Am I Making a Mistake- CNA/college student blues.

  1. I need advice, I need to vent. So just throw your thoughts out there.

    I'm on the fast lane to Burnout-ville. First off, I have 3 kids- a 9 year old who is autistic and two preschoolers. Which is a job in and of itself. On top of that, I am taking 3 college classes (A&P, Speech and Dev. Psych). To make matters worse, I decided to go to work as a CNA. All I had left in my schedule was nights and weekends. Since my husband is self-employed, I figured I should do 3 shifts a week so we can get health insurance through my company.

    Anyway, I had to take a float position to qualify for bene's with only 3 shifts per week. This is my first CNA job. I work 4 out of their 5 units in a 2 week period- everything from alzheimers/dementia to assisted living to medicaid (illness/rehab). Every floor is very different. When I did orientation, I learned my orientator's groups. Then when I was off orientation, I walked on each unit over the next two week period and had to learn all new patients. It is starting to calm down, but I felt/feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Everyone wants me to move fast and get my job done in the same time frame as the regulars do. I get snapped at for forgetting small crap, when I am struggling to remember everyone's conditions, and limitations and restorative programs...etc. Some of these people I only see once in a two week period. I usually have anywhere from 9-22 patients to myself, depending on the floor and the shift. Mornings on the overnight shift are hell. They expect us to get up 6-7 residents in a 2 hour period. That is roughly 20 minutes per person (if and only if, I don't get any call lights in that time period or have some who has a bm accident). Which means no real quality of care, just rush, rush, rush.

    On top of that, my grades are slipping. I am tired all the time. I don't see my husband anymore, because all I do is sleep and work over the weekends. I have gone over 30 hours before without sleep, because I did an overnight, and then the next day I have had obligations with my children I couldn't put aside so I could sleep and then school that evening. We are ending up ordering private health insurance, because it is cheaper than my company's plan as it turns out (that is pretty bad).

    I just want to throw in the towel. I don't really feel like I am doing "nursing". I bombed an A&P test last thursday, I didn't have as much time as I needed to study, and then I needed the last 4 hours to review, and my son ended up in the ER instead during that time. I didn't get to review. Normally, I would have had review done a day or two before. I was never cramming at the last minute until I started this job. I am so afraid that this test is going to turn out really bad- like a D and blow my whole class grade, my gpa and my chance of getting into the nursing program. I can't afford another B on my transcript at this point. Then part of me is so burned out on my life I don't care if I get in or not. My dream is dying because I am exhausted, overwhelmed and stressed out.

    I have busted my butt at my job though, and I don't just want to give up everything I have worked to learn over the past month. I don't want to be a quitter or a wimp. It also won't look good to have my first job after 8 years of stay at home mom to be a one month stint. What to do?
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   Jessy_RN
    This was overwhelming just reading so I can just imagine your situation. Bless your heart. I really praise you for doing everything you do. The only thing I can advise is:

    1. If leaving work is not an option then you need to cut back to maybe 1 or 2 classes. Yes, it may take longer for you to reach your goal.....but your sanity/health and home life comes first.

    2. Take a break from school, maybe take a semester off and utilize this time to "replenish" and come back with a more clear mind.

    I cannot say I have been in your shoes because I have no children. You face an even greater challenge with your autistic angel.

    I think you are truly a "superwoman", but I'd hate to see you distressed as you are juggling too much at the moment.

    Life, work, and bombing your exam has really pushed you to the edge and really who wouldn't?

    God bless you and each and every member of your family. I know something will work out soon. You need to take a little break to sort things out.................so hang in there until you finish the semester and then don't overload on the next. I personally think you are under too much pressure and should consider taking 1 or 2 classes at most.

    Good luck :icon_hug:

    Jess
  4. by   adamsmom
    Try to hang in there.
    I too am a CNA I work 6:60p-7A friday and saturdays. I am taking A&P 1 and Lifespan Psy and I also work for a vet 2-3 times/week. Oh yes and I have a 5yr old and a 9yr old. It can be done.
    There are days when I think if this will ever end. I am only taking my pre-reqs and did not even start nursing school which will take 2 years starting in Sept.
    I hope all this work will pay off. THe nurses I work with tell me it is.

    Hang in there, tomorrow will be a better day
    Lee
  5. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    Not everyone can handle working and going to school, and with children, that is a major stress formula!

    If you have to work, you have to work. However, if you don't have to work, don't feel bad about having to quit. Tell them you thought you could balance children, school and work, but it's not going as planned. Give them a 2 week notice, or maybe you could work PRN w/o insurance benefits...


    Whatever you decide, it's ok!
  6. by   Micci
    Thanks!

    I did try working without the benefits. I put in a request last week to cut down to two days a week, my weekend days. My request was denied. The head nurse said that I have to be working there for 90 days before I can request a shift change, and until then, I need to fulfill the schedule I agreed to.

    The thing that has finally pushed me over the edge, is that my mother-in-law is watching the kids for me, the mornings after my weekday overnight shifts. which is alternating tuesday and friday mornings. But she needs to take a daytime job, and I have to choose which morning I want, either tuesday or friday. So do I decide not to sleep on Tuesday mornings and still have to go to school on tuesday night. Or do I decide not to sleep on friday mornings and still have to go to work on friday overnight and I also have a saturday morning class that starts after I get off of work.

    This is the only semester I will have to take 3 classes. I had to do it in order to finish my classes in time for the fall nursing program- which I don't even know if I will get into or not. The next two terms will be two classes each.

    I told myself that if I couldn't cut it as a CNA, that I shouldn't be in nursing. I thought being a CNA was going to really teach me stuff about the nursing profession. But I don't think that nursing is equivalent to what a CNA does. CNA's are the peons of the nursing profession. I'm not sure that repetitive butt wiping is really teaching me anything about nursing.
  7. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    Quote from Micci
    I told myself that if I couldn't cut it as a CNA, that I shouldn't be in nursing. I thought being a CNA was going to really teach me stuff about the nursing profession. But I don't think that nursing is equivalent to what a CNA does. CNA's are the peons of the nursing profession. I'm not sure that repetitive butt wiping is really teaching me anything about nursing.

    ...Probably not teaching you anything, except how to wipe a good butt, or wipe a butt good. :chuckle
  8. by   KatieBell
    Going through such an orientation in the middle of classes is probably what has made this entirely too stressful.

    Being a CNA can teach you a lot about nursing-if you let it. I did a ton of butt wiping (and I still do a ton of it as a nurse, so get used to it) but I also did a lot of taking vitals, getting used to working with a variety of patients, organizing my time and prioritizing duties. At times I listened to breath sounds, I learned what a physician needs to be properly set up to suture a wound, what wounds actually need stitches, what a drug reaction looks like, what a blood transfusion reaction looks like, did a ton of CPR, did 12 lead ekgs, and when I became certified as a II- catheters, casting, and blood draws. I learned most of this because I was interested and asked questions, IN ADDITION- I was part of a team and didn't float all over. All that I learned as a CNA- most of it has a lot to do with nursing.

    However, in your situation, I think it is too much. If you need to work, I'd find some way to work inthe same unit each time. Floating is stressful, you never get to feeling like part of a team.

    Best Wishes
  9. by   Danianne
    I am just a good butt wiper too. I have 2 small kids as well. I can feel where you are coming from I think that sometime you need to do what is best for you. yes the kids, the job, the husband, the dog, the cat, the fish etc are important too but you can't take care of them if you are burnt out, frustrated, sick, tired or just plain old crazy.
  10. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    KatieBell, I really do agree with you, even though I made light of the situation above. :imbar I learned so much just with being a Medical Assistant.

    Anytime anyone has a chance to work with patients, certain skills are learned, even if it's just social skills and patient confidentiality.
  11. by   adamsmom
    When I work all nite on friday nites, and I come home in the morning, my daughter is usually up. So I sleep on the couch as she plays in the family room. And if she needs me she wakes me up. So I do not get much sleep on the weekends but I am there for them. We go to church on Sundays together and then I take a 3-4 hour nap since my husband is home on Sundays.
  12. by   Micci
    Well, I was really obsessing. Guess what... I ended up getting an A (92) on the A&P exam. 3rd highest grade in the class. I swear, I thought I had gotten a C. I guess I wasn't as bad off as I thought.

    KatieBell, You are right, I am learning stuff. I was very insecure about my blood pressure taking abilities, but I have to do weekly's on Sundays and that has sharpened my skill. I'm sure there are other skills I am gaining that I don't even realize. I think such a difficult orientation was just bad timing. And I don't feel like I am part of a team. They are not "my" patients, and I would really like the continuity of working with the same patients. For example, one of my patients went on hospice and died over the 10 days I wasn't on his floor. I would have liked to have assisted with his care or at least said goodbye and provided comfort to his family.

    But, after some soul searching. I am sticking out the job. It's like nursing bootcamp- especially because I want to work in the hospital. Learning to deal with strange schedules and a variety of patients.
  13. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    I'm glad things worked out for you.


    Learning how to care and not become too emotionally attached is a skill you are learning already, sad but true.


    Good luck. Let us know how it goes.
  14. by   KatieBell

    Congratulations on your 92%. Not too shabby.

    You do have a lot on your plate. Maybe after your 90 days, you can go somewhere permanently- so you can get on a team, I'm sure many of the floors you've been on , would like to have you personally!!!!
    Chin up!

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