I love getting to know my residents. If you think about it, what we do is really pretty cool - not many people get to see so many people in such an intimate way as we do. I don't mean that in a creepy way, just that we see people at their most vulnerable, and they trust us. I think you gain a lot of perspective as a CNA.
I love knowing that my job does matter. When I worked in retail, it always bothered me to think about the fact that really, if I wasn't there, no one would be terribly effected. The toy aisle might be a little more messy, but that's about it. That caused very low job satisfaction. As a CNA, even when a day is stressful, it helps to know that your residents/patients NEED you and that your presence makes a big difference in their day.
I don't like how so many facilities do not provide proper staffing for resident safety. Nothing makes you feel more terrible than having a resident fall on your watch, even if it couldn't be prevented. Unfortunately, especially in LTC where half of your patients or more are fall risks, it's going to happen once in a while, because we just can't be in five places at once.
I don't like when some nurses and supervisors don't listen to me if I make a comment about a patient's condition changing. I may be "just a CNA", but I spend more time with that patient on a daily basis than anyone else does. I get to know my residents very well, and if I notice something is wrong, please listen. Now, most of the nurses I have worked with are awesome and listen to what I have to say, but every now and then you get someone who thinks you're incompetant.
I also don't like the misconception that night shift "doesn't do anything". BULL. I have worked all three shifts, and none of them is inherently easy. Night shift might be a little more laid back, but believe me - not everyone sleeps. I often have at least one or two wanderers that I have to spend most of my night chasing after. At night you are also more likely to have confusion and behaviors. You have to do bedchecks on people that don't want to be bothered who will inevitably get cranky with you. I try to get as many people ready for dayshift as I can, but sometimes keeping an eye on that wandering dementia patient and keeping them from getting hurt or wandering into someone else's room is most important.
I work in a Memory Enhancement Center. It is for residents who are in the early to mid stages of Alzheimers/dementia, but are otherwise in pretty good health. It is similar to an assisted living facility - there are some that are pretty independent, there are some that need some help. The fact that they are mostly in good health means that we can focus more on the behavioral side of things. I absolutely LOVE my job. I have worked in nursing homes and a hospital, and I can't recommend assisted living/memory care enough!