Published Nov 28, 2004
I'm currently working as a CNA at an un-named location. Previously i've been in an RN program at the local college but wasn't ready for it and so am doing this for general experience until i resume nursing school. I love what i do. Now some days the residents get more cranky and needy then other days and we workers get on each other's nerves but that's life. I've worked at another home over the summer, then home care and now this place. I have my own routine to get things done, i always do my share of the work, offer help and sometimes have to ask for help but not often. The point is at the end of the night the charting is done, vitals, outputs, bm's, everyone is in bed, dry, comfortable, positioned, warm, skin care, mouth care, snacks if need be, and i make sure they're on their pads esp if they are incontinent and i lay out some washclothes and diapers on each bed and tube feeders and those with diff breathing while flat are raised up. I forget to do stuff sometimes like one night i didn't lay diapers out. But different aides act like they are know it alls and give me a big speech about something usually stupid and it makes me feel like a complete retard. I was trying to do oral care on this one lady and she had all this mucous in her mouth and i'm there swabbing can't get it to come out, she chokes a little, i take a clean washcloth and manuallu try to retrieve this slimy crap and still can't get it. I ask the nurse if he'd recommend suctioning. he goes it's called mouth care, i was like no kidding ( didn't say that of course). eventually he gets it but not before near ramming the swab down the back of her throat. I care about my residents, sort of like kids really esp the frail ones on death's door. if they need something i can't give like meds or oxygen suctioning or whatever i tell the nurse. I try so hard to get a long with my coworkers and the nurses. Then I was helping another aide change a lady that was pooped and she was a real mess, also extremely feisty, he asked me to get the male nurse to assist( he was currently not doing anything) and the nurse gets snippy about it and i said we have to clean her up now she is a mess. He goes what did i say? real mean like. Then the charge nurse comes in watching us struggle says what are ya killing yourselves for? I actually do say fine you and that other nurse take care of her then. I just feel like i'm not as important as the nurses or very smart. My partner keeps telling me dont' let them get to you, that's how they get their kicks basically. I said why would they want the new staff gone? My first week i got a list of 17 or 18 residents to care for, now we have about 10, we have more time to do things the right way, spend time with some of the residents, we get done earlier, more down time, so why would they want to mess that up is beyond me. Sometimes if a resident is upset we let them cool down and come back but for this one in particular no time is good, and the later at night it seems the wilder she gets. and i didn't want to leave her laying in a pile of poop and pee til she calmed down. Needless to say i just didn't go in today, went shopping instead. I remember in high school the teachers wanted me to take advanced tech prep program, honors level, and pre-college type courses like anatomy and chemistry. I've always gotten good grades, am in the college honor society, but now i feel like i'll never be anything. i feel like i've wasted so much time in college to be an aide. even aides that have only been doing this type of work for a couple years act like they are superior to me. They'll talk down like condescending telling me what to do and when and how to do it.
Sometimes Nursing is like a wolf pack. There has to be an Alpha nipping at everybody and making sure the rest are kept in their places with their tails between their legs!
Look at it this way, you have a plan for the future. Many of the NA's I've worked with have no other plans. The job is theirs for life, pays their bill and feeds their kids. They are basically powerless and enjoy the power of putting the new one down.
It takes a brave person to leave their comfort zone and that is what their jobs are to many of your co-workers. I've worked with LTC RN and LPN who were wary of trying to work anywhere else because they had lost skills by working in LTC and they drug knowledge was tied to geriatrics.
You have a plan. This job is an way to reach your goals.
If it gets to much try another unit. Don't hang on the same unit and become miserable. You're too young.
Sometimes Nursing is like a wolf pack. There has to be an Alpha nipping at everybody and making sure the rest are kept in their places with their tails between their legs!Look at it this way, you have a plan for the future. Many of the NA's I've worked with have no other plans. The job is theirs for life, pays their bill and feeds their kids. They are basically powerless and enjoy the power of putting the new one down.It takes a brave person to leave their comfort zone and that is what their jobs are to many of your co-workers. I've worked with LTC RN and LPN who were wary of trying to work anywhere else because they had lost skills by working in LTC and they drug knowledge was tied to geriatrics.You have a plan. This job is an way to reach your goals.If it gets to much try another unit. Don't hang on the same unit and become miserable. You're too young.Good Luck
I am a nurse who treats everyone the same...from physicians to janitors..No one on the planet is better than anyone else. Some people are where they are because of the benefits they have had, and others are where they are because of the benefits they never had in life. I wished we had more aides like you. You seem like a very caring aide who thinks about the patient first and takes pride in your work.The healthcare field is brutal. Good luck with your career choices.
"They are basically powerless and enjoy the power of putting the new one down." Fiona59
Just like she said some have nothing better in their life other than putting you down. I have worked as an aid in LTC and I am currently in a BSN program. When the other aids found out I was in school everything changed. I was taken as a threat to them. My DON tried to help after thing got bad but really she made things worse.
My point is you sound like someone who has it together or getting there unlike most CNAs. Just look at this as a stepping stone and try not to let it get to you. Although, I know that is hard to do.
Please PM me with any thoughts or questions. I have been there and I understand you.
I would love to work with you. That said, I'm sure the people you care for love to see that you're on shift. That's the bottom line: the people we serve are those we need to make happy. You are doing that. In my experience, co-workers who are snippy or have problems with whatever flavor of the day is for them, oftentimes are those who may be feeling guilty because I spend more time as a patient advocate than they do. I'm not perfect, but I know who I am working for and appreciate NA's who are on the same page as I am. Be there for your patients and continue on your road to gaining your RN license. What you learn now will pay off later. Be well.
purplemania, BSN, RN
you will leave them in the dust one day and look back on the whole thing as a learning experience (which it is). You are learning how NOT to act. I guess they feel threatened in some way, but that is not your concern. Your concern is to meet your goals!
Oh, you have potential.... don't let the sour apples bring you down. They are probably just intimidated by your goals, or maybe just suffering from burn-out, as healthcare can do that to you... It's nice that your patient ratios went down... Now if only every LTC would do that....
Good luck & keep caring about your patients, as without them, there is no need for the rest of us.
Hi. First of all, I could have written this post myself a few years ago. Now that I am further down the road, I'll try to share with you what I know. I hope it helps.
First off, its sounds like you are a good aide. I can tell you are responsible, conscientious and caring. Wish I could have worked with you when I was an aide. Second, you have a brain - it's telling you that something is terribly wrong, isn't it? Because you don't have a lot of experience and are learning things the hard way, I'll fill you in.
Purplemania is exactly right when it comes to the problems you are having with your co-workers. They don't have any power in their jobs, are overwhelmed as it is, and then YOU come along showing them up by being caring, compassionate and sensitive! Boy, if they can stick it to you they will! They have no future, they sense it and the little power they have, they will laud over you to make themselves feel better. Then to top it off, you have college ambitions! That's like throwing gas on the fire for them. They may not be smart, or then again maybe they are, and they just don't know HOW to get an education. They just know you are attempting something more than what they are doing. And they will haze you into being one of them, or will force you out.
Secondly, long term care facilities are a complete mess. Scary, huh? The facilities love to take advantage of people like you. You got 17 to 18 patients to take care of the first week, that was the first clue. They are short staffed and are probably doing it on purpose to make a profit. Facilities like these love the fact that you tried to do you best and that you stuck it out. With someone like you that actually DOES the work, they don't have to hire additional staff or use temps. You're worth two of the other aides, believe me. The people that actually LAST in these facitlities are the ones that have figured out how NOT to do their job and not get caught. They falsify their paperwork, make up IOs, vital signs, food percentages, BMs and ambulation records. They skip making the beds, washing bottoms, repositioning patients and washing hair. They disappear down the hall when they see a difficult or constantly incontinent patient coming. They lie through their teeth, backstab and complain loudly to get out of work. Become aware of these behaviors. You'll be able to spot them a mile away when you're a nurse.
But, in their defense its not completely their fault. This is how they have learned to cope with a work situation that day in and day out is overwhelming. The profit hungry owners of the facilties have created the situation and this is what human beings with no education and few options resort to doing to hang on to the only job they can get. Most aides in my experienced are single moms. Most work two jobs. Most have good hearts and know enough to feel guilty. Most are so tired and burned out they can't care anymore. And then YOU come along. Can you see what is happening? You and your fancy talk about becoming a nurse!
This problem unfortunatley is bigger than you. You can only try to do your best and learn from it. This is one big nasty life lesson for you. Take it as such to know what NOT to do when it comes to taking care of our elderly. Sharpen your skills to the best of your ability, learn the hoyer, the lifts and how to manage the cognitively impaired behavior of patients. Then go along and become a nurse, preferably an RN because that's what you'll need these days.
And don't think that these behaviors stops at the CNA level. They appear in nursing, too. You've already had one example: the charge nurse walking into the room and asking you what you were knocking yourself out for. That poor patient, not even the nurse was there to defend her in her helpless incontinent screwed up state. That pretty much tells you what kind of shape the facility and staff are in. PAY ATTENTION!
To cope in the meantime: Get your skills behind you, about four to six months. Keep your record clean and do what you can to maintain a clear conscience and do the best you can for your patients. Don't talk about your future plans. Don't get involved with the other aides. That's your business not theirs. When a temp CNA comes in ask them about their agency - find out which ones are good to work for. Get a job with an agency and make twice the money you are getting now as a staffer to pay for your education. You'll have to take advantage of this stupid system to rise above. Go to other facilities, not all are like the one you are in but most are, just be aware now that these difficulties exist and get rid of your naivity (Sorry, but I don't know how else to put it). Pick your assignments carefully. Get into a hospital if you can. Many hospitals will take you with your CNA and teach you to become a tech with phlebotomy and EKG skills. See the different units - this will help you when you become a nurse, too. Take this lemon you have encountered and squeeze, squeeze it, squeeze it, for all its worth. Learn! You have the potential of becoming an excellent nurse. You've got brains, you've got savvy! Start using them, girl!
I'm a nurse now. Because I couldn't afford college, I'm an LPN and I did it by competing for a position in the state program. That helped financially but I know enough now about facilties to try and stay out of them, which is pretty hard as an LPN in the state I'm in, I can tell you. But I'm squeezing my lemons, too, and will try to finish off my RN through Excelsior. I'm a good nurse now but as an RN with LPN and CNA experience behind me, I am going to kick some serious butt, you'll see. And you will, too! Someday a patient is going to look up at you from their bed and say, "Oh, thank god, it's you!" That's why you are doing all this isn't it? Keep the faith.
Oaky. I'm through now.:) Whew!
When I was going through nursing school, I had deferred from graduate school for biology. I worked at nights as an aide and would watch people years younger then me with no experience boss me around and make me feel totally incompetent. I was suma cum laude, graduated with awards, but felt like a failure because I was making so little money and getting treated like I was no good. I had always wanted to be a nurse and decided that It was time to fufill that. Dont let anyone make you feel down because youre an aide. These people who make you feel like you are no good, do so becuase they feel that they can. Youre better then that. If you can stick it out! I worked nights full time for three years, and it got to a point where people respected me more. I have been a nurse for awhile now and there are still people who remember me as a CNA and tell me that they are so proud of me or people who were ornery to me try and be friends (believe me there are a select few that I actually become friends with). Just dont be too discouraged, and try and change to another floor if you can or in another position. I hope you feel better about yourself and your importance.
I know how you feel, too. Several years ago when I was getting a different B.S. degree, I worked summers and holidays as an aide/monitor tech/ward clerk. I got that mightier-than-thou attitude from some of the other folks I worked with. I'll never forget one particular time when one of the clowns from the Shriner's made the comment to me when I was dragging some bags of dirty linens across the floor...."you wouldn't have to do that if you'd get an education, ya know." Of course, I let him know that I was only months from getting a Bach degree, but I don't think he even knew what that meant! He did shut up, though.
Now I'm working on my BSN, but I'm working at an insurance agency until I finish. People come in here with that same so-mighty attitude, thinking I am stupid just because I sit at the front desk. I just use that to help motivate me to get through nursing school, so I suggest you do the same. In the meantime, I would just make sure they know that you will not be pushed around. They are only doing that because you're letting them. I don't mean that in a mean way, so don't take it that way, but you have to learn to stand your ground now, because I suspect it's only going to get harder as you work yourself up the ladder of success. Someday you'll have to stand up to doctors and we all know that they think they sit right next to God at the dinner table, so start practicing now with the small potatoes!
You preform oral care without being "reminded"? You keep your residents warm, dry, clean, comfortable, safe, etc. without being "reminded"? We all need you! Keep up the good work! Your work ethic sounds outstanding, please don't let others take that away from you. Good Luck.
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