a CNA again

  1. I finally got into nursing school (YAY!!!!!) and I'm starting to get job offers to work with hospitals as a CNA. However, my experience working as a CNA in LTC was so bad that it drove me to waiting tables and I've sworn never to work LTC ever again. I'm very apprehensive about becoming a CNA again. Don't get me wrong, I loved the residents, and I don't mind "dirty work," it's other things I'm scared of.

    -Due to high turnover and extremely low pay, the only people left were people with extremely bad attitudes and often played leperosy treatment with you, smirking in your face when you asked them to help you transfer the 400-lb resident. I was also singled out for my race, being the tattle target (the same people who wouldn't wipe down residents and talked on their cell phones all day were the first ones to report me, often directly to the ADON). When I resigned, I got a lot of people coming up to me saying, "Sorry for all the stuff you had to go through. White girls never last here."

    -Toxic work environment. The ADON actually encouraged drama and tole me that she didn't blame them for refusing to help me, as I obviously didn't do my work. God, that ADON was a lady Hitler. I remember witnessing a "meeting (Jerry Springer-esque)" in which a sweet old Nigerian CNA (one of the best I've ever met) was trying to bring up the fact that nobody would help her either. The other CNAs ganged up on her and were shouting insults, with the ADON just laughing and telling her that she'd have to earn their trust. I hope that she ends up in a nursing home run like the one she's running.

    -People who are violent as a result of dementia or just act demented once you call the charge nurse reporting violence. I was bitten, kicked, slapped, scratched, and worst of all, had the crap beaten out of me by a severely paranoid schizophrenic woman whose family wanted to "mainstream" her, never mind the fact that she should have been in a setting with trained professionals. Nothing was ever done about any of the violent episodes. As the baby boomers get older, elders are making up a large percentage of the population. I don't hate elders by any means, but I absolutely dread the difficult dementia patients who think that you're raping them and go for your jugular.

    -High patient-to-staff ratios. In the nursing home, 95% of the people were fully dependent and many were overweight and required 2 people, so this was a problem, as people only helped you if you groveled.

    Please tell me that most places are better than where I worked.
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   MissJoRN
    I think most places are better. I know what you mean though and I worked there, too!! (off the top of my head example- My jaw was seriously injured by a punch from a pt on alzheimers/psych (we had true psych pts) I was teased by co-workers and criticized by superiors that it was my fault- I should have ducked faster!!)

    I was so fed up that I left human healthcare altogether for a while and when I came back I was much more careful with my job selection. The two things I did during nursing school were home health and agency staffing. HH is great because you avoid toxic co-workers, LOL. I could pick my shifts and cases after a while and many of my elderly cases were cognitive and truly wanted to do as much as they could... to remain at home. Some clients had dementia but they typically have supportive families who will help you. Some cases are chaotic or unpleasent, but a good agency will listen to your concerns and help solve them or refer the client to more appropriate services. Make sure you have a good agency! I also did peds cases. HH was also great with my school schedule, I could do 1hr, 2hr, 4hr visits or 8-12 hr shifts... or anything in between. Sometimes I worked for an hour or two before school, then again in the evening, sometimes weekends, sometimes nights (and did a lot of homework then!) If I knew I was going to have a lot of homework due, exams, etc I cut back on my hours for the week. If I needed extra money or knew it would be a slow week at school I did extra. Weekends and holidays were purely optional at my agency.

    Like I said, I did staffing, too. The pay was better than HH but you may end up in toxic environments. I kept track, though of which facilities I liked and which ones I would never step foot in again. (And I tell people who are looking for FT jobs or a home for G'Ma, too!) The attitudes are a little easier to take when you're not part of the politics and if you can tell yourself "5 more hours then I'll never be here again!" Some places were nice. I usually scheduled these days as I went "gee I'm really desperate for $ this week" or "hmm, I have nothing to do tomorrow and nothing due at school" I'd call the agency and they'd always have a few choices for shifts that day or the next! If I didn't like my options I'd say nevermind and try later, they were OK with that.

    Also, maybe you can do something in the hospital where you'll do many of your clinicals?

    Good luck in school!
  4. by   TheCommuter
    Hospital CNA work tends to be slightly easier than LTC work because hospital patients can often do much of the toileting and personal care independently without the assistance of an aide.

    Several years before I became a nurse, I was an aide at a small residential facility that housed six developmentally disabled adults. I worked the night shift alone from midnight to 8am and cooked breakfast, cleaned, toileted, gave showers, dressed residents, and prepared sack lunches for the next day. It was easy due to the lack of noxious coworkers and the lack of residents.

    By the way, not all black coworkers are rude to white coworkers. I'm black and would never treat any coworkers rudely or single anyone out. I'm sorry to hear of your horrid experiences.
  5. by   PeachPie
    ^Oh no, I wasn't insinuating that all black people are rude. I've had problems with all sorts of people about my races. I've had people of all races make races comments about my Asian side, I've had Asians make rude comments about my white side, etc etc.

    I too worked in a group home for mentally retarded people. It was great. I did pretty much the same tasks as you, and it was night shift, which meant I didn't have to deal with people. I only had to take care of 2 people too. I wish all places were like that...

    I used to work home health, but the gas prices did away with that option pretty quick. Hmm, agency you say? Know of any in Houston?

    Thanks for the reassurance.
  6. by   Roy Fokker
    moderator note:

    thread moved to cna forum.
    please continue discussion.

    thanks,
    roy
    allnurses.com moderator
  7. by   jb2u
    Quote from PeachPie
    I finally got into nursing school (YAY!!!!!) and I'm starting to get job offers to work with hospitals as a CNA. However, my experience working as a CNA in LTC was so bad that it drove me to waiting tables and I've sworn never to work LTC ever again.
    Congratulations on getting into Nursing school...those spots are like gold! Yes, LTC is tough. This is why their turnover rate is about 100% according to a recent study.

    Quote from PeachPie
    I was also singled out for my race, being the tattle target (the same people who wouldn't wipe down residents and talked on their cell phones all day were the first ones to report me, often directly to the ADON). When I resigned, I got a lot of people coming up to me saying, "Sorry for all the stuff you had to go through. White girls never last here."
    Please understand, I know that you didn't mean ANY offense by this, but there will be those that take it "the wrong way." So, I will say to those that read this post, please do not turn it into a flame war. The op stated that she did NOT mean to single out just one "race" and that she knows that ill comments are made to all "races."

    Quote from PeachPie
    -People who are violent as a result of dementia or just act demented once you call the charge nurse reporting violence. I was bitten, kicked, slapped, scratched, and worst of all, had the crap beaten out of me by a severely paranoid schizophrenic woman whose family wanted to "mainstream" her, never mind the fact that she should have been in a setting with trained professionals. Nothing was ever done about any of the violent episodes. As the baby boomers get older, elders are making up a large percentage of the population. I don't hate elders by any means, but I absolutely dread the difficult dementia patients who think that you're raping them and go for your jugular.
    The Nursing home that I worked for had a resident that "became combative" and was sent to a different facility. I believe that the facility has a responsibility to protect the other residents that already live there. It is not right for the facility to allow a combative pt to walk around the home where other residents could become a "target."

    Quote from PeachPie
    -High patient-to-staff ratios. In the nursing home, 95% of the people were fully dependent and many were overweight and required 2 people, so this was a problem, as people only helped you if you groveled.
    High pt-to-staff ratios are and will be an ongoing problem, even as an RN. Until, changes are made for mandatory ratios, most facilities will look at bottom line dollars, IMHO.

    Quote from PeachPie
    Please tell me that most places are better than where I worked.
    I am sure there are better places and worse . I hope you find the place that is right for you. Good luck in school.

    Sincerely,
    Jay
  8. by   lovingtheunloved
    That kind of nonsense from staff would never be tolerated where I work. It's certainly not perfect, but the staff, (and administration for that matter) is focused on the residents and what they need. Everything else is gravy.
  9. by   vampiregirl
    I agree with lovingtheunloved, I too work at a facility like this. I actually picked this LTC facility to put in an application at because it didn't smell unpleasant when I walked in the front door. I'm sorry you have had bad LTC experience. If this is something that interests you, I encourage you to keep looking. Sometimes it takes a different facility, shift or department to find a good "fit" for you. Good luck!
  10. by   jemommyRN
    I would never become a CNA again either. I was on the Med Surg floor at a hospital and I just had a horrible experience. It really wasn't the staff at all, it was just the fact that I had about too many patients and no help. Once I made V.S. rounds, it was time to make the next rounds, not to include all of the other things I had to do with patients (baths, changes) etc. I just couldn't take it. It really put a sour taste in my mouth (as far as nursing). But, I had to realize that it was just my one experience at that hospital, and also, CNAs have a different job than nurses.
  11. by   jb2u
    Quote from jemommy
    I would never become a CNA again either. I was on the Med Surg floor at a hospital and I just had a horrible experience. It really wasn't the staff at all, it was just the fact that I had about too many patients and no help. Once I made V.S. rounds, it was time to make the next rounds, not to include all of the other things I had to do with patients (baths, changes) etc. I just couldn't take it. It really put a sour taste in my mouth (as far as nursing). But, I had to realize that it was just my one experience at that hospital, and also, CNAs have a different job than nurses.
    I understand how you feel. Have you ever considered working as a home health aide. It is a one on one interaction that allows you to provide outstanding care. I know of several CNA's that work as HHA and they love their job, just not the driving around.
  12. by   chadash
    Quote from PeachPie
    I finally got into nursing school (YAY!!!!!) and I'm starting to get job offers to work with hospitals as a CNA. However, my experience working as a CNA in LTC was so bad that it drove me to waiting tables and I've sworn never to work LTC ever again. I'm very apprehensive about becoming a CNA again. Don't get me wrong, I loved the residents, and I don't mind "dirty work," it's other things I'm scared of.

    -Due to high turnover and extremely low pay, the only people left were people with extremely bad attitudes and often played leperosy treatment with you, smirking in your face when you asked them to help you transfer the 400-lb resident. I was also singled out for my race, being the tattle target (the same people who wouldn't wipe down residents and talked on their cell phones all day were the first ones to report me, often directly to the ADON). When I resigned, I got a lot of people coming up to me saying, "Sorry for all the stuff you had to go through. White girls never last here."

    -Toxic work environment. The ADON actually encouraged drama and tole me that she didn't blame them for refusing to help me, as I obviously didn't do my work. God, that ADON was a lady Hitler. I remember witnessing a "meeting (Jerry Springer-esque)" in which a sweet old Nigerian CNA (one of the best I've ever met) was trying to bring up the fact that nobody would help her either. The other CNAs ganged up on her and were shouting insults, with the ADON just laughing and telling her that she'd have to earn their trust. I hope that she ends up in a nursing home run like the one she's running.

    -People who are violent as a result of dementia or just act demented once you call the charge nurse reporting violence. I was bitten, kicked, slapped, scratched, and worst of all, had the crap beaten out of me by a severely paranoid schizophrenic woman whose family wanted to "mainstream" her, never mind the fact that she should have been in a setting with trained professionals. Nothing was ever done about any of the violent episodes. As the baby boomers get older, elders are making up a large percentage of the population. I don't hate elders by any means, but I absolutely dread the difficult dementia patients who think that you're raping them and go for your jugular.

    -High patient-to-staff ratios. In the nursing home, 95% of the people were fully dependent and many were overweight and required 2 people, so this was a problem, as people only helped you if you groveled.

    Please tell me that most places are better than where I worked.
    I have to be honest. I have seen things and experienced things in some LTC facilities that I don't tell people, because I know they just would not believe me. The employees could be even more threatening than the demented patients. OY.
    I wish I could tell you what is wrong, what could make it better.
  13. by   bethin
    Quote from chadash
    I have to be honest. I have seen things and experienced things in some LTC facilities that I don't tell people, because I know they just would not believe me. The employees could be even more threatening than the demented patients. OY.
    I wish I could tell you what is wrong, what could make it better.
    Ditto. There are things I saw and heard as a student CNA that I would never tell anyone. In my experience, in some cases (not all) the nurse, CNA, etc. instigates the patients. I'm not saying the OP did this but I've seen it happen.

    All LTC facilities are not like this. You just have to be very picky and ask around as to which are the best. Also, in most states there is a website that lists all nursing homes in the state and their status. It will tell you whether or not they have any serious infractions pending against them. You could google it or check your state board of health website.
  14. by   pagandeva2000
    I am truly sorry that you experienced this during your job as a CNA. However, I also want to say that being a nurse will not change these things that much, either. I have been a CNA, Phlebotomist, Medical Assistant, Patient Care Associate (similar to Medical Assistant), and now, an LPN. Nursing from the top down can be about pettiness, back stabbing and stories very similar to yours. This is not to say that each experience will be something to fear, but that at times, depending on who you are working with, the stress can compound because the responsibility escalates.

    Think positive about your next experience, and be aware of your surroundings and the personalities of people around you. If you see a dangerous sign, then, try and leave the job. I wish you luck!

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