Being a CNA is so discouraging, I may not want to become a nurse anymore :(

by Emmagesena Emmagesena (New) New Student

Specializes in CNA, working on nursing pre-reqs at UNCO. Has 2 years experience.

Hi, I am brand new to this website and forum, and stumbled across it because I am searching for help/advice.

I have been a CNA for about a year. I got my CNA license the Summer before my senior year of highschool, aspiring to study nursing in college. I've worked evening shift every weekend of my senior year in a LTC facility, and when the pandemic hit, I switched to full time.

At first, fighting against COVID and finding my place as a healthcare 'hero' (my unit had a huge outbreak in March-April) seemed like a noble cause and my interest in nursing was re-ignited.

Now, my company has become very very hard and frustrating to work for, due to the administration. We are often forced to work doubles due to call-outs and the management's incompetency. Our lifts and vital signs equipment are constantly breaking and management is very lazy to repair it. Administration threatens to under-staff us if they see us sitting at the nurses' station on the surveillance cameras, and many of my coworkers are quitting or transferring. Management is arrogant, rude, and lazy. I realize that not only the CNAs are suffering, but also the nurses.

The worst part is, from what I hear and read, almost all healthcare facilities are like this.

I've always seen being a nurse as the light at the end of the tunnel. I'll tell myself, "Oh, this job as a CNA is terrible now, I'm being treated like a soulless machine now, but when I'm a nurse, everything will be so much better."

Now I'm starting to realize that even nurses feel this way.

I am beginning to question whether or not I want to continue in nursing. I love the good parts of being a CNA-- comforting residents, caring for them, laughing with them, holding them when there is nobody else to hold them--but I question if I personally would be able to withstand the negative side of t hiswork for the rest of my career. I want to have a family someday and be able to provide for them without being extremely over-stressed and burned out.

My worries escalated when I was reading on this page after a Google search of: "Is being a nurse worth it"

Do I really want to have a terrible job through college while working hard in nursing school and make the next four years of my life really hard, just to have another terrible job and career that'll eventually burn me out?

I just want some advice or opinions from others, including those who are already nurses. What do you think? I'm open to any type of feedback.

Edited by Emmagesena
adding more info

I think, no matter what profession you inquire about, there will be people who love it (or, for whom it works in one way or another) despite its flaws, sometimes major flaws and drawbacks. There will also be people for whom it doesn't work (or who can't get past its flaws) despite the good things about it, sometimes very good things.

That is the nature of getting others' opinions on things. Our opinions are our own; they are based on our lives, our past experiences, our hopes/dreams, our goals, our personalities, our perceptions, our own strengths and weaknesses, etc.

Not all healthcare employers are as terrible as what you have experienced (at all). However, my personal opinion is that many of them leave much to be desired and while they may not be as ruthless and uncaring as what you are describing, they also don't care too much about good relationships with nurses; they just want to have a constant supply of nurses. They don't care whether you work for them or not, as long as someone with your basic qualifications does. To be fair, this is probably no different than employers in many other sectors--but it might hurt more due to the nature of nursing work and the way that nurses typically feel about the importance of their work.

My view of nursing (that is to say, my *opinion*) is that:

You can make decent money doing very rough work. There are some intangible rewards which are based on one's own feelings (e.g. "I feel good because I am helping people"...or "I really enjoy pathophysiology" etc.). There are also some drawbacks (e.g. employer attitudes) which for some people may be intolerable.

Sorry no one is going to be able to give you a cut-and-dried answer, and wish you well in your research and decision-making ~

Sour Lemon

Has 11 years experience.

I think it's all about options and what you, personally, can live with. Nursing has its issues and stressors, but so does everything else. I worked at a job for quite a few years where I wondered if someone would walk in and blow my head off for the few hundred dollars in the register. After all, there were a few close calls. I never worry about that as a nurse, although I have plenty of other worries.

I went in to nursing for practical reasons, and I will say ...that people who go in with "hero" aspirations seem to be disappointed more easily than others. Healthcare is big business, and understanding and accepting that seems to make all the nonsense surrounding it more tolerable. We want to get paid as much as possible for our services, and the institutions that hire us want to get as much out of us as possible, too.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

I have worked at some very good places as a nurse and at some very bad ones. Most are somewhere in between the two of those. Even with a good employer, nursing was a beat-down on my body and on my general level of anxiety on a regular basis. While I was a floor nurse it was definitely a love/hate relationship.

Once I advanced my degree, transitioned into a nursing role away from the bedside, I came to enjoy my job on a much more livable level. I found a not-for-profit employer who values what I do, pays me well and gives me tons of autonomy. I'm not stressed, I'm not bored and I am not abused. I am not, however, doing direct patient care either. What I do directly impacts the patients but I am a couple of steps removed from the bedside.

All of this is to say that yes, nursing is hard. Finding a good employer is hard. Idealism at your age is real and some of the things you are learning will be there whether you are a nurse or you become something else. People are people, profits are profits and between the two there is a lot of room for individuals to sell their soul.

Nobody can answer this for you, but I would encourage you to try a different employer, preferably in acute care and not LTC. Being a CNA is a very, VERY hard job. I know. I did it before I became a nurse. But there are good teams and good employers out there. You will never find perfection but you will find ones that aren't as bad as where you are now.

Good luck!

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Like JKL33 said, it's impossible for someone else to know if you will love it, or hate it, or just tolerate it.

For myself, it's been a wonderful career. Frustrating at times, but challenging and rewarding.

Nursing is so much more than being at the bedside. You can go into teaching, or sales, or informatics. You can become a supervisor or even go into business for yourself. I hope you make the best decision for you.