Well... I personally hated working at the nursing home; it was very poorly managed. It was not unusual to be assigned to 20+ patients per day. With that said, there are definitely some nicer LTC centers out there. For instance, the upscale nursing home was better because they had more staff. The first hospital I worked for was wasn't acute, it was rehab. That has so far been my best experience. Although those patients needed help, they were there to get better (not die). I just started my new job last week and i really am nervous. Last week, I only went through the orientation process. My first day on the floor is tomorrow, and I will be on a med/surg/telemetry unit. I had to go through sort of an ekg training for this job. I am nervous because I am going to be responsible for watching the monitors and notifying the nurse if something is abnormal (on top of the other usual CNA type of responsibilities).
As far as the gagging- do your best not to. If it can't be helped, do your best to do it in a way that isn't so obvious. I understand your concern... that was what worried me the most about starting the job as a cna to begin with. As most things do, it gets easier with time. Really. I went through my CNA training at a nursing home, they paid for it all. My instructor taught us that if at first we couldn't stomach it, to rub cherry flavored carmex or lip gloss under our nose. I never tried it.
The worst part about being a cna is not really the gross stuff that comes along with the job, like I thought in the beginning. It is mainly that can be back- breaking labor most of the time. The other thing is that there are times when you may work with certain nurses that will try to make you feel bad about yourself.
The best part about being a CNA for me, is just getting my foot in the door and gaining experience. I became a cna because I wanted to be a nurse. But, 3 kids later... I never found the time. Now, I am in school and I have applied to 2 different nursing schools. Many schools require you to be a cna before starting, others don't. But, I have been at work while students would come in for their clinical rotation and act like they were just smacked in the face. I have literally heard girls talk about dropping out of nursing school because they weren't expecting it to be that way. So, I think being a cna is a great way to get your feet wet.
Sorry to run on and on...