Cna bonding too much with me...

Nurses General Nursing


I work nites with only one CNA. We work alot with each other. She is a single parent who isn't from the area and doesnt have any family in the area. She's been dealing with alot of problems at home with one of her kids.. I hear alot about her problems.. she calls me alot at home.. almost daily. She recently had been admitted to the hospital for a couple of days or so for some type of mental illness.. I always wondered if she had some type of personality disorder. I am suspecting she is histonic. She seems to have alot of the symptoms except for dressing sexual and flirting.. She always seems to have some type of drama in her life. Anyways.. it seems like lately she has bonded too much with me to the point that it is really starting to bother me...

After her hospitalization she came to work and was telling staff and some of the nursing home residents that she was in the hospital.. some of them she told what for, some she hasn't. I am getting the impression she is doing it to get attention.

Any ideas, suggestions?

Specializes in PACU, LTC, Med-Surg, Telemetry, Psych.

Well, living on the pay we make as CNA's can contribute to problems. Ah, paranoia about landlords and power companies tends to contribute to CNA craziness... but that is another thread.

But still, the medical field gets catty with a lot of rumor spreading and gossip. I have seen folks lose their job or lose lots of face if they talk about problems at work too much. Even to the point of questioning folks' mental health or competency. You probably want to distance yourself or be considered 'a bird of a feather'?

Tell her that it probably is not cool to be talking about stuff like that around folks. I did know of one CNA who had some stuff going on while working a LTAC I was at in Louisiana who got canned for telling a patient she got depressed and felt worthless and wondered why she went on living. Folks do not want to hear that stuff.

Maybe you should suggest she talk to a rabbi/priest/monk or therapist of her choice? Those people would seem much better to talk about such things with than a co-worker. Religious leaders cost nothing to talk to, and there are many low-income counselors for us low paid folks if you look around. The last thing you need as a CNA is another job hunt. We do not have it as sweet as the nurses with awesome travel deals and other job opportunities.

Good luck, It is a tough spot. You do not want to appear brutal or uncaring, but, some folks hang themselves with their own rope.

Specializes in Hospice / Psych / RNAC.

If you give someone your phone number; expect that they will call you. The CNA is under the impression that your are her buddie. You need to set the person straight for both your sakes.

I don't understand what you want. IMO you led her on by accepting her confidences "daily" when she would call you to tell you of her life's story. You allowed the "bonding" by listening to the phone conversations. Certain events have occurred that puts the spotlight on her thereby possibly exposing your relationship with her as a friend. Now you don't want people to believe you are friends or you are not friends enough with her. Hmmm.........could it be that now since she is publicly exposed as having a mental illness you want to distance yourself from her possibly due to the stigma that people with a mental illness face? You know; such as people not wanting to associate with them; distancing themselves etc...........

She needs reliable, sincere friends. Do her a favor and tell her the truth.

I gave Kudos to the above post for one reason. You have accepted her "bonding" over time, but are not accepting your own responsibility to set your own boundaries. You are unwittingly sending this very needy person mixed messages. It is very rare that I have made friends at work that I consider good friends outside of work. Getting along is NOT the same as sharing knowledge about personal things. Since this CNA is probably not balanced enough to set those boundaries, it is your job to do so if you do not want her to bond with you. unfortunately, now that things have gone this far, that will be all the more difficult. Hope it works out.

Also, want to add, somebody needs to tell this person that it is absolutely unacceptable to be sharing her personal problems with nursing home residents.

Specializes in LTC.

You need to take responsibility. There is no way I would give a CNA my phone number. Period. You broke those professional boundaries when you gave her your personal contact info.

Specializes in Medical Surgical Orthopedic.

I would probably attempt to keep conversations limited and light. I wouldn't have opinions about anything this "friend" said, and I wouldn't try to determine her motives (or what personality disorders she might have). Being uninvolved is the key....but there is no way to go from being very available to unavailable without causing offense. You just might make a new enemy.

And honesty is admirable, but I doubt it would do much for you under these circumstances. In fact, I suspect it would create a lot more drama.

Hi Nd Deb:

In order to understand the situation more completely, I went to your profile and read it. If I am reading it correctly, you are a nursing student but still working as a CNA. Is this correct?

Aside from the current problem you are having, I foresee a potential future problem if you work there after you are licensed and remain on the same shift. Your status will have changed and your fellow CNA's status will not have changed. You will be in a position of authority over her and so will have a very different relationship to her.

Not a good position to be in at all.

Also, previous replies have cited the fact that work friendships can be trouble if they are allowed to exceed certain boundaries.

Good luck to you. I hope you can find a solution that is satisfactory and not detrimental to either of you.


I didn't give out my phone number. The schedule has everyone's number on it. This person calls everyone. She didn't call me until I started working nites with her. At first it wasn't often but as time as gone on it has gotten more so. I never worked with her as a CNA but on nites since there is only one cna on we are to help them out with answering lights. I requested to work a different shift and the next time she calls I am gonna tell her I that she needs to talk to a counsellor, find a support group somewheres. The last time I talked to her she made it sound like she was gonna use her recent hospitalization as an excuse to do less work. Gonna also tell her that is the impression I got from her. I never have tried to make friends with her. Over time it is like she just latched on.. she tells everyone her problems.. almost too open that I wonder if it is more so to get attention.

Well, she clearly wants attention but she is also clearly mentally ill.

Be kind. Be distant. Refer her to resources that can help her.

Specializes in LTC.

well maybe you can talk with her and/or write her a letter to state your feelings. Perhaps having a manager mediate the conversation would be wise. Your facility should not have numbers posted on the schedule. That is a breech of privacy imho.

Specializes in Gerontological Nursing, Acute Rehab.

Does your facility offer an Employee Assistance Program? They offer counseling/therapy free of charge.

Refer her to Human Resources. Or, if you feel that her personal problems are interfering with her ability to do her job, you might want to go to HR yourself with your concerns. Otherwise, I would just stay out of it. I disagree with letter writing or even talking to her about it...that's not your place.

+ Add a Comment