I hated being a CNA, will this mean I'll hate being a nurse?

  1. Hello Everyone,

    I became interested in nursing as a second career, since my first one in fashion was not rewarding and I wanted to help people. I started taking my prerequisites at a local community college and volunteering at the NICU at a nearby hospital. I loved volunteering at the NICU, helping the nurses with restocking their carts, helping them with the tiny neonates and helping families. When I found out that the department was hiring a CNA 2, I immediately went through the CNA 2 certification course (I was a CNA but I did not have much experience) because I wanted to learn more about working in the NICU. However, I was turned down for the job, even though the girls that HR hired did not last long and were afraid to hold and help the babies.

    I was frustrated because I had been volunteering for over a year at the NICU and oversaw projects to help with the department's carts restocking. I was basically doing the NICU CNA 2 job for free. A lady from HR told me that I did not have enough experience to work as the NICU CNA. I was frustrated because I felt so used, and so I decided to quit my volunteering position to focus on gaining more experience as a CNA.

    I got a position at a skilled nursing and long term care facility, where I did my CNA 1 clinical. Right away the CNA 1s were mean to me because I was a CNA 2 without as much experience as them. I had always the worst assignments and if something went wrong I was to blame. I tried helping at my coworkers when I could, like answering their call lights if they were unavailable and my residents were fine. Some of them warmed up to me, but a few still were awful.

    Right away from working with adults I realized that I missed the NICU. I have a hard time caring for grown ups who purposely wrecked their bodies from drug abuse, over eating, lack of exercise, and alcoholism. There are barely any old residents there. Most of them are middle aged to semi-older (35-70 years-of-age). Since I'm new, the residents are not helpful in telling me how I can help them (and they are cognizant and able to verbalize), and they use every excuse to demean me.

    Just from this experience, I realized that I don't want to work in a long term or skilled nursing facility. I miss helping the premies every day I have to work at this place. I find it harder and harder to care for the residents were are demeaning, verbally abusive, and disgustingly lazy (one lady can walk to her refrigerator in her room to get her soda, but not the commode).

    Also the work environment is not good. The nursing staff is hit or miss. Some of the staff has warmed up to me, but the others are still mean. Plus there is always scheduling mishaps, which make it frustrating to know what days I'm working or not.

    I'm going to nursing school in the summer (yay!) but is my experience as a CNA foretelling me what it will be like to be a nurse. Already I've decided that I want to go into NICU nursing. Are nursing specialities with adults like this now? I've worked with parents with babies in the NICU and I feel like I can handle them better than adult patients already.

    Thank you everyone for listening.
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   raindrops1234
    CNA and nursing are two very different jobs, both who have different difficulties. I worked as a CNA before I was a nurse and found that working as a CNA was definitely more exhausting (I worked in a LTC facility where I had to get up 25 patient with the help of another CNA before 0800 before breakfast. Definitely had me running and working out!). I now work as a nurse in a LTC and radiation oncology unit. I have friends who work as nurses in the NICU (as there are no CNA's or LPN's there) and absolutely love it.

    Workplaces differ in regards to cliques, and there are always going to be people who are hard to get along with but just take the high road. Go to work and provide the best care you can, and offer to help your co-workers if you have time!
  4. by   ~♪♫ in my ♥~
    Quote from TinyLilly
    I have a hard time caring for grown ups who purposely wrecked their bodies from drug abuse, over eating, lack of exercise, and alcoholism.
    Few, if any of those residents purposely wrecked their bodies.
    I find it harder and harder to care for the residents were are demeaning, verbally abusive, and...
    There are some of those in every department, even NICU...
    disgustingly lazy
    You come off as terribly judgmental and having a bit of a princess mentality.
  5. by   ArtClassRN
    I suggest finding a different second career.
  6. by   RestlessHeart
    Quote from TinyLilly
    Hello Everyone,

    I became interested in nursing as a second career, since my first one in fashion was not rewarding and I wanted to help people. I started taking my prerequisites at a local community college and volunteering at the NICU at a nearby hospital. I loved volunteering at the NICU, helping the nurses with restocking their carts, helping them with the tiny neonates and helping families. When I found out that the department was hiring a CNA 2, I immediately went through the CNA 2 certification course (I was a CNA but I did not have much experience) because I wanted to learn more about working in the NICU. However, I was turned down for the job, even though the girls that HR hired did not last long and were afraid to hold and help the babies.

    I was frustrated because I had been volunteering for over a year at the NICU and oversaw projects to help with the department's carts restocking. I was basically doing the NICU CNA 2 job for free. A lady from HR told me that I did not have enough experience to work as the NICU CNA. I was frustrated because I felt so used, and so I decided to quit my volunteering position to focus on gaining more experience as a CNA.

    I got a position at a skilled nursing and long term care facility, where I did my CNA 1 clinical. Right away the CNA 1s were mean to me because I was a CNA 2 without as much experience as them. I had always the worst assignments and if something went wrong I was to blame. I tried helping at my coworkers when I could, like answering their call lights if they were unavailable and my residents were fine. Some of them warmed up to me, but a few still were awful.

    Right away from working with adults I realized that I missed the NICU. I have a hard time caring for grown ups who purposely wrecked their bodies from drug abuse, over eating, lack of exercise, and alcoholism. There are barely any old residents there. Most of them are middle aged to semi-older (35-70 years-of-age). Since I'm new, the residents are not helpful in telling me how I can help them (and they are cognizant and able to verbalize), and they use every excuse to demean me.

    Just from this experience, I realized that I don't want to work in a long term or skilled nursing facility. I miss helping the premies every day I have to work at this place. I find it harder and harder to care for the residents were are demeaning, verbally abusive, and disgustingly lazy (one lady can walk to her refrigerator in her room to get her soda, but not the commode).

    Also the work environment is not good. The nursing staff is hit or miss. Some of the staff has warmed up to me, but the others are still mean. Plus there is always scheduling mishaps, which make it frustrating to know what days I'm working or not.

    I'm going to nursing school in the summer (yay!) but is my experience as a CNA foretelling me what it will be like to be a nurse. Already I've decided that I want to go into NICU nursing. Are nursing specialities with adults like this now? I've worked with parents with babies in the NICU and I feel like I can handle them better than adult patients already.

    Thank you everyone for listening.
    Id do everything in my power to make sure you were never ever allowed to treat anybody I know or love. Your post smacks of judgement and your words show it.
  7. by   jennylee321
    The way you are speaking of patients is inappropriate, however they also sound like someone who is experiencing caregiver burnout, so maybe you should not be a CNA anymore.

    Yes nursing is very different than being a CNA, but as a nurse you will deal with those exact same patients who've you've just spoken about. You'll have those patients in med surg, ICU, emerg, ect. So there is really no escaping that. Unless of course you get a job in NICU which might not be possible depending on what positions are available when you graduate. And if you think these patients have destroyed there bodies/health how are you going to deal with moms who have used substances during pregnancy or have obesity/diabetic maternal complications. Just something to think about.

    I'm a NICU nurse and had wanted to be since I was about 15. But I didn't go into nursing thinking, "I'm only doing NICU!". I wasn't going to spend 4 years or nursing tuition on a pipe dream that might not happen. While I was in school I was also interested in a number of other areas, and could of happily worked with adults if needed.
  8. by   FolksBtrippin
    The best NICU nurses are those who want the best outcome for parents and babies together and who understand that every day spent in the NICU would be better spent at home. The nurse's job is to get the baby stable and to educate the parents on how to care for their baby so that the baby can get into a home environment ASAP.

    The worst NICU nurses feel superior to the parents. They judge the parents, gossip about them and feel like the baby is better off with the nurse. They self-righteously delay discharge.

    You must understand that in the NICU you are going to be dealing with chemically dependent mothers, mothers who smoked during pregnancy, mothers with "unhealthy lifestyles". This is going to be your typical situation, not something that happens once in a while.

    You are going to have to understand that babies need their parents, even when their parents are the kind of people you despise.
  9. by   LovingLife123
    I'm going to suggest finding another career. You think those patients are there on purpose? You think that's what they wanted to do with their lives? That would be a big no.

    What makes NICU so vastly different? You think your just cuddling preemie babies all day? Not even close.

    In all honesty, go back to fashion or find a job in organizing stuff since that seems to be your one highlight in healthcare. Maybe the reason nobody ever warmed up to was the way you spoke about patients.
  10. by   pixierose
    Whoa boy.

    Well, I think you're going to need to dial it down quite a few notches when it comes down to dealing with "demeaning" and "disgustingly lazy" adults. As a NICU nurse, you won't be just working with the wee babes. You'll be working with their families.

    And from what my husband (a NICU APRN) has told me over the years, that ain't all rainbows and unicorns ... like any specialty in nursing.

    I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon of "try a new profession." But I think you need to readjust your thinking. These families, patients, people are most likely going through the worst time of their lives. So when they're giving you a hard time, keep this in mind. You get to go home. They don't.
  11. by   fezz
    It's impossible to say. There are so many ways to work as a nurse. I wouldn't say it's a great sign though. I took a full time job as a CNA before applying for nursing school and that's how I knew for sure nursing was for me. I absolutely loved being a CNA and it's a lot of similarities to nursing (working the the hospital, community and nursing homes). In general I think you'll struggle in may areas of nursing with the way you talk about patients. (wrecked their bodies etc).
  12. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    I don't know that you can compare CNA work with nursing, though I'm not a nurse yet. I was a CNA another life ago and I loved working on the floor, but not in an LTC facility - the environment didn't agree with me.

    I would really encourage you to work on your empathy and the ability to put yourselves in the shoes of others. I know it's easy to make snap judgements - we all do. But when we allow those snap judgements to impact how we view and treat people, we behave in a way that's not conducive to giving good care (IMO, of course). You have to focus on the person in front of you, not the ideas you have about people in general regrading addiction/weight.

    You would also do well to remember that addiction is a disease.
  13. by   itsybitsy
    I won't jump on you for your word choices as they are just that, words. To have to do SN/LTAC or even Med-Surg regularly would be enough for me to find a different career. I'm with you there. Adults are no joke and although I would be able to do it, I would never want to.

    As others have pointed out, and as you probably know, there are parents you have to deal with in the NICU, but you aren't providing services to them per-se. Yes, you provide emotional and educational support, but there are limits as with ANY family of any patient in ANY unit of the hospital. Also, the patient comes first, even in family-centered care - the patient is always the patient.

    I would say stick it out to get whatever experience you need from being there and get out.
  14. by   mmc51264
    i would ask what it was about being a CNA that you didn't like. I worked as a home health aide while I went to school. there was no way I could have done LTC or hosp. I loved the work but the understaffing and some attitudes of nurses were horrid. I loved the work and the patients. I agree with others that they are very different jobs. If you can handle being a CNA, you can be a nurse. It is harder in some ways, but I like it and I like it better than being an aide even though I had a cushier job.

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