Published Oct 28, 2004
I am so frustrated right now I'm not sure which end is up. I hope you can offer some advice or shed some light. I am a nursing student right now. While attending school I work as a CNA in a nursing home. I have had this position for a little over a month now and find myself becoming more frustrated every day. There was supposed to be an "orientation" period in which I floated all of the units to become familiar with the residents, what they need, and how this facility works. What I was given was "go tag along with this CNA and watch, and if we are short one day on staffing, we'll throw you right into your own assignments." WHat I have learned is that the CNA's I work with are more concerned with getting to breaks on time with whom they want to be on break with. I work in a community that is composed of Indian, Polish, and Mexican CNA's. I do not speak any of the languages. However, they do, constantly and it makes it very difficult for me to understand just what it is that is expected of me. One of the CNA's admonished me for not picking up two room trays---the residents were still eating! I am not going to tkae food away from an elderly resident who needs all the nourishment they can get. She was upset because this delayed breaktime. I let it go thinking that there's one in every bunch.
Yesterday was the topper for me though. I was on a unit of 34 beds with 4 CNA's, myself included. Not on orientation any longer I received my assignment from the CNA that has been there longer. (This is common practice across all of the units.) The list I received concerned residents I have never dealt with before. The description of the residents were very general, ADL's, WC, Toilet, etc. Nothing in regards to their physical capabilities or mental status, that you have to fish for yourself. I was told that if I needed any help, just to ask....the trick here is actually finding someone and then if they are "not too busy" to help. I was feeling ill when I went yesterday morning to boot. So I'm off. My first resident was a very confused lady. It took me over 30 minutes to convince her to allow me to change her and dress her. She bit me, she cussed at me, etc. I can deal with this, but I couldn't find anyone available to ask questions..such as...can she stand, can she walk with assistance to the commode...
I went through 3 more residents and got them up and dressed. One of them had a prosthetic leg and I have never dealt with this before. Thank goodness the resident was alert enough to instruct me on how to safely place her prosthetic so that she may use it. Again, no one to be found. The next 2 residents were both listed as standing hoyer patients. There is only 1 hoyer available to four connecting units...68 beds. I asked the charge nurse where I may fing it, she said to ask a CNA, I asked the CNA's, and they said to just look for it. 45 minutes later I have located it. The first resident I got up was paralyzed on half of her body adn could not speak. She had to be in mass services per the family request by 1030a, it was already 10am at that point. I asked for assistance as she needed to be showered....sorry, we're going on break. I got her to the toilet and then to the shower. She has prosthetics that I've never seen before nor knew how to put on properly. My resident could not speak and therefore could not assist me. After her shower I was dressing her and pulled the cord to capture the attention of one of the other aides. The aide came in and asked me what I thought I was doing by pulling the cord in the shower. I told her I never applied these kind of prosthetics and would like to be shown how. She said she was busy too, and thta it was no big deal, just strap them on and stand her up. WHAT???!!! This woman's feet were severly contracted and didn't fit these "boots" of hard plastic. WHat if I applied them wrong and stood her up in the shower room and she fell? That would be my fault! The aide left me, laughing at me! By this point I was sweating profusely, dizzy and my body hurt all over. I begged another CNA to help me out and he did, understanding that all I needed was to be shown how to do it correctly, not that I was trying to skirt on any responsibility. We got this woman taken care of and to mass-10 minutes late but we got there. Now That I have all of my residents taken care of I wanted to take my break and get some fluids into me..but the other two aides have gone to lunch already...right on time mind you! I found myself answering the call lights by myself. When they returned I went to my DON and told her I was feeling quite ill, she let me go. I come hone and turns out I have a fever of 101. Within hours of that I am blown over by body aches, chest pain, and a killer headache-Flu. I called this morning at 5am and left word that I would not be in today, thinking that the facility would not want a flu case around elderly residents. I got a call back at 720a saying that I was on the schedule and did not show. I said I had called and left a message, which is unacceptable I came to find out. I needed to speak to a supervisor. I only have the DON's number which dumps me in the v-mail. I was never told about this...some orientation things that were missed maybe? I jsut don't know what to do or how I should approach this. It seems this facilty puts time in front of the residents and breaks are more important. Is this common? Ugh! If so, I think I'd rather go back to office work while I geet my RN.
VickyRN, MSN, DNP, RN
RUN, do not walk from this facility! Shameful the quality of care our elders are receiving in SOME nursing homes, due to short-staffing or staffing of poor quality
Maggie in NC
I totally agree with Vicky. If they aren't helpful now, it's not going to get better! It's sad and makes you realize you really have to respect the GOOD CNAs!!
I agree with the above posters. Leave that place ASAP. If they don't treat you with consideration or respect even when you're sick, it's time to move on.
Mona Mona, BSN, RN
I am SO sorry it's this bad for you!
I would definitely suggest going back to office work! And giving them one heck of an honest exit interview when you leave! That sounds like a nightmare!
I am taking pre-reqs and will apply for my BSN school in May of 2006 (I am ona 2 1/2 (at least!) year waiting list for my ADN program. SO.....I will work part time in office work, which is all I know. I volunteer at a hospital right now, and while it's no where near as bad as what you are describing, I still don't want to be a CNA like everyone is telling me to, becasue, frankly, it's HARD! Office work I know, it's okay, and pretty easy for me. CNA is backbreaking work.
Good luck on whatever you decide to do.......
lovingtheunloved, ASN, RN
I agree that you should find another job. But I would urge you to still work as a CNA. I'm doing pre reqs for nursing, and I have learned SO MUCH as a CNA. And I'm learning more all the time. That can only benefit me when I become a nurse. That situation sounds awful. I agree with kropinak. Be VERY forthcoming in the exit interview.
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