As a CNA, I feel taken for granted


  • Specializes in CNA. Has 3 years experience.

I am a CNA in the ICU and about to be a nursing student. I love my job. I cannot wait to become a nurse. I know I have chosen a field that is demanding- physically and mentally! But...

I feel taken advantage of! Sometimes I am with another CNA or by myself. Some days I am behind on my tasks and several nurses will be asking me for help with turning, cleaning someone up, etc. As many of you know, it can be chaotic! I understand when they need help with tough jobs...However, there are some nurses who ask (in a rude tone) far too many times, for me to get a warm blanket, plug someone back into the monitor, get someone off the commode, when I am busy helping other nurses with more critical things. The nurse see's that I'm busy, so why don't they take a minute and do it themselves? These situations annoy me most because that particular nurse will be out chit-chatting with another staff, looking up recipes, or simply checking their email.

I apologize for the rant. Let me add that not all nurses are like this. There are wonderful nurses whom I look up to and admire. These ones also tell me to not become the type of nurse like "this person or that person." I recognize that healthcare staff can't always be on their "A-game." But there are just several lazy nurses AND CNA's out there who repetitively show their lack of willingness, support, and care for the patient and their coworkers.

Anyone feel the same way? Thoughts?:)

We gotta work together, people!


739 Posts

Don't let those type of nurses and CNA's get to you. Trust me you are appreciated by those that you help everyday...patients and staff. Yes, you may not hear these "Thank You's" and "I appreciate your help" on a regular basis, but your assistance is what makes their lives a little better each shift you work. It can be discouraging at times, but know that what you do is so important and those nurses (and even fellow CNA's) count on your care and assistance. Continue to do the great job that you are doing. And when "that nurse" rudely interrupts you again while you are busy with another task, kindly remind her that you are busy and that she could always assist with the request before she sits down to get back on FB...and say it with a smile;)

allnurses Guide


7,058 Posts

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 47 years experience.

I'm so sorry there are some nurses in your workplace who don't understand the value of CNAs or who are rude to you. The best nurses (and many of them are members here) understand that the competence of the CNA or lack thereof can make or break their job!

Many members here worked their way up from CNA to RN and understand your feelings all too well. They do sometimes remark about the different role expectations existing which could explain why the nurses may not be able to interrupt what they are doing (which should not include online shopping or Facebook surfing) to help you.

You are really fortunate to have the job you do because you can use it to observe and soak up information on the way the real nursing world works. I would expect some of them will be very supportive when you start nursing school. Focus on the positive, realize what you do is indispensable and all the best in your journey to becoming a nurse! :up:


82 Posts

Has 3 years experience.

I totally understand your frustration!!! I had an amazing job on a cardiac unit and the number one reason I left was because of a certain "clique" of nurses and CNAs. They would just sleep, play games on their phone, run around and prank people, and be on facebook and pinterest all night. It was annoying because I was tired of picking up the slack for those who are more concerned with B.S. rather than their patients. We just need to not forget where we come from when we become nurses. :)


16 Posts

I don't think you should ever apologize for a rant! Being a CNA is so hard! It's exactly the same way where I work in a LTC facility. It drives me insane when the nurses roll their eyes when I ask for help to pull up a patient. However, most of the nurses I work with are pretty good about helping out if they're not too busy.

Most of my patients have some form of dementia so just getting a coherent statement from them is a plus. But I have two patients that are AAOx3 and they always say things like "I wish you could be my permanent aide" and that really makes my day. For the most part doing my job and helping my patients keeps me busy enough to get through the shift, but it's really nice to know that my patients like the job I do for them. Even though most of them can't tell me directly I know I'm giving them the care I would give to any one of my family members or friends.

Has 6 years experience.

There's no excuse for playing on the internet and delegating tasks to someone who's actually busy working ....that said, you will often be asked to do something when you're already doing something else. Nursing is the same way. I wish I could say, "Sorry! I'm already doing something!" but I have to continue adding to the list and re-prioritizing until it's all done.


36 Posts

Has 2 years experience.

Nursing care is about teamwork. It's also prioritizing your tasks. I'm curious: what do you say (for example) when a nurse asks, perhaps rudely, for you to get a patient off the commode and you are busy?

I would smile and say, "I'm sorry, I'm busy doing ____ right now. Can it wait?/Can you assist?"

There will always be lazy nurses and lazy techs. Hopefully they are few and far between, but not always. If you tell them that you are busy, normally they will step up and do it because they know it needs to be done. If they don't, that's another issue entirely--and one you should bring up with your charge nurse. You can't be expected to be everywhere at once and do all the tasks patient care requires. You are a nursing assistant, after all--you assist the nurse in the duties of patient care, it is their primary responsibility that the duties are done. If the tech is busy... it becomes the nurse's job.

Specializes in Family Practice, Mental Health. Has 32 years experience.

A CNA in the ICU? That would be so wonderful. With our mandated ratios in California, we do total care in the units. Lift, turn, rinse, repeat. There have been no CNA’s in my unit for years and years.

Being a CNA in the ICU is hard work. You’re pretty much outnumbered by people who lay claim to many more years of college education than a CNA (without other education) has, and the role delineation generally requires that the tasks that you perform be delegated by the RN. It only adds frustration when someone Lords tasks onto your plate in a demeaning manner. That’s just plain mean and uncalled for.


15 Posts

Just remember how you didn't like being treated and set the example for when you are a nurse. We all know that a CNA is one of the most valuable tools a nurse can have. You **** on them they can **** on you! I never look down on anyone, everyone has a valuable part to play in the treatment and care of our patients! Good luck with school! :)

(I was also a CNA on the ICU floor and before that I was on the Cardiac ICU floor--you will be well prepared for school in the matter of basic knowledge, great job on that position!!)

Specializes in psychiatric, corrections. Has 8 years experience.

Being a CNA is what made me want to be a nurse, I liked caring for patients but was unsatisfied being a CNA while all the nurses lorded over the units and treated the CNAs like indentured servants. The fact that you were a CNA first is going to make you a better nurse. You understand what's it's like to work like a dog for a third of the pay. The nurses I had when I was a CNA were all terrible. But that was many years ago. I am in nursing school myself and I have seen some great nurses work hand in hand with their CNAs and treat them like valued members.