CNA training scared the he** outta me!!!

  1. I didn't want to write a big post about the issue but to sum it up in a nutshell, today was 1st day with my own assignment of 8 people from 2 wk CNA orientation. Didn't get to take break or lunch. Feet and back are aching outa this world and I don't make half of what I was making as a boring accountant. I miss that 9-5 no weekend, overtime or holiday job. I became a CNA so that it would make it easier in nursing school and so that I can work while going to NS full time in the day. Now I'm regretting ever thinking of going to nursing school. If it's going to be like this then I don't know if I'm gonna last. I love the patients that I take care of at the LTC facility that I work at and my coworkers so far are cool but you just don't get paid nearly as much as this job is worth. I love taking care of people or so I thought. I feel like a selfish person for thinking this way but I think I should have gone straight into NS and bypassed CNA work because I'm scared as hell thinking that the rest of the years that I have to work will be filled with stressed out no break taking, back breaking, days of guarding my license and not seeing any holidays. Is Nursing like CNA work or is it worse? I will be working at UPMC in Pittsburgh so any thoughts on this would be GREATLY appreciated.
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   WickedRedRN
    No mistake about it, being a CNA is a HARD job. But, when you are a nurse, you will have such an appreciation for what CNA's do. I worked as a CNA during nursing school, yes it is hard, low paid work. But I learned alot about basic care, ambulation, and such. I also learned alot by observing the nurses. Most were great and would take the time to tell me what they were doing and why. I also learned how NOT to treat CNA's when I became a nurse.

    Don't be discouraged. I know its rough, but the experience you will get from this is priceless.
  4. by   prowlingMA
    Being a nurses Aid was the hardest, most gut wrenching, back breaking, most rewarding, most wonderful thing I ever did.
    Having been out for 2= years there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about my former patients, the lessons of life that I learned, and how greatful I am to be in a " cleaner" job
  5. by   GingerSue
    your breaks are important, and so you must create ways to ensure that you take you breaks.

    do not omit meals

    as for back-breaking work -- maybe this'll help -- one of my first jobs was in a facility where it was usual to have to transfer a lot of patients from bed to wheelchair, to have to get 2 other staff to assist a 3-person lift/transfer, use of mechanical lifts -- and that is what I became used to in the work environment (lifting, transferring safely, and co-operative work with other staff: I really liked the spirit of cooperation, and this is something that I know that I look forward to again. Never did I think "this is back-breaking" - it just didn't occur to me, I liked my job and co-workers.

    same when I had a night shift job in a LTC facility, going on rounds 3 times/night turning everybody - I liked the satisfaction that I knew the patients were all getting attention and good care during the night. It's energizing.

    Why do you find it back-breaking? Is it perhaps that you have a lot of patients to care for? Is it that you need to know how to use mechanical lifts, or that others are needed to assist? What might be the reasons?

    I hope there are some solutions for you.
  6. by   lovingtheunloved
    Perhaps it's back breaking because you're not used to it. And I can't stress enough the importance of body mechanics. Raise that bed up when you're giving care. Don't bend over if you don't have to. Keep your feet nice and spread out. Lift sheets/pads/etc. are your friends. Once you get the hang of it, it really does get easier.

    I've been a CNA for three years, and will be a LPN this summer. I will miss being a CNA. I love this job.
  7. by   WickedRedRN
    Agree with lovingtheunloved....it's like starting a workout program when you aren't used to it. Give it a couple of weeks and you will probably feel better.

    Also agree with the poster who stressed body mechanics. Make sure you use your lifts and get help. You have to take care of your back.
  8. by   RNperdiem
    I was a CNA before I became a nurse, and the 2 jobs are not the same. I found the CNA to be more of a physical challenge. My shift started with a mental checklist of things to get done. Critical thinking was less of an issue.
    Nursing challenges are more mental than physical(sometimes). The weight of responsibility and good judgement is a heavy weight. You are trully responsible for another person, or more likely several, and are held accountable.
  9. by   lauralassie
    CNA was the most difficult work I've ever done. After being a nurse for almost 30 years now, I think I would go flip hamburgers before I did that job again. BUT !, Lorirn2b hit the nail on the head. It will also give you not only a good back ground on orginization, pt care, treatments etc. it will also give you an understanding of what other people do in the feild. Even after 30 years, I see a PCA running their tail off and I can't help but to go and help them, (because I still remember what it was like). It also will give you a good background on the difference in job discriptions of CNA and RN. :spin:
  10. by   marilynmom
    Working as a CNA and an RN are not the same.

    I work as a nurse assistant and I pretty much hate the job of a CNA (NOT the patients! I do enjoy my patients). It is just not for me at all. I love my clinicals though in nursing school....totally different work than a CNA so please don't let your CNA work discourage you, because it is not what an RN does. We do 12 hour clinical shifts, last time I had 3 patients and I loved it! I have enjoyed every second of my clinicals for nursing school.

    I can say the experience has been good for me, I respect the hard work of the aides and will never forget how hard they work for so little. It is not an easy job.

    I work in a hospital. Some floors are not bad at all, some (like Med/Surg and Cardio/Pulmonary) are horrible because I have a ton of patients that need something constantly. I never sit down. I have been abe to see a lot of things and it has helped me be more assertive with patients and get a feel for the hospital environment. It still sucks though....lol.
  11. by   ZootRN
    We don't have CNA's in ICU, so please don't think once you are RN, you'll never wipe another behind :roll
  12. by   jannrn
    I became a CNA when I was 16 and at one time worked for an agency that sent me to facilities all over town, even some private homes for 1:1 care. Believe me, not all places are the same!! If you feel overworked in one place, look around, you may find something else you like more or where the pt load is more manageable. One is assisted living. sometimes that is more laid back and not as labor intensive. One time I worked a shift at a psychiatric facility. I've also spent 24 hrs in a pt home (she provided a bed and called when needed). Once it was just to help a pt to her commode at night after a hip replacement. (so she could be in her home and not a rehab facility) When I was in agency, there were some places I refused to go back to for the reason you are saying. It was too difficult to get the pt even minimal care and actually breathe let alone for you to go to the bathroom!! I also found I did enjoy hospital work better once I was able to get a job there. sometimes I was asked to be a sitter for a pt. Sometimes it was the most boring job! sometimes I was kept busy keeping the pt from pulling out lines or cleaning up diarrhea every hour. I enjoy helping people no matter but it does help to have a reasonable assignment, and variety can be nice too. In the nursing home it can be nice however to get to know the residents. (which is sometimes difficult if you are agency)
    good luck! It will probably get easier once you are more used to the routine, job expectations, and everything comes without much thought.
  13. by   jannrn
    another thought is that you might find better pay with an agency, (they may require more experience though) and that with agency you can be on-call which is a flexible way to work around going to school. the bad thing is not having the insurance a full-time job gives. agency will offer insurance but you have to work a certain number of hours, and it may be more expensive on your end.

    One CNA I worked with worked 12 hour night shifts (full-time) while going to nursing school. (and homeschooled her 2 boys) It was crazy and I don't recommend it. But I have to agree that she was one of the best CNA's I have ever worked with. Her job was on a family birth center so she got to work with new moms/babies. I would have loved a job like that as a CNA! When she graduated from nursing school she could have stayed on the unit but instead went for something different on a telemetry unit. (much more challenging, but she was up for it!)

    Another job that could be available is one we are hiring for. It is for a CNA who can be unit secretary on our med/surg unit. the cna is for occasional help on the unit, but other than that it is phones, paperwork, helping the nurse manager out. it is called a unit assistant. tue-sat 11am to 7:30pm.
    it could be a dream cna job for someone. so my point is, not all cna jobs are the same, you could find one that pays better and has better working conditions, even one where it is so slow you could get alot of studying done!! you have to be patient, get your experience, (some say 'do your time') and keep looking!
  14. by   mom2michael
    Here is my background during NS.....I started out in a nice little NICU being a US and why I left, I will never understand but I wanted more patient care and involvement....so I went to an ER. LOVED the ER but that is what I've done for 10+ years is emergency services in some capacity or another so it was my niche. Long story short, this place wouldn't hire a new grad in the ER so I went on my final semester of NS to a Medical Cardiac floor so that I could have a job when I graduated (much bigger facility, many GN positions, etc....).

    Let me tell you - not a day went by that I didn't curse my job as a tech on that floor. I loved the patients and the people I worked with - but the work was exhausting. I cried every single night all the way home. On my way to work, I would have to stop at a min. of 1 restroom, sometimes 2 because I would get IBS from the stress of that job. It sucked and I hated it but I kept on trucking because I knew that I was learning valuable lessons that would only help me in the end....boy was I right.

    Now...I am an GN on this floor (same place I hated as a tech) and I love it. Yes, the work is long, tiring and exhausting, but it's different now. I appreciate the techs more. Yes, I do my far share of butt wipping a shift, that hasn't changed, but it's 1 or 2 butts a shift rather than 12, which makes a whole lotta difference. The work I do now is more mentally exhausting than physically exhausting, which I think makes a huge difference.

    So, in a round about way, what I'm trying to say is stick with it. It may seem like the worse job ever but you'll learn a lot about people, your co-workers, how to treat patients, you'll learn docs handwritting, you'll learn about doctors. You'll learn so much doing this job and when you are done and ready to move on to being a nurse, you'll have a much better understanding of it all....I promise.

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