RN's forced to do CNA work

  1. 0
    I am a new nurse and was wondering if this is a standard practice. When my floor needs to use a CNA to sit with a patient, they often have an RN take on the CNA's job for that shift. The RN no longer does any RN work for that shift, they only do what the CNA would do. Their pay stays the same but their duties change for that shift.

    I have great respect for CNA's. They have an essential and very hard job, but I don't want to be one. That's not what I went to school for. Is this a normal practice?

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  2. 84 Comments...

  3. 0
    I won't say its normal but it does happen, depending on what the unit needs at that time. Once in a while, I don't mind. If it happens to you frequently, I would bring it up to your NM.
  4. 18
    Seems like a foolish waste of resources.

    Frankly, if this is how they're going to divvy up staff, I'D offer to sit with the 1:1 patient and have the CNA do her job as normal. Seems you should get your preference, if you're not going to be functioning as an RN that shift, what YOU'D like to do: sit with patient or be floor CNA.

    There were times as a floor nurse I would've KILLED to sit with a 1:1 patient instead of running a full patient assignment!
    GrnTea, Anoetos, PNWRN, and 15 others like this.
  5. 3
    This is silly. It would make more sense to have the nurse on the floor with her own assignment (so everyone has a lighter assignment) and then those nurses who don't have a CNA assigned to them just do everything for their patients. That's how we did it when I worked in the hospital.
    JBudd, caroladybelle, and noahsmama like this.
  6. 32
    Yes I have seen that done. There is no reason for an RN to not do patient care.Just because you have RN after your name you are not "too good" to be doing patient care.Where I work many floors have no aids.Guess who does the care?
    HMAmara, Elladora, DogWmn, and 29 others like this.
  7. 30
    I work in a medical ICU, we do not have any nursing assistants most of the time. I was a CNA for 5+ years before going to nursing school. The term "CNA" work is really really insulting. NURSING begins with the basics. This includes being a sitter, or feeding someone, or bathing, or even, heaven forbid, wiping some poo. It is repulsive to hear any nurse make these types of statements. No I do not personally like doing a lot of the things that I do, but it is all part of promoting dignity for the patient.
    Last edit by Five&Two Will Do on Sep 29, '12 : Reason: spelling
    Rose_Queen, PNWRN, Elladora, and 27 others like this.
  8. 24
    Quote from Five&Two Will Do
    I work in a medical ICU, we do not have any nursing assistants most of the time. I was a CNA for 5+ years before going to nursing school. The term "CNA" work is really really insulting. NURSING begins with the basics. This includes being a sitter, or feeding someone, or bathing, or even, heaven forbid, wiping some poo. It is repulsive to hear any nurse make these types of statements. No I do not personally like doing a lot of the things that I do, but it is all part of promoting dignity for the patient.
    Repulsive? This is more than a little harsh.

    The OP wasn't demeaning the work of the CNA, simply saying that she preferred doing the work she WOULD be doing if there had been a sitter available for the 1:1. She would have a nurse's assignment, and of course she'd be doing whatever patient care was necessary, that wasn't in dispute. But patient assessment and meds, treatments, dressings are NOT part of the CNA's job, so...why should she NOT be working as a nurse when that's what she is?

    I believe you've jumped to unwarranted criticisms of the OP.....after all, you said you were a CNA for 5+ years before going to nursing school, so surely you must have WANTED to be a nurse--and presumably be allowed to do the WORK of a nurse, yes? Why disparage the OP?
    llg, FecesOccurs, DizzyLizzyNurse, and 21 others like this.
  9. 2
    Quote from KelRN215
    This is silly. It would make more sense to have the nurse on the floor with her own assignment (so everyone has a lighter assignment) and then those nurses who don't have a CNA assigned to them just do everything for their patients. That's how we did it when I worked in the hospital.
    Have worked this way, too. We never used an RN exclusively as a CNA, but would divide the number of patients by the total number of nurses and go from there. Less patients per nurse made getting all the cares done easier.
    FutureRNGreen and JZ_RN like this.
  10. 10
    I hardly think disparage is a word that would rate my comment appropriately. All I am saying is that "patient assessment and meds, treatments, dressings" are only part of the entire nursing practice. Do you think that each level of licensure builds upon the last? I do not think it is acceptable to promote the concept that once one has the letters RN after his or her name, it removes the responsibility for the lower level duties of the nursing practice. You clearly share the OP's opinion. The beauty of the autonomous practice of nursing is that you can do it how you see fit. I know for certain that the largest hospital in this city will flex nurses home and have them use their PTO if the census is low enough to allow a nurse to be a sitter. Surely it is better to do "CNA work" and get paid RN $. I do think it is repulsive for an RN to make it seem as though their title means that they should no longer have to do the CNA work. I went to school to expand my scope of practice. That does not mean eliminate part of it. Sorry if you disagree and sorry also to the OP if I was too harsh.
  11. 2
    We don't even have aids on our unit. My friends that work med/surg say this happens all the time.
    joanna73 and Fiona59 like this.


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