First CNA job

  1. I'm pretty excited, I start orientation next week for my first CNA job. I'll be working in the float pool at the hospital, so will have the opportunity to work in most units. I'm hoping to get into nursing school this fall, so this is great since I'll get to know a good chunk of the hospital before I even start nursing clinicals! I'm a little nervous about not having a "home" unit but looking forward to the challenge of getting to know each different unit and all the people there.

    Has anyone else started out in a float position in a hospital with no prior experience? I'd welcome any advice!
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    About SentimentalGeek, RN

    Joined: May '09; Posts: 84; Likes: 28


  3. by   Glenna, LPN
    When I was working at the hospital as a CNA 2 I was working every weekend on evening shift in the surgical department (when I got into my LPN program I went on-call and worked different shifts). When the surgical department didn't need me I would float around the hospital which was very common if another department needed help. I liked floating to oncology or other medical departments. Those were fun for me. I felt a little awkward when they would float me to the emergency department. I learned early on truma wasn't my cup of when the paramedics would bring in a women from the women's prison who had been stashing away her pills and took them all, overdosed, and then slit her wrists. Dealing with bloody arms and trying to take her bloodpressure as she lays handcuffed to the bed and a cop is watching my every move. Yeah no. I also didn't enjoy being floated to ICU/IMCU. I almost had a heart attack when I pulled off a lead once. I also didn't like the feel, I think it's because of the higher stress in those units.

    I wouldn't give up any of the experience I've gained being floated to different parts of the hospital. I learned what I liked and didn't like. I think that you will have a lot of fun working a float position, that way when you become a nurse you will know where you want to go in away.

    GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^
  4. by   SentimentalGeek
    Thank you so much for the reply! I too am a little worried about working in the ED and ICU, I already know that they're not my first preference for nursing. I'm sure it will be stressful but I suppose there aren't many areas of nursing that aren't! It will be good practice.

    Did you feel like you got to know your coworkers even though you floated to different units?
  5. by   Glenna, LPN
    I totally agree, it is good practice! Even on the surgical department someone could code after surgery but that was more my cup of tea than those other units.

    Anyway, yes, I did feel that I got to know co-workers in different units. At the hospital that I worked at everyone at some point or another gets floated to different units depending on staff or low censes ect.(unit closes but you want to work but someone else from another unit wants to go home you take their place they go home for example). After awhile I think you will find that you will be well known among your co-workers and you'll find yourself more comfortable in your abilities as a CNA and as a nurse someday.

    Something that amused me after awhile you'll find yourself friends with co-workers on facebook and you'll notice nurse's and CNA's from different units on each other's friends list because of floating.

    I hope this helps you.
  6. by   SentimentalGeek
    That's great to hear and does help a lot, thanks. Where I currently work and all jobs in the past have been at fairly small companies, so thinking about working with so many different people in a biggish hospital is a little daunting. Looking forward to it though!
  7. by   sweetie_pie
    Congratulations on scoring your first CNA job! I am planning to get my certification this semester and am so excited I can hardly wait :spin: Working in the float pool at the hospital is exactly what I want to do before I go into nursing school. Any tips or advice on how you scored your job? Yay!!! That's really awesome.
  8. by   SentimentalGeek
    Thanks for the congrats! The main tip I have is to be persistent. I received my certification in September and applied for any and all postings on the hospital's website if they had hours compatible with my school schedule. I received a call from one unit manager for an interview and it turned out I wasn't going to be able to start because of how orientation is set up - I couldn't miss that much school. She said to come in to meet her anyway and I got a tour of the unit. She said to call back as soon as the semester ended, and I called her the very day the semester ended. She said that she'd just hired two CNAs but would flag my file and let me know as soon as anything came available. In the meantime I kept applying for jobs and got a call for an interview on yet another unit. That was a panel interview that went very well, and it was between me and one other candidate. They took the other candidate, so I kept on applying. I finally received the call for the float pool position and she only asked to chat with me informally before offering me the job - as it turned out, the unit manager from the first go round (that never even actually interviewed me) told her about me. Making good impressions and contacts can make a huge difference! I accepted the float pool job and I kid you not, an hour later the manager from the unit where I did the full panel interview called to say the other candidate declined and asked me to take the job. I stuck with the float pool since it seems like it will help me get the most experience, but I was shocked at how far a little networking and good impressions got me! To make a long story short (sorry!) - just keep trying. It took me 3 months of applying before I got in, and now I'm thrilled! Other than that, make sure to mention that you are a pre-nursing student in your cover letter or application information. I also included my nursing prerequisite GPA and explained that I am very interested in working as a CNA to get a solid understanding of what each person on the unit is experiencing as I make my way up through nursing school, since I plan to eventually get my Master's. Hope that helps!
  9. by   sweetie_pie
    That does help so much! Way to be persistent and not let a few setbacks get you down. Thank you so much for your response. I especially liked your idea of explaining that you wanted to get an understanding of what each person on the unit is experiencing as you make your way through school and mentioning that you are a pre-nursing student in your cover letter. It sounds like connections are the way to go!
  10. by   Lovecats85
    Congrats on getting your first CNA job in a hospital!!! That is awesome!!
    I have been pulled to other units when they are short and it just takes some time to adjust. I am sure you will do an excellent job. The best part of all this is that you will be exposed to so much more. Try to soak everything in like a sponge. Hopefully when you are done with nursing school you will have a job waiting for you! Good luck my friend!