I posted a thread previously detailing my experiences starting out as a CNA in a LTC facility and how I quit as a result of the harassment and bullying from fellow aides. I was 3 weeks in and very new and inexperienced, and therefore struggling to keep up with a heavy workload (although I was getting better) and the other aides gave me a hard time because of it. I was routinely given dirty looks, talked down to, badmouthed, even screamed at and cussed out a few times. I was doing my best to tough it out until one day, I was on my lunch break at my other job when I received a threatening phone call from another aide; she was yelling at me and threatening to call the cops on me for something I didn't even do. I was still in the orientation/probationary period and left without giving notice, which I realize now was the wrong thing to do but I was quite upset at the time and not thinking straight, and was being advised to just leave immediately by people concerned for my safety -- if it was that bad to the point where I was getting called up on the phone and threatened, who's to say I wouldn't get beaten up or something the next time I went there?
The DoN actually called me a few days later asking what happened and wanting me to come back, but unfortunately I'd already gone back to my original schedule at my old job working in fast food. She described me as having a "heart of gold" but needing to work on having a tougher exterior, and told me that apparently a nurse had put in a good word for me -- saying that she'd never seen two brand new aides work together as well as a friend and I did one night, which surprised me cause I honestly felt like I was pretty lousy. I did agree to go back as a PRN employee, but I am barely working there anymore and honestly I can't say I'd be surprised (or blame them) if they wind up laying me off entirely due to there not being work available for me.
My question is, if I decide to work elsewhere as a CNA, either in home health or at another LTC facility, will I even be able to? I'm worried that my bad history at this facility will follow me around and cause problems with me getting another job, that they'll contact them and find out I left without giving notice and not hire me as a result, in which case I realize it's no one's fault but my own. I just have a whole lot of regrets about this whole set of circumstances and wish I'd done things differently. I usually pride myself on being a good person and always trying to do the right thing, but unfortunately here is one situation where I didn't. I wish I'd stuck around and toughed it out, not let the bullies get to me and kept at it until I got better, but unfortunately that didn't happen. I'm working 5 days a week at my fast food job and while I don't mind it there and I'm treated very well by everyone, I'd rather not work in fast food forever. My original goal was to have a career taking care of the sick or elderly and one I'd still like to pursue one day if possible.
Mar 7, '13
There were also some things that happened which made me wonder if maybe I'm just not fit to be in nursing... Shortly after I first started, I had just given a resident a shower and was in the process of transferring him back to bed when he slipped out of his wheelchair and fell. Thankfully, he was OK and there were no injuries, but it still made me feel really bad. It made me think about how much worse things could've been -- if a resident had gotten hurt or suffered because of a mistake I made, I'd never get over it. It also bothered me how a lot of times, due to the understaffing and heavy workload, it was so difficult to provide proper care to these poor people -- a problem I've heard is almost universal in nursing homes, sadly.
Mar 7, '13
To me it sounds like you have a confidence issue. You need to realize that you can do this. You sound like a caring, empathetic, compassionate person. The right kind of person to be in this line of work. You have to realize that you are just what the residents need. Even if you're only giving a partiular resident 5 minutes of care, at least you're giving them the sense that someone cares. Afterall, isn't that why you chose to do this in the first place?
Mar 8, '13
3 weeks isnt nearly enough time to find out how good a CNA you can be. Give it at least 3 months. Everyone sucks their first 3 weeks, some people are just better at hiding that fact. Like they say, fake it til you make it.
Sounds to me like you just had the coworkers from hell. I've never cussed out a new CNA or even raised my voice with one, and Ive worked with some that were pretty horrible at first. CNAs can be pretty nasty to each other though, a lot worse than RNs from what Ive seen. You just have to let things like that roll off you. If someone says something nasty, let it go in one ear and out the other. At the end of the day its the RNs and LPNs that call the shots in LTC, not the CNAs, so while you can try to get along, ultimately their opinions are not make or break.
Yes it helps to have tough skin, but that doesnt mean you have to change who you are. I've always been teased about being a boyscout my whole life, but I've never changed. Not even when I was in the military and was a squad leader in an infantry battalion. Just be who you are, do the best you can, and dont stop caring about your patients and residents.
Mar 12, '13
Don't give up on being an aide. It does sound as though you had bully co workers. NEVER loose your compassion and caring attitude, it is what will keep you going on the hard days, but NEVER let another CNA steamroll you like that again. I always was told in the beginning that I needed to get thick skin, toughen up, etc. I realized I didn't need to get a hard, unbreakable exterior as some were suggesting, I just needed to gain confidence and stand up for myself. I do a good job and I know I do, although constructive criticism is always welcome, if one berates me, accuses me w/o cause, or attempts to bully me I do not tolerate it for one moment. Now that I have this outlook I hardly ever run into issues anymore. I also no longer allow other people's negative outlook influence my energy. Sorry I got off on a bit of a tangent but you sound like the kind of CNA I was in the beginning and I do not want you to throw in the towel just yet! Try a new LTC, since the DON wanted you back its doubtful she would give you a poor reference
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