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.

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights: Student Edition newsletter.

  2. 13 Comments...

  3. 1
    seattlerainsun likes this.
  4. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 1
    a c.n.a. does everything that you can imagine. except pass meds, do treatments (things nurses do)
    sing_anyway likes this.
  10. 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. 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.

Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors