Anxiety over CNA course

  1. Hi all. I don't mean to be annoying or anything...but I'm so anxious about my CNA course. It started today and it is Monday through Friday, about 8 am to 4:30 PM ending on the 17th. Today we learned hand washing, putting on and removing gloves, and making beds.

    The instructor read some power points on the screen and talked a bit about that then we were thrown into groups to do the bed making. I never got to try making a bed with a patient in it. The instructor didn't even come around and watch all of us but she will be checking it off for every student on the state checklist thing. There is a textbook but it was never opened and we were never told to read it. We were given a quiz which I think might have had things she didn't even talk about on it as well as homework with things not discussed (that I found in the book that we never opened nor were told to read).

    I'm not even sure how much of the book I am supposed to read so far. I am certain that at this point I have no idea how to make a bed (considering all of the fancy, elaborate steps involved), with or without a resident in it. We were shown a 13 minute video then expected to get up and be able to do it. I had no idea what I was doing and I asked if we'd get a chance to do it again before clinicals and such. I was told we can do it at home.
    Is this generally how CNA courses go? I am frankly so terrified now that I won't get any of this down pat and won't be able to pass the state exam. I'm just kinda...freaking out a little. Do I have anything to worry about? What can I do to ensure that I learn these skills on my own time since the instruction received in-class is not adequate for me? Of course, I don't have the video to go through the steps of bed making here at home and from what I've read, different states or instructors will expect you different methods from their students. Agggh am I overreacting?

    PS, I am in Iowa if it matters.
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    Joined: Aug '12; Posts: 2; Likes: 1


  3. by   MJeanRN
    Calm down and breathe. Starting anything in nursing is sometimes confusing and frustrating. Whether it's a CNA course or obtaining your registered nursing degree, you have to realize that at some point you have to take resposibility for your own learning. I understand how you feel, and many of us have been there and felt the same way!

    My advice is this: whether you were told to read the book or not, read the book. It contains valuable information that your state expects you to know about how to practice as a CNA. I'm betting that the book breaks down how to do all of your skills STEP BY STEP. Also, it may contain a link to websites that may give you further information about skills. Fell free to use youtube! I cannot tell you how much I relied on youtube throughout nursing school to learn how to do something.

    Lastly, common sense goes a loooong way in any level of nursing. For example, would you want to touch someone else's soiled linens without gloves on? Would you want to hold clean linens against your dirty work clothes? Things like that are common sense, and I bet if you thought about it, it's things you would do whether the book/video told you to or not. I'm guessing you actually DO know how to make a bed, it's just the "critical" steps that you HAVE to get right are overwhelming you. Try practicing at home with a pillow to substitute as a resident.

    Knowledge is power! Read your book and do a little research and you'll be powerful! Good luck to you.
  4. by   kpossible
    This totally sounds like the 15 day course that I took. You should have gotten time in your class to practice it but next time, try to go first to make sure you have a chance? How big is your class? These skills are easily practiced at home but when you do it in class, you have your classmates and instructor to catch your mistakes. Common sense, as MJeanRN said, is part of the reasoning on when and why you do certain actions, like before a water skill, make sure to put on gloves! Or if you're doing female pericare or catheter care, the sheets will be "dirty" in order for you to perform the skill so you put on gloves!

    Step-by-step is important in the promissor exam as you'll need to mention if you missed a step of the skill. Learn from your mistakes and take advantage of observing others as they do the skills. Did you get a small booklet about the skills on the exam? All the steps are listed in there and the textbook. If you don't get something the day that you practice it in class, review it at home if you have time because a skill takes up to 15 min tops once you get the hang of it (unless it is full bed bath, but that's a real life skill & modified bed bath is what you're tested on?) Try to become friends with at least one person in your class. Good luck with the rest of your class and hang in there!
  5. by   WannaBNursey
    Your experience is par for the course. Mine was similar. M-R 7 or 8am-4:30 or 5pm, a month long. We would have a test every day over things in the book, if you failed 2 tests or had to retake a test more than once you were out of the program. If you got kicked out once and had to leave or got kicked out again you were not allowed back in the program. Our instructor would demonstrate the skill once and we had to do it correctly right after her. We also had to watch each and every other member of the group do the skills, so we all got to stand in one spot for a few hours watching skills. It was stressful to say the least.

    Yes, different states do things differently for their CNA skills tests. I did my training in Tennessee and moved to Florida right afterward and took the exam here. They required me to do catheter care which was not required in TN and empty a urinary drainage bag. I had done that during my clinicals, but never in the skills lab, so it was all greek to me. I failed my first time and passed the second time with more studying.

    Yes you can practice or at least watch videos at home! I still go through and brush up on some of my skills. Working primarily in home health, I don't always get to use all of my CNA skills. 4yourCNA's channel - YouTube I use these videos to remind myself of how to perform skills correctly.

    Good luck to you. You'll get through it.
  6. by   nervousstudent
    Hey guys. I just want to thank you for your responses and support. It helps a lot. We had our first clinical today and it was actually pretty great, I enjoyed myself which was surprising as I was not sure that I would. After working with actual people instead of practice dummies, I do feel more comfortable. I've found that I learn better on my own by reading my book instead of watching videos and doing group activities in class so I've been trying to do a lot of that. I will be fine tuning my skills by practicing on family and reading the book as much as I can in order to prepare for the final test as well as the exam for the certification.

    I am feeling quite excited about this and I'm disappointed that we have to go back to the classroom Monday and Tuesday instead of clinicals. I hope I pass all of the tests so I can be a CNA.

    As for direct responses:
    You should have gotten time in your class to practice it but next time, try to go first to make sure you have a chance?
    I think my problem is that I'm kind of socially anxious and the pressure to know what I am doing and perform it well in front of other students really gets to me. I have yet to feel really comfortable practicing with my group even though I find them to be friendly and likable. They all have healthcare experience and I do not. Sometimes they say/do things that make me feel like an idiot, such as clapping when I perform a simple task correctly, like a single step in bed making. It's embarrassing. At least there are only two lecture/classroom days left of class. Also, there are 18 students and one instructor at a time.

    Did you get a small booklet about the skills on the exam?
    I don't think so

    SuperMeghan91, your class sounds like it was very strict. Mine isn't so bad. They allow you to retake tests if you receive a C or below I think. I have only missed one single question out of all of the exams thus far. Thanks for the link, I will check that out.

    And thank you again to everyone. The support and advice is much appreciated.
    Last edit by nervousstudent on Aug 10, '12 : Reason: additional info