What does a CNA REALLY do?

  1. 0 I'm going to be starting nursing school in August. I have been accepted into a CNA training program that starts next week. I thought it would be good work experience & would be some income to get through school. However, I've been strongly advised that the nurse aide job will burn me out before I even begin nursing, jeopardizing sticking with the grueling class schedule. Can someone please tell me what the actual job duties are for a nurse aide vs. an RN?? Is it mainly wiping backsides and cleaning pee and :uhoh21:vomit like I'm being told??? I apologize if I sound ignorant. Thanks.
  2. Visit  cz890 profile page

    About cz890

    Joined Jul '08; Posts: 9.

    13 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  shrimpchips profile page
    1
    seattlerainsun likes this.
  4. Visit  TiggerBelly profile page
    2
    As far as being a CNA burning you out, that depends on you. For me. working as an aide and as a tech has taught me alot about patient care, how to remain calm when things get crazy and I think gives me an advantage over someone who has never worked in the healthcare industry. When I decided I wanted to go to nursing school, I was working in retail and had been doing so for almost 10 years. Being an aide was my opportunity to see what goes on and if I really wanted to pursue the whole nursing thing.
    What you will be doing depends on where you work. If you work on a Med/Surg type unit your duties will probably include- assisiting patients with bathing and toileting, helping to feed, changing linens, and transporting patients to and from different procedures (ie- Xray, CT so on and so on). Also you will be responsible for taking vital signs and assisiting the nurses with various tasks.
    seattlerainsun and imafostermom like this.
  5. Visit  rancelumsden profile page
    2
    Everyone who responds will give you a different answer as it depends on where you work.
    I worked in an ambulatory clinic, LTC, and hospital.

    Tiggerbelly gave you a general description of hospital work. Hospital was more 'technical' --- more dealing with various equipment setup/breakdown, lots of vitals and monitoring, some nurse assisting, EKG's (if you're trained as I), 'gopher' work (as in go for this and that to the lab, med room, equipment room), etc. Still cleaned up various bodily fluids, some baths, made beds, changed diapers, feeding, etc.

    In LTC, the 'technical' things were not present. Only took a few vitals during the shift whereas 20% of my hospital shift was vitals and computer entry. Much more toileting and bathing in LTC --- in hospital, there are not shower areas where you take the patients. Showers are only used if ambulatory. Lots of feeding residents in LTC, not so much in hospital.
    As far as bodily fluids, much more in hospital. LTC was a lot of diaper changing, but hospital had many more fluids (G I bleed is everyone's favorite).
    Large difference between hospital and LTC --- too many differences to detail all.
    Regardless of venue, yes, it's hard, dirty, physcially demanding work. Can you do this and go to school? Up to you.

    But, if you can't deal with bodily fluids, blood, ulcers, potential exposure to various diseases including TB, you do not belong in nursing...
    Madsmommy and imafostermom like this.
  6. Visit  cz890 profile page
    0
    This job offer is in a LTC facility. I've had experience with body fluids, etc. years ago as a dental assistant.

    Are there any other positions in the healthcare field other than nurse aide that would provide good work experience while someone is studying for the LPN/RN?
  7. Visit  FutureNurse23 profile page
    3
    I have now been a CNA for less than a month. But believe me I have caught on to the benefits of LTC verses Hospital fast. I now work in a LTC place and did my clinicals in a hospital. In a hospital setting yes it was more technical; charting vitals, assisting to toileting and feeding didnt take as much time. Since all usually ate in bed. So it was less clothing changing ect. Most usally stayed in a gown in a hospital. Also as a new grad in a hospital setting you are most of the time offered more Buddy days with a preceptor. They don't just throw you in the mix own your own so fast. In the LTC you feed them alot by clothing changes and getting them out of the bed with a lift. Also its alot of diaper changes in a LTC. As a new grad I was offered 1 wk of buddying with a preceptor. I didn't feel like it was enough days. It can be very rewarding. But also it can be a very physical job that seems overwhelming and time consuming. In the LTC place I work at I don't feel like being a CNA helps me with my persuit of becoming a Nurse. Most of the time I don't even communicate with the nurses. I hardly see them in my residents room's unless they are doing a push or passing a med. In a hospital you communicate with the nurses alot more. Also they are in the patient rooms alot more. So you see their practices alot more.If I was in a hospital maybe I would have different feelings about LTC. I would advise CNA's who want to be nurses go to Hospitals. LTC is a good way to get good experience though with time management,feeding,and assisting/transfers to bed, ADL's, and residents attitudes. I believe if you can make it in nursing home settings you can make it anywhere as a CNA.
  8. Visit  crazyNursingStudent1 profile page
    1
    I feel like i am learning alot right now working in a hospital. I work on a med-surg unit and I get to see alot of different things, it can be a pain some days but I think it will help me appreciate my techs one day and help me be a better nurse to start out at the bottom. I start nursing school in august and im still gonna work 32 hrs a week. I think it would be a better choice to work in a hospital, they took me off the street i am not even certified:typing
    sing_anyway likes this.
  9. Visit  cna2lpn80 profile page
    1
    a c.n.a. does everything that you can imagine. except pass meds, do treatments (things nurses do)
    sing_anyway likes this.
  10. Visit  SCraigRN profile page
    1
    you will learn A LOT! i am a nursing student graduating in december and i have been a nurse's aide for the past 5 months. i have gained much confidence in dealing with patients and have learned a lot of skills that will help me when i become a nurse. best of luck to you!
    sing_anyway likes this.
  11. Visit  ZAR963 profile page
    0
    Is it hard to get a job at a hospital as a new grad CNA. I'm planning on doing the training in Dec-Feb and theres a LTC center in my town which usually hires new grads. I'd rather work at a hospital setting (I'm a prenursing student) but I was under the impression that you needed experience to work in a hosptial.

    I live in northern cali btw, if that makes a difference.
  12. Visit  Brekke profile page
    0
    Quote from cna2lpn80
    a c.n.a. does everything that you can imagine. except pass meds, do treatments (things nurses do)
    When I worked as a CNA, we were trained to give meds? We could do everything that didn't involve sticking anyone, we weren't allowed to give injections. I don't know how it was legal, as we were passing narcotics as well, but apparently CNA's had been passing meds since the unit opened. We had to take a special class in order to pass meds.


    Basically as a CNA, what you can do depends on where you work. Different units or departments have different needs. Where I worked, we did everything. We did the complete patient care, med passing, neb treatments, laundry, meals, activities, etc. All with a CNA to patient ratio of 1/10.
  13. Visit  jb2u profile page
    0
    Quote from Brekke
    When I worked as a CNA, we were trained to give meds? We could do everything that didn't involve sticking anyone, we weren't allowed to give injections. I don't know how it was legal, as we were passing narcotics as well, but apparently CNA's had been passing meds since the unit opened. We had to take a special class in order to pass meds.


    Basically as a CNA, what you can do depends on where you work. Different units or departments have different needs. Where I worked, we did everything. We did the complete patient care, med passing, neb treatments, laundry, meals, activities, etc. All with a CNA to patient ratio of 1/10.
    I would read the nurse practice act for your state, if I were you. The nurse practice act will also tell a nurse what he/she CAN delegate. My hospital can train me, as a nurse, to do minor surgery. That does not mean that it is legal. I would still be held accountable because I am suppose to know and follow the nurse practice act that covers my license!!! I am not saying that you can not do the things that you are doing; I'm just saying, if I were you, I would check to make SURE that it was legal. When I worked as a cna, I did not pass meds, even when asked to by the nurses, because I knew that I was not allowed to. I did not want an incident to arise that would have prevented me from becoming an RN. What would happen if the nurse said, "go give mrs. X some aspirin," and then you go and give it to mrs. Y because that is who you thought she said. Now, let's say that mrs. Y is allergic to aspirin. What now? Always know what you are legally allowed to do?
  14. Visit  Brekke profile page
    0
    Thanks. Not too worried though, as I have long since quit the facility. Medications are only one of a long list of practices that the facility used that I didn't find to be legal, moral or ethical. It is unfortunate for the residents however, as they were the reason I stayed so long.


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