Starting my CNA on the 14th!! Advice please? :)

  1. 0
    Hello all!
    I have been creeping around and finally decided to post!
    I recently got accepted into st. john's specialty care center's cna program (LTC facility in Mars, PA) and am super excited but also sooo nervous! I have wanted to do this for soooo long...my lifelong goal is to help people and do something that matters. I used to be a manager at subway, and always knew that it wasn't the job for me...making sandwiches just doesn't fulfill me or make any difference for anyone.
    The first two weeks of the class are clinicals (which takes place on 7-3) and then after that I will be shadowing for a couple weeks and go onto my shift on 3-11. Does anyone have any advice or similar situation or words of encouragement? I am so worried about the whole experience... I think just because I have wanted to do it for so long that I finallly got my chance. 3-11 is also going to be a big adjustment for me since my last job (manager at subway) was all daylight and the latest I worked was 7. I also feel worried about the "ick" factor of the job...I don't want bodily functions to deter me from my dreams...I think it will just be the initial exposure. Poop and pee really don't bother me, I just worry because any gross smell makes me gag!! That is one of my worst nightmares! So to sum it all up...
    Experiences on 3 to 11 to share?
    How to overcome the gag reflex and not make anyone uncomfortable?
    Is the CNA class hard, going out onto the floor a big adjustment?
    Anyone out there love their job (compassionate people like me)
    Thanks in advance guys!! Really appreciate any comments, experiences of encouragement.
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  4. 9 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    Your class seems very different then a normal cna class. Yours seems more of an orinatation for a job that you will be doing. Is there any class room time? Usually we do not have clinicals till close to the end of our classes because you have to learn things, and the clinicals are the time you put what have learned into practice. When would you be taking your states test?

    As for the gross part of CNA work, I as well was very nervous about my gagging problems, and not wanting anyone to feel bad because it is not like they can help it or anything. so far I have been fine and have been able to handle it. I think that it just takes time and experiance with it. You might be surprised that if you focus on the task at hand and try not to think of it you might do ok.

    3-11 shift is not too bad of a shift. I did not work those hours as a cna, but in a factory mon-fri with some sat. I would go to bed right after getting home and usually sleep till 8-9. Sometimes knowing that you could not do evening activities stinks, but if you only work 3 or 4 days during the week it would not be to bad. The one thing that bothered me thoughis that I felt my day was so split up, and I had to constantly watch the clock if I was out doing things to make sure I was not going to be running late for work. If I had any type of appointments, I'd make them late morning so if they were running late I would not be in a panic that I would not get to work on time.

    I do love being a CNA. I work for a Home Care and I love it. Like you discribed it is more fulfilling of a job for me. I see it as if I have to work and be away from my family what better then to be helping someone that really needs me.


    Good Luck with everything I am sure you will do just fine.
    1feistymama likes this.
  6. 1
    Thanks so much for the reply!!
    As for the class total time is for 2 weeks... first few days are classroom work and then off to clinicals. After the two weeks of the class, you go onto a floor for 2 weeks to a month and then during that time you take your certification testing. (all is paid for by the facility). My only worry is that the class is a short period of time. The woman that interviewed me was the teacher of the class, and she was really cool and super nice...so that is always a plus...she said she tests every single day so that the skills test is easy when it comes time for certification. I am really excited to be getting paid to get training all while having a job directly afterwards.
    For ick factor I think you are right..I will be so concerned with making someone uncomfortable that I think I can handle myself...last thing on earth I want to do is hurt someone's feelings!! I have heard about using vicks vaporub under the nose which I am definitely going to try...its really just smells that get me so if I can't smell it no worries. haha
    Thanks so much
    1feistymama likes this.
  7. 0
    I see so you are still learning while being on the floor. Yes I'd be a little nervous too with only a few days of the book learning. we took weeks of two or three days to get threw the book stuff, but hey they must be sucessful doing it this way, or they would do it differently. It sounds great, and like you said you know you have a job at the end of it all!! Hey I also would suggest maybe just a good smelling hand lotion around your nose as well if you don't want to smell like vicks. Something that helped me too if i thought that I might be starting to want to gag, I would start to clear my throat, or cough a little. That seemed to stop the need to gag.
    Last edit by mvm2 on May 8, '13
  8. 1
    First of all congratulations!!! Your situation is similar to mine, I worked from day one by shadowing and then jumping in after a few days with class once a week for a month and half. I think this is a really good way to learn; hands on experience is how I learn best and when it comes to state testing you will be a lot better on your practical side of testing since you actually spent weeks doing everything rather than just a few days in clinicals.

    For your "ick" factors I don't really know how to tell you to prepare yourself. I just went in and waited to see how things would go for me. I learned that I had a strong stomach and that it didn't bother me any. However maybe you could try to apply a little of that Vicks Vapor Rub below your nose, and during your training time do your best to stay in the room but step out if you are feeling sick step out of the room and try not show any issue in front of the resident as it will create a more embarrassing situation for them.

    For the 3 to 11 shift I couldn't tell you how that will be I trained on days and then went to nights.

    The CNA class won't be that hard it is a lot of common sense, now there is some stuff that is more in depth but most of it is common sense. As for my job I absolutely love it, now don't get me wrong there are times that I just want to run. But for me it is all about my residents, when I leave at the end of the day if I was able to make just one of their days better then I feel accomplished. Best of luck, you will do great!
    1feistymama likes this.
  9. 0
    Thanks blwiliams10! I am so glad there is someone else with the immediate hands on experience...seems everyone else has taken a class thru community college. But why pay for it when you can get paid to do it on top of having employment?
    I am so glad to hear you love your job. I have wanted to do it for years and finally got the chance! I like that you were realistic about there reallly are days you want to just run away...I expect that but my gut tells me that I will love doing this. I love people in general. When you went from days to nights did you mean you went to nocs? The facility I am going to be working at has all shifts available, but I think they may start their new cna's on the 3 to 11 because it does seem slower paced. So I am thankful for that... 7 to 3 seemed a bit overwhelming the few times I went in to get TB testing.
    I really appreciate the encouragement and you sharing your story with me!!
  10. 0
    I do agree why pay for the training when you can receive it while being paid.

    I know what you mean, I had wanted to go into nursing for a while and was stuck doing something I didn't want to do so when the opportunity came up I jumped on it and never regretted it.

    Yes I did go to noc when I changed shifts, I started on 6am to 2pm then went over to 10pm to 6am. I really like noc it took a bit to adjust to the sleep schedule but I work with great people and am given lots of opportunities to learn from them. Since I have never worked evenings I couldn't say for sure on how it would be, but it would be dependent on your resident load and how many total cares, etc you would have. On nights I have about 20 residents to take care of, while on days I had 7 to 10 residents. I think evenings would be a good place to learn though since you would have a smaller resident load to deal with and you only have 1 meal pass.

    You sound like your in it for the right reasons and that will make the difference! Also if you ever feel like you getting overwhelmed take a second to catch your breath and calm yourself. No one expects you to be perfect when you first start out!
  11. 0
    I start a weekend program in 3 weeks. I so wish I could get paid and be guaranteed a job, but my situation doesn't allow for that.

    In my program (California), we have 12 6-hour lectures (not much more than your 2 weeks) and then we have 28 8-hour clinicals. This is a private school, but the curriculum hours are governed by the state which is why I mentioned which state. Much more time is given to clinicals which is probably the best way to spend our time. Most people learn much better when hands-on and in our case, this will literally be hands-on.

    Best of luck to you!! I hope the facility turns out to be an excellent one and you are happy there. I'm also leaving the business world because it isn't satisfying. I work for a paycheck, not for the love of the job.

    Many years ago, I taught preschool and the work was extremely rewarding but the pay wasn't there. I'm now pursuing RN and plan to work as a CNA through school. I have no doubt working with patients will be rewarding --- we will all go home at the end of a shift knowing full well that we helped someone. I had that when teaching and look forward to having it again. CNA pays better than preschool, but not as well as Business. RN pays better than what I make today so the ultimate goal is to love my job AND get paid well. Everyone should be so lucky!! =)
  12. 0
    1feistymama:
    I am so glad that i am not the only one making a HUGE career change...from food management to the nursing world. I was so unhappy feeling as if I was making no difference for anyone. Making a sandwich and taking inventory is not exactly helping people. Also working for just a paycheck is so miserable!! Good luck in your CNA journey and through school...you are definitely making the right decision... you sound very committed. Lets keep posting and keep each other updated through our journeys since we are both starting around the same time. I'll let you know how mine is going since I start a couple weeks ahead of you.
  13. 0
    You will get to a point when the smells just don't bother you anymore.
    I can clean a resident covered in poo and then go to dinner afterwards without a thought about it.

    Until you get to that point, the vicks thing may help but, I used to put a strong mint or a cough drop in my mouth at the slightest hint of an "ick" situation.

    or Hold your breath, when u need to inhale put your nose in your arm sleeve as if you're going to sneeze.
    I still can't clean up vomit without gagging (happens rarely), so both of these still work for me.


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