Floor CNA vs RN compare and contrast

  1. right now, I'm a nursing student working in the hospital as a CNA and I was wondering what are the main differences between being a floor nurse and a floor CNA. I know the obvious like meds, charting but I was thinking more in terms of time usage and comparisons. Like, right now its kind of hellish in terms of running around from need to need and I was wondering if it would stay that way if I chose to stay on the floor after RN school. Is it more paperwork and less running in and out of rooms constantly?

    Any people that went from a cna on the floor to a nurse on the floor please let me know your experience as you transitioned.

    Thanks!
    Kevan:smiletea2:
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   RNSuzq1
    Hi Kevan,

    I graduated last year, worked as a CNA on a Med/Ortho floor through school and have been a Med/Surg RN for over a year. Nights we usually only have 1 CNA - 2 if we're lucky, sometimes none at all. Either way, not enough to do their job, so all Nurses on my floor help change beds, empty foleys, change diapers, even empty the trash if the CNA doesn't have time. Each of us Nurses has between 6-8 pt's. We're not only responsible for what we do for these pt's, but also responsible for what the CNA's do.

    Having been a CNA, I can honestly say that was a much easier job (re: time, stress, responsibiity, etc.). We had very little paper/computer work as CNA's (now I have a truckload). Besides an hour or so sitting down doing charting (usually with constant interuptions), we're basically on our feet all night - passing meds, hanging IV fluids, checking pt's conditions, doing procedures, getting admissions and are usually still running around at 0630 when the day shift shows up, trying to finish everything.

    I don't want to "Rain on your Parade", that's just the way it is on most floors - it's a stressful job most nights, but if you really love caring for people, it's worth it. Hope this helps, Sue...
  4. by   dorselm
    I am a CNA at an LTC facility and am in nursing school and was wondering the same thing. Thanks for clarifying.
  5. by   MedicalLPN
    I just graduated from LPN school this past May before that I was a CNA for two years working in LTC, and ultimately on a medical unit at a busy hospital where I'm now a staff nurse. The difference between being a CNA and a nurse is night and day. In my opinion being a CNA is physically more demanding especially in LTC where you 20-30 total care patients that you are constantly pulling and tugging on, in a hospital you can 15-20 patients that you're constantly answering call lights, doing vitals on, doing accuchecks, basic wound care, toileting, changing, bathing, turning, etc. Don't get me wrong I still play in poop all the time now as a nurse and don't mind it but it's not nearly as often as I did as an aide. However as a Nurse I believe the mental stress and responsibility is much greater. Performing physical assessments and trying to figure out what is normal and abnormal for this patient, figuring out their oodles of medications, IV drip rates, monitoring for adverse reactions to meds and treatments, if their on telemetry then you're monitoring their heart rate and rhythm and then you have a patient who just isn't acting right you're constantly assessing and reassessing putting the pieces of data together to get a complete picture of what's going with that patient, etc. It amazes me now the difference in my job role as an aide and now as a nurse. I may only have 5-6 patients now but I am TOTALLY accountable for all the nursing care delievered to them while I am on shift. On the days and nights where it's crazy and I have pts crashing left and right, I miss the days when I was an aide and could tell the nurse "She don't look good." and be done with it lol
  6. by   Daytonite
    Let's see, right now you are running around from need to need, right? Add running around from problem to problem to that list. Your entire RN training was to prepare you to problem solve and that is exactly what you will be doing. That's what all the nursing process and care plan stuff was all about. It is also critical that you learn to prioritize and organize the work you need to accomplish during your shift. It may sound simple, but it will take you anywhere from 6 months to 2 or 3 years to become accomplished at these things.

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