CNA's Anyone?

  1. Hi, I just wanted to hear some advice about becoming a CNA from all of you guys that are CNA's that work in hospitals. I just recently got a job as a unit secretary and I really hate it. Its not a completely bad job, its just completely boring. I don't wanna complain, but I really want to get some experiences before I enter nursing school in the fall. For the past week I've spent time talking and chatting with nurses and what they call PCA's (other known as CNA'S, same thing) and they have gave me some really good advice that i should get my CNA licence before going back to school so that i can work during the school year. I was just asking for advice from those of you who work or have worked in hospitals as a nursing assistant. Thanks!!
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   lyndalous
    Hi

    I just graduated with my BSN. I live in NJ but went to college in WV. I worked as a CNA through all of my school breaks. I didn't have to go and take a CNA test or try to go to school for it to get my liscence because as a nsg. student they wave it.
    I recommend it. I had such good time management skills, and working with all the patients I was really ready for all of my clinicals. It is a good move.. and they pay good.... Good luck
  4. by   shyviolet78
    I'm a Unit Tech (that's what my hospital calls CNAs). We are provided with 3 weeks paid training. A week and a half of lectures and another week and a half of clinicals. I didn't have to have experience or certifications; all that the job required was a HS diploma/GED. It's great experience and a real confidence builder for classes. Plus, they reimburse tuition 100% for 3 classes per semester !
  5. by   lyndalous
    Go for it!!!!!!!

    You will learn alot!!!!!!
  6. by   BeBeSweet
    Go to your DON and sell her on the idea of hiring you as an extern. You will be assigned a preceptor and will learn many more clinical skills than you would as a cna. This is not to say that you need to shun those things as well, because it is all part of primary care, but an extern position will help you in clinicals and when it comes time to write those good old care plans for grades, you will have an edge .Good luck.
  7. by   CherryPez15
    Teresa,

    You're really bored as a unit secretary? Wow, I'm surprised. I'm so busy on my shift I literally don't have time to get bored. LOL Can I ask what it is specifically, that you don't like? Don't you get to schedule tests, order labs & help the nurse's w/ their patients?
    I recently started as a unit sec/unit clerk & I'm far from bored; I learn something new every day & the nurse's let me know if they're doing a procedure they know I'd like to see. For example, the other day I got to see a nurse put in a Foley cath. I guess it all depends on what hospital you work at & how much the nurse's/med staff let you observe. If you haven't already, you might want to try asking the staff where you work if you could observe some of the procedures they do; I think that would make work a little more interesting for you. I hope everything works out for ya--

    Christine
  8. by   janleb
    I recently was hired on as a nursing tech, (same job as cna). since I am a nursing student they wave the certification. I have had nurses aid training in the past, and have a year of clinicals under my belt. I can see a difference between students that have worked as a cna and those who haven't. Not that you get to do invasive sterile procedures, but just being around it you get to see a lot. I have found out in the last quarter of nursing that there is a lot more to nursing than procedures, that critical thinking element comes into play all the time. I can't believe you can be bored working as a unit secretary, those people seem to be juggling ten things at once
  9. by   BrandyBSN
    Actually, I would not recommend it.

    I was a CNA for the summer before I started college, and it almost made me withdraw my application. All the adult diapers and bed pans, and cleaning up puke made me NOT want to be a nurse.

    But i went ahead an went to school, and now i get to do the "more interesting" things like IVs, and blood draws, Fetal Monitoring. I havent done a bedpan in a year (the CNAs on the floor do that) and i am glad i stuck with it!

    Being a CNA did make me less nauseated than some of my fellow classmates though! It has its bonuses

    Brandy
    Senior BSN Student
    Truman State University
  10. by   mikemw
    I highly recommend experience as either a CNA or secretary or both. As pointed out by others these jobs are not the most glamorous. But face the facts ladies and gents bedpans, vomit , blood spills, taking off orders, answwering phones and call lights, giving bed baths, and changing attends or briefs (not diapers) are all part of basic nursing skills and if you are too good to be doing them, maybe you should consider another career choice.

    Doing these duties as a CNA and/or secretrary before becoming a nurse will help you appreciate what the CNAs and secretaries do for you as a nurse. I was an EMT for 20 years an ER tech for 4 years, and a floor CNA for 1 1/2 years. This background has helped me through the BSN program. I had many skills that my fellow students did not and believe it or not one of them was that god awful thing we call theraputic comminication. Dealing with patients at the basic needs level or actually providing for their activities of daily living helps you develpe the skills needed later on.

    Many CNAs and secretaries will come talk to me about concerns because they know I've "been there and done that" and that I won't ask them to do something I have not done myself.

    I know of a situation where a facilities new GM (general manager) came to work as a nursing assistant for 30 days before he took over the GMs chair. You guessed there were a lot of worried people. When asked why he did it he replied he had found out that the best way to learn what it was like to work in a faciltity was to work at the bottom of the totem pole for a while.

    There are far to many RNs out here who do not really know what it is like to do 8 hours of bedpan duty or 8 hours of constantly ringing phones. Find out and I'll make you a better nurse.
  11. by   janleb
    I think becoming a cna prior to nursing school or even during is still a terrific idea. I had a fellow nursing student who was my partner winter quarter who imformed me that "she doesn't do poop". Boy my eyes rolled to the back of my head. I think the exposure to doing bed pans, adult diapers and things of that nature help to desensitize you so you can focus on more critical things, without turning green and puking. There are some things you can do if you really cant stand the smell, vicks under the nose helps, breath through your mouth ect. Another thing is try to think how your pt feels about not having control over body functions. It is just putting things into perspective. When I become an RN I want to be able to relate to all team members, things tend to run more smooth. J
  12. by   BrandyBSN
    I think it takes a special type of person to be a CNA, and they have to do a less-than-pleasant job some times, and i absolutely appreciate or floors CNAs.

    I was a little offended by the comment that "if you are too good to be doing them, maybe you should consider another career choice" remark however. I never said that I was too good to be doing them. I did them, i did not enjoy it, but my patients care always comes before my dislike for doing evacuation duties. That was a pretty cheap shot! But that is ok, we all have off days, and even if you did mean that as a direct attack on me, i will try not to dwell on it.

    What he said is true, those are basic nursing duties, and everyone must do them from one time to another, but a reason that we go to school, and continue our education is so that we can function at a higher level. If none of us strove to function at a higher level, we would all be CNAs.

    But my opinion (and that is all it is, is just my opinion) is that if you choose to be a CNA, and do dislike the work, dont let that sour you on going to nursing school. The duties you will perform as a CNA are only a small portion of what you will be doing in a career.
  13. by   janleb
    Another thing Brandy was trying to get across is that a cna is a different job, just like the RN, respiratory therepist, dietician, physicians,ect...Just like my last year instructor had always said that we all bring something to the health care plate. Just like some RN specialize in surgery for example, another that might not appeal to them. My sister is an RN, and had broken a few bones when she was younger. TO this day she can't stand to care for othopedic patients in general.

    You figure if you have a student who just got out of high school and wants to become a nurse, and gets thrown into a job as a cna. She might turn around and run the other way. What might be good experience for some, may not be to others. The nursing program that I am enrolled in requires nurses aid training prior to the beginning of the nursing program. Really good discussion topic for sure
  14. by   BrandyBSN
    Thanks janleb! You put that in much better words for me! Way to hit the nail on the head!

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