Having second thoughts..

  1. I'm currently a CNA working in assisted living and I've been working there for over 2 1/2 years now. I was accepted into an LPN program that starts this September. I'm very excited because I've always wanted to be a nurse, but now I'm having second thoughts.

    Although the facility I work at is "assisted living", we should be calling ourselves a nursing home. We have a LOT of complete care residents, and even a couple residents who need a hoyer. We have 3 floors, and there is only 2 nurses in the building for each shift. So one nurse for each floor (one floor is mostly independent residents, but a lot of them still need to be medicated). So each nurse in charge of medicating over 40 residents, taking doctor's calls, pharmacy orders, dealing with family members, treatments, answering the phone at the nurse's desk, etc etc. It just seems crazy to me, and a lot of them are overwhelmed everyday. I LOVE all of our residents and I really love working with the elderly, especially those with Alzheimer's and dementia. I really thought I had found my calling. But now I'm not so sure, because I see how stressed the nurses are and how overworked they are everyday. Are all places like this?

    I'm also worried about making mistakes, and it scares me to be responsible for someone's life. As a CNA, I still feel like I'm making a difference, but I don't have as much responsibility as a nurse would. Did anyone else feel scared at first about how much responsibility they would have? I don't want fear to hold me back, but I can't stop feeling anxious about all the responsibilities that a nurse has.

    Anyway, after seeing what the nurses go through at my job, I don't think I could ever work there as a nurse. But where else could I work as an LPN? I know I'm limited, and I'm sure almost all nursing homes/ALFs are like this, and that's what I'm scared of.

    Should I just find another career?

    Thanks for listening to me if you made it this far.
  2. Visit DreamyEyes profile page

    About DreamyEyes

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 474; Likes: 158
    Licensed Practical Nurse; from US
    Specialty: Geriatrics


  3. by   RNBearColumbus
    No, not all LTC / AL facilities are like the one you described. Many have lower patient to nurse ratios, and more support staff. (The laws and rules governing AL and LTC are different in most states, with LTCs being held to a higher standard of care in many cases.)

    As far as being afraid of making mistakes, that's a GOOD thing. It's the fear of making mistakes that keeps us all mindful of the proper way to do things. And that's why nursing school is NOT easy. I can tell you from personal experience that you'll be amazed at all of the things you'll learn in nursing school that you only thought you knew as a CNA.

    Every new nurse feels a little bit of "Oh my gosh, are they REALLY going to let me do this??" when they start to work as a nurse, but that feeling eventually passes.

    If you want to be a nurse, and feel that you have the aptitude, GO FOR IT!
  4. by   Lorrie34
    Nursing is all about tending to every patient's needs at all times. Unfortunately, there are many times when more than one resident has multiple needs at the same time.
    It DOES get hectic. You have to be able to prioritize and assess. You also need to be organized, and confident and you of course, above all, you need to be calm and caring.
    Where I work, sometimes I'm on a floor by myself with 60 residents to medicate. However, that is on the night shift so it usually is fairly quiet. But I always have my RN supervisor on the other floor that I can call if I'm in too deep, and I have wonderful aides that tend to the residents as much as they can.
    In a hospital, the ratio will be lower, but that doesn't mean the patients won't have multiple needs all at the same time. A nurse is always needed in several places at the same time. That is why it is so important to learn how to prioritize and organize and do a really good assessment of every patient under your care.
    There are so many shifts that I have left the building with tears in my eyes, or have gotten home and collapsed into a deep sleep on my couch with my coat still on, but at the end of the day, if none of your residents died or took a turn for the worse, and YOU survived, you did alright and you have one more day of experience under your belt so pat yourself on the back
    Many of us forget, in the heat of the moment, that we are HUMAN and we are doing our best at that moment. In nursing, or any medical profession, it is a CONTINUAL learning process. We will never be prefect. We will always have days where we feel like we are drowning because "people are messy". You can't predict when Ms. Jones is going to get a UTI, or when Mr. Smith is going to have a stroke. But most of the time, once you learn your residents and they form a connection with you, you settle into a norm.
    Nursing is hectic, but it is one of the most rewarding careers EVER and I am thankful every day to be a part of it! Good luck to you with whatever you do, and always believe in yourself!!
  5. by   Sherriblu
    I would go right for an RN program, you will make more money and have more oppurtunity. You will learn how to handle the stress, it just takes time.I have been an LPN for many years and there are less places you can work and once you get at the top of the pay scale like me, thats it..
  6. by   tainted1972
    I just became an LPN after many years of being an assistant.. let me tell you .. I was very scared!! As an assistant when something goes wrong.. you get the nurse.. now I AM the nurse! But it really isnt that bad. You can do it!
    Your workload will change drastically as far as physical labor. It is so nice to not have to do so much lifting.. ( not that i dont do it. i just do less of it).
    Its normal to be afraid.. and the fact that you are afraid .. will make you a more careful, caring nurse.