CNA trying learn to deal with rude residents

by fourO fourO (New) New Student

Has 4 years experience.

Hi, currently, I'm a freshman completing prereqs to apply to my university Nursing program and have been working as a CNA in assisted living for about a year now. I can only work once a week due to school, meaning my experience in the field is still somewhat limited. I enjoy patient care, but I have had some extremely rude and racist encounters from residents, and every time I think about working, I'm consumed by those conflicts which make me question my abilities and career path. I genuinely do feel like Nursing is for me, but I feel like my lack of experience at the moment is making me equate rudeness from residents as inadequacy in my skills. One issue is that I do not like the mentality of being subservient and being silent as a response to aggression from residents because I'm there to help their asses, not kiss them. But then what good does arguing do? I think there is a fine line between being patient and tolerating disrespect and I strive to further my skill in the former but I simply cannot entertain the latter. I know RNs perform patient care as well, but does it get easier to deal with these kinds of scenarios both on the job and emotionally as you gain more experience? And does it get easier once you find out what area you'd like to work in? I have no longer-term interest in geriatric care, but I feel like if I can't handle something as minimal as being a CNA, how am I going to be prepared for clinical and the real-life situations? As a man, I genuinely do think the more I look into this field, the more it is for me, but with anything in life, there are hurdles to overcome. However, I lack a mentor or guidance in this arena, so I would sincerely appreciate any sort of feedback or response. Thank you.


LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 9 years experience. 972 Posts

Being a CNA is not minimal! It’s a hard job and it’s great you’re getting experience before becoming a nurse. You will be ahead of the game! I developed a thicker skin after a whole but still hate dealing with these behaviors. Try not to take it personally, but threats and racism should not be tolerated and should be reported to administrators so the patients get talked to...


6,328 Posts

It's great that you are thinking through this.

3 hours ago, fourO said:

I do not like the mentality of being subservient and being silent as a response to aggression from residents because I'm there to help their asses, not kiss them. But then what good does arguing do?

The crux of everything is right ^ here.

There are many ways to look at the matter; many people choose the first part of your sentence (there to help not kiss) and some people resign themselves to the latter part of your sentence (what good does arguing do).

There is an in-between, plus many nuances.

A train of thought that has been helpful for me is not to think of it either of the two aforementioned ways. I try not to "reply in kind" (act like someone else is acting) when I don't care for the way they are acting. Why would I want to act just like they are when I know I don't like their way?

I prefer to think of being a rational, calming force, rather than thinking of myself as "tolerating disrespect." Taking the high road rather than ever fanning flames. Some of these things are indeed how one chooses to look at it.

One way or another, give some thought to what is more likely to preserve wholeness and keep you feeling that you have done right/good. We can't control what others do/say, but we can listen carefully and then respond in a way that doesn't leave us feeling bad about both what they did and what we did in return. ??



Has 4 years experience. 2 Posts

Ah, I see. Why reply in the way they're acting when that is the same approach I don't like right? That helps honestly I'll definitely keep it on my mind another encounter arises. Thank you.

Undercat, BSN, MSN, CRNA

Specializes in Retired. Has 41 years experience. 307 Posts

Bite your tongue and tell yourself that you're not the a-hole in the room and you get to go home; they don't. Don't give into the emotion because their behavior has nothing to do with you. Maintain firm boundaries and I know that it's easier sad than done:) Since you are asking the question, you will find the answer with an open mind and tincture of time.