CNA ? Is it really gross and why do we have to? - page 2

by pristy

10,678 Visits | 38 Comments

I'm new to all this. I have just applied to a 2 year program and was told I have to be a CNA before my first nursing class. What exactly do they teach you and what do you do? I'm afraid it will be really gross. I know nursing... Read More


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    Quote from pristy
    I'm new to all this. I have just applied to a 2 year program and was told I have to be a CNA before my first nursing class. What exactly do they teach you and what do you do? I'm afraid it will be really gross. I know nursing won't always be easy, but don't CNA's have the icky jobs all the time? I want to do it, just to prove I can, but would like to know what I'm getting into. Do they require this to weed out the squeamish?
    Ha! This is the funniest thing I've read in a while. What in the world do you think nurses do? Not a week goes by that I don't wipe a butt, irrigate a wound, clean up vomit, etc... CNAs assist nurses, but they don't do all the "dirty work". Yes, nursing is "gross" at times. If you can't handle body fluids, you're considering the wrong profession.
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    Hello Pristy,

    Firstly, welcome to allnurses and to the world of healthcare/nursing!

    Secondly, I took a while to get the courage to reply because I didn't know if I had anything to offer that hadn't been written here.

    I am a CNA, have been one since 1989 and have also worked as an EMT-A, Phlebotomist, as a non-certified Medical Assistant and with lots of patients and people.

    There are things that could gross you out, (as more time passes though, the less it grosses you). Possibly thinking of whatever the gross thing is at the moment at a process to take care of might help. The grossness will not stop until the wound or stool, or vomit, or blood, or whatever it is, is address, cleaned, linen changed, bandage changed, bags changed-cleaned-removed-taped down or whatever it is.

    Remember to use universal precautions and remember that these are people that we are also taking care of who most likely not only dislike the grossness but feel embarrassed and guilty and responsible for it.

    I have worked with a lab tech who did not like any bodily stuff. Yeah, I know? I was even her patient one day and when it came time to labelling my specimens and putting them into the transfer bags (which were safely in their formalin containters) she refused and made a face, grimaced, moaned and said something like, "un-uh!"

    That did not make me feel good or cared for at all.

    Hopefully you will find a way to deal with this and find your niche in the big arena of nursing!!

    Gen
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    Quote from Jetaime684
    By nature, we look after SICK people. Sick people dont come in pretty packaging.
    Exactly. I think a CNA course as pre-req is a great idea. I think it really helps people understand whether they're really cut out for nursing.

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    I am a CNA also in Nursing School. I work in a very busy hospital, and let me tell you...the RN's do just as much "icky" stuff as I do! It may be gut check time for you!!!
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    Don't sweat it - you'll figure out pretty early on whether or not it's a deal-breaker for you.

    When I interviewed at the nursing home circa 1988, my future boss asked me if "incontinence" bothered me. I was 16 and didn't know what incontinence was, so I said no :chuckle . Turns out it didn't .

    I guess I figure anytime I'm on the business end of the cleanup, I'm just grateful it's not me being incontinent, or having the wound, or the tube with the nasty stuff excreting from it. Makes it really easy to get over the gross stuff.
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    Quote from pristy
    I'm new to all this. I have just applied to a 2 year program and was told I have to be a CNA before my first nursing class. What exactly do they teach you and what do you do? I'm afraid it will be really gross. I know nursing won't always be easy, but don't CNA's have the icky jobs all the time? I want to do it, just to prove I can, but would like to know what I'm getting into. Do they require this to weed out the squeamish?
    HI. I chose to become a CNA before applying to my Nursing class at a university because I thought it would help me get in. I ended up being the only one who is a CNA in the class. At first I felt like an idiot for wasting 6 months working as a CNA, but as we got into our clinicals I was repeatedly thankful that I have the experience that I do. Many other students have asked me for help on basic skill like postitioning feeding vitals etc because RN programs briefly cover these items in theory and turn the SN loose without much, if any practice. I also learned what kind of nurse I want to be by being a CNA. There is nothing better than being on the bottom to teach you how you should behave when you are in charge. Good luck and I hope that you get in!
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    Quote from rnbsn2006
    hi. i chose to become a cna before applying to my nursing class at a university because i thought it would help me get in. i ended up being the only one who is a cna in the class. at first i felt like an idiot for wasting 6 months working as a cna, but as we got into our clinicals i was repeatedly thankful that i have the experience that i do. many other students have asked me for help on basic skill like postitioning feeding vitals etc because rn programs briefly cover these items in theory and turn the sn loose without much, if any practice. i also learned what kind of nurse i want to be by being a cna. there is nothing better than being on the bottom to teach you how you should behave when you are in charge. good luck and i hope that you get in!
    so nicely said!
  8. 0
    Quote from pristy
    I'm new to all this. I have just applied to a 2 year program and was told I have to be a CNA before my first nursing class. What exactly do they teach you and what do you do? I'm afraid it will be really gross. I know nursing won't always be easy, but don't CNA's have the icky jobs all the time? I want to do it, just to prove I can, but would like to know what I'm getting into. Do they require this to weed out the squeamish?
    I'm in a CNA class currently, it's a prereq for my LPN program which I'm starting next month. My teacher is blunt with us so we know more about what to expect next week when we start clinicals. We are going to see things that are "gross" and there will be people in diapers or incontinent, we'll be doing peri-care and cath care. But she just stresses to us that these are people in their most vulnerable time and they are looking to us for help. CNA's do baths, vitals, transfers, positioning, we are the eyes and ears for the nurse basically. And my teacher also says this is where you learn the basics and fundamentals of how to take care of people.

    I heard someone in my class say "yea I'm just going to take a crappy CNA job while I'm in nursing school..." I was like, "well, if you think it's crappy then you may find you don't like nursing because even doctors and nurses aren't immune to having to clean gross things and see gross things!"
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    Uh, you'd better get used to the "icky" stuff as an RN, too! Don't ever have the assumption that the techs should do all the "dirty work". If you were an RN on a unit with an attitude like that, the techs (and other nurses) would give you a hard way to go!:angryfire

    If you don't like "gross" stuff, DO NOT become a nurse! That's my best advice.
  10. 0
    Quote from stressgal
    Ous school also requires a nurse aide course as a prerequisite, in Ohio it's called an STNA (State tested Nurse Aide). I think it is great because you learn basics such as vitals, bed baths, ADLS, Medical terminology, patient's rights and so on. These are skills that sre not covered in nursing courses since you should know them already. As a Student Nurse, I always assist with bathing if possible, this is a great way to accomplish physical assessments. And as far as "gross stuff" it's the nurse who removes impacted BM, change dressings, and other yummy stuff. But it's pretty cool when you get to do it!
    Stressgal,

    I am also in Ohio, what part are you in? I agree, I am also a CNA and while it is a "thankless" job it does give you great experience. In my original nursing program (ADN) it was required to be a CNA so I too took the course, I am now enrolled in a MN program that doesnt require it but I am definetly glad I did it!

    I have a story to share: in my CNA class my skills lab partner did nothing but complain. She swore up and down she would never change a depends and the whole LTC expereince was just awful. She did relay to me that she wanted to work as a PCA in a hospital (at UNiversity hospital to be specific, University is Cincys main teaching hospital) but she thinks that if she works in a hospital as a PCA she wont have to ever change a depends or empty a urinal, change a bedpan, help an inpacted pt, etc (what I am thinking is, who does she think will do those things? the doctors?? lol). She also said she had taken a similar class in the past and dropped out her first day of clinicals bc a female resident accidently urinated on her (she had gloves on).

    I smile bc I know she has a rude awakening coming...working in the medical field requires a certain kind of person...while we did our clinicals for our CNA class she always let me do all the procedures and kind of stood back with a haughty attitude, I never escaped her comments such as "eww i'm not touching his nasty dentures, you do it" "its so disgusting to change depends, im not doing it" "this place is so awful and it always smells" she had not a bit of compassion. At the end of our clinicals she read me the comments our instructor had written about her, she passed but barely...and was suprised at her review, I wasn't, the instructor apparently had the same thoughts i did, so i guess what im saying is, if you want to become a nurse or even a cna you are going to have to do things that are less than fun...but if you really want to be a nurse you will do them and just understand its part of the process. My friend ended up getting really annoying by the end, ill be suprised if she makes it through nursing clinicals especially if she continues on the path she is on...her attitude is horrible and more than one of our instructors have told her that...she has no patience and no compassion. I mean some of the things she would say about the elderly patients and i just kept thinking, "someday that could be you in that bed"...but alas i know that there will always be people like that...Just remember in a practical setting you get graded on your demeanor and attitude as well as your skills. Nursing is about far more than what skills you can perform. I try to always think about how I would feel if I was the one laying in the hospital bed having someone change me and feed me, etc.

    The moral of the story is...even if you dont end up working in LTC somewhere along the line you WILL have to change a dirty depends, you WILL have to change a bedban and you WILL have to do things that arent neccesarily fun...if you really have a passion for nursing you know that these things come with the job and take satisfaction in knowing that by being compassionate, empathetic and non judgmental, you can truly make a difference in someones life, that connection or feeling of satisfaction makes it all worth it, even if i have to change all the depends in the world!! thanks for listening all, i know ive rambled wayyy to much!


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