First Impression of a CNA job


i went to fill out paperwork and do the drug testing for a cna class (taught at a nursing home) , which is a ns requirement. as i walked in to the lobby, there was an older lady in wheelchair rocking back and forth, saying "why is no one coming to get me", and crying! ! then there was a whole group of seniors sitting in chairs, and just looking at everyone passing by, a lot of them looked depressed, or just very lonely and upset.

i will start classes next week, but already decided to do my best and be more cheerful, and smile more, and help the resident feel better. i was raised by grandparents, and i think it will help if i just think of the residents as someone's grandparents, who need help and support. a couple of cna passed by the lady, who was crying, didn't pay attention to her, just walked by. she was still crying and rocking when i walked out, after 30 minutes of paperwork. i didn't know if it was appropriate to talk to her, so i just smiled at her.

it's gonna be a long road....


61 Posts

sorry for typos. i am off to do the drug testing now. i was trying not to take any tylenol last night, thinking it might show up as something weird in the drug test ;) yeah, can you tell i am still green


240 Posts

You do come across as "green" as well as very kind/motivated. I hope you don't lose that. The "green" will wear off eventually and when it does, you'll be even more valuable as a caregiver.

It's almost always appropiate to talk to residents (certain aggressive behaviors excluded) and smiling at them won't ever get you into trouble! It sounds like you really wanted to help this resident but felt powerless to do so. She did appear to be in distress but we don't know her history and perhaps someone looked after her needs as soon as you left....

Your concern illustrates not only your personality but your dedication as well. Rock on!

vashtee, RN

1,065 Posts

Specializes in DOU.

My mother in law suffered from Alzheimer's. Early on, she KNEW something was wrong, but she didn't know what, and so she was scared and cried a lot.

A lot of patients in nursing homes are suffering from dementia, and I am sure they, too are scared and confused. I'm sure there are other factors to consider, though.

Has 9 years experience.

Hi FindersKeepers.

I finished my CNA training a couple of years ago, but have not pursued the job (have my license too) I'm heading into the RN program at my local cc. As a CNA student, our first day of clinical, we experienced a similar situation - older woman in wheelchair but not crying, she was trying to pick invisible stuff off her clothing and the floor. It was an eye opening experience. You will see and experience a lot that you may find disturbing. Try to keep a positive attitude and do treat the residents as you would want your self or own parents/grandparents to be treated. Good luck! You can do it!

Specializes in Pediatrics.

I had similar thoughts when I first started to work as a CNA. It is good to keep in mind that these people are someones mother, grandmother, I see CNA's that dont seem to keep that in mind. Unfountantly I have worked with some of them. One of the aides told some of the residents that they couldnt drink anymore water after 10pm because they were going to the bathroom to much, she said this when we were having 100 degree days. However there are residents that do yell no matter what you do.


110 Posts

ok, IMHO... one of the reasons I believe some CNAs act that way is that they are burned out. We have to take into consideration that their ratio exceeds the nurse-pt one, by a whole lot. Plus, they have to do housekeeping chores and assist the nurses. One more minute they spend with a pt, and their whole routine crumbles down.

CNA is a very demanding job... some people go in there because it seems like a more reputable way to earn money, or as a way to start their nursing career. By this situation you have learned that you can make a difference, and you will if you keep your spirits up :) Good luck!


PS to all nurses and people who benefit from CNAs: Don't forget to show them that they are appreciated and their help is valued. Peace

Ms Kylee

4 Articles; 782 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg, Hospice. Has 4 years experience.

You did well, and I'm sure you will make a great CNA! Unfortunately, at most of the nursing homes I've been to (and doing Clinical at one now), a lot of the CNA's don't want to take the few extra seconds to talk to the residents. Where I'm doing clinicals now, it seems like they just want to get the resident's to bed at 6:00, no later than 7 (right after dinner) so they don't have to deal with them anymore.

I'm not saying this is all nursing homes, but it's common practice around here. Sad.

Good luck with the new job. :balloons:

locolorenzo22, BSN, RN

1 Article; 2,396 Posts

Specializes in Ortho, Neuro, Detox, Tele.

When I first started in a LTC center as a assistant activity director...NO one seemed to want to take the time to get to know the residents....activities were done without feedback and without really trying to make an effort to include everyone...

I was promoted after 1 month :idea: with NO idea what I was doing....went on to take the state 36 hour course, and then tried to incorporate ideas into the facility...I prided myself on ALWAYS sticking up for the residents(with some exceptions)....some CNAs would leave older women with dirty clothes, food stains on them after dinner, etc....and I would come back to work occasionally just to "check" on new department workers, then ask the CN why so and so was not wearing clean clothes, etc....never overstepping my bounds..but I effectively felt that I became the 2nd in command around the facility...

EVERY MORNING, I said good morning to everyone I saw, and went to breakfast tables to find particular residents and invite them to the day's activities....EVERY night, I went around and said good night to everyone I could find in the 4-5 common areas.....

After a year, I felt a difference in how residents responded to me, and a difference in how staff interacted with residents....if there was a problem, most residents came to me, and I could talk them through issues...(It was a MI facility, btw....)

I miss it, but knowing that school will allow me to help people all across the spectrum is really helping me get through it....

Just do your best, and never change who you'll have tough days, but just don't let them get you down for long.....


107 Posts

Finderkeeper, I can already tell you're going to be a great nurse! I also had to get a CNA certification as a prerequisite to nursing school. I made sure I had a smile and a "hello" for everyone I saw, whether they were demented or not. Many times, I would get down on my knees, next to their wheelchairs, and look them in the eye while I listened to or talked to them. As a student, one of the greatest gifts you can give to those old people is your TIME. Like you, I tried to think of them as someone's grandparent and give them as much respect as I possibly could in a situation that might be undignified for them. I also tried to remember that one day I will be old like them and treated them the way I hope someone would treat me. Yes, there were sad experiences and there were some residents that were ornery no matter how nice I was, but I enjoyed my clinical time. Remember that there could be medications or dementia involved and don't take anything personally. I also remember how sweet it was when they said things like "I love you" or "I wish YOU could put me to bed every night." I actually miss some of the residents I worked with.

Try to never lose sight of the compassion you felt today. To share your light with others who are lonely, scared or depressed is such a gift!! 2.gif


1 Post


I just want to let you know that when you do become a CNA you will meet many different kinds of people. The lady you saw today may always behave like that because of an illness. Or she may really be scared or sad. Since you may not know you would always treat everyone with you did by smiling. Not all Nursing Homes are horrilbe. I promise that. I have been a CNA for many years and can honestly tell you that I have only seen a few bad cases in which the CNA's or the Nurse's were mean. Those people never last. I am sure you will enjoy being a CNA. You will not only be helping others but you will learn so much. But keep in mind, you can work in hospitals, Dr.'s offices, private duty, or work with young kids or people in rehabs. There are choices out there for you.

Good Luck!

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