RN's forced to do CNA work - page 5

I am a new nurse and was wondering if this is a standard practice. When my floor needs to use a CNA to sit with a patient, they often have an RN take on the CNA's job for that shift. The RN no... Read More

  1. by   realmaninuniform
    Ok, without passing judgement I will say this: No, it is not uncommon for facilities to "force" nurses to do CNA work. With that said, given this opportunity you are a SUPER CNA. You can do FAR more than a CNA can and have a much broader knowledge and skill base to work from. Not too mention you can serve a dual function, making the same wage and doing less work.

    I admit, that fresh out of nursing school I was a little hesitant to do aide work.. And there were definitely times I felt it was "below" my skill set. But I never let it show. I just did what I was asked, when I was asked, to the best of my ability. Rule number one in the health care field should be nothing is below you... And with that said, as a nurse, NOTHING is below you. I've saved lives with CPR and heimlick manuever, and I've also sat with a pt when they took their final breath, and everything in between.

    This business is about people. It's about sickness and health, it's about poverty and wealth. It's about giving birth, and taking the last breath. If you're not in it for your pts, you are in the wrong field.

    Far too many these days have went into nursing thinking it's a gravy job making good money. This couldn't be farther from the truth, as soo many are now learning. It's hard work, mentally, emotionally, and physically, and when it's all said and done, the pay really isn't worth it. The satisfaction, gratitude, and admiration of your pt's and family members is what does it, and is what keeps me in the field to this very day.
  2. by   Mas Catoer
    As long as it is not part of bullying a new comer then I may consider it as temporary and situational assignment. Yes all patient basic needs are the responsibility of every nurse that assigned to the unit. But in achieving unit goals toward efficiency and effectiveness of care then the saying about the right professional for the right duty should be brought up.
  3. by   anon456
    We are short CNA's on my unit right now. If we are lucky we have two CNA's for 24 beds (step down ICU peds). They help sooo much and I really value them, and miss them when we are short. They do all the vitals, I&O's, bathe the babies, help with trach tie changes, help so, so much with settling the families and settling the restless patients. Of course if I go to a room and a child needs a diaper change or impromptu bath I will be happy do it. What better way to do a full assessment? On our unit, with full staffing of CNAs or not, we are a team and we pull our weight and then some. It is not below the nurses to change diapers or bathe or fill water pitchers.

    When we only have one CNA for 24 beds it's hard. The most challenging part for me is to keep with turning and changing the total care kids, and the nurses have to pair up to change the bigger total care kids which takes away from our duties. And then we get a talking to for clocking out late . . .
  4. by   MerryMoonDancer
    So long as this is not only happening to you, and each nurse is taking his/her turn as the CNA for the day, I say look at it as a learning experience. If you ever transfer to a hospital that doesn't have CNAs (or has one CNA to 30 patients), knowing how to bath/change/reposition a patient and change their linens/get them up in a timely manner can come in super handy! It's just skills practice And the bonus is, you can do a thorough assessment at the same time.
  5. by   enchantmentdis
    Quote from RNsRWe
    I think we're just not "getting" each other online....which is too bad, because I suspect it has more to do with the medium than the topic. I'm not arguing, I'm explaining....and apparently it's not working out as intended. I certainly meant no offense, which it looks like you've taken....so, MY apologies in that case. Not sure why it bothers you that I was defending the OP, but....again, I seem to be annoying you and that wasn't my intent.

    And now I'm wondering what the OP has to say, having created the row in the first place...?

    What the heck can she(the op) say; the same old thing, she doesn't want to me a CNA and didn't go to school for that. Can't blame the op one bit. Others just can't handle someone being honest about not wanting to be a nurse's aide. They feel hurt somehow.
  6. by   enchantmentdis
    I was a cna long before becoming an RN, and yes when i'd have to be a "sitter" or a cna for a day, i didn't like it. Period.
  7. by   GGT1
    If we are down a tech and have an extra nurse, they assign a nurse to be a tech for the day. I guess they could just call the extra nurse off, but then we'd be extra short. I don't consider a CNA's job duties to be her's alone, so it doesn't bother me. I hate when nurses think they are TOO GOOD to do the "dirty work"
  8. by   mclennan
    Warms my heart to see so many RNs here saying how much they loved being a CNA and still love it. I, too, miss being a CNA. It's so wrong that the people who do the most intimate work, with the most patient contact, get paid the least. It's deeply honorable work that reminds me where I came from.

    OP, I totally get what you're saying - and agree - I worked hard for my BSN/RN and I'd chafe if asked to do aide work on a regular, FREQUENT basis, but there's no "I" in "team" and all that. I'm not there to serve my needs. I'm there for the patients' needs 1st & my supervisors' needs 2nd, PERIOD. They wanna waste money on RNs as sitters or butt wipers then, fine. Their money, their decision. If it happened too often and I didn't like it, I'd try talking with my DON and if that didn't work, hit the bricks and look for another job.

    I can pretty much guarantee after you've grown a few greys and are a little crispier around the edges, you'll welcome any aide work for RN pay you can get!
  9. by   Nurse Kyles
    This happens at my job somewhat frequently. None of the RNs really mind unless it is two day in a row. If a CNA calls in, they will try to fill the opening with whoever is willing to come in. Also open cna shifts will be posted, and if no CNAs sign up, RNs can work the shift. We do get paid time & a half for short notice & open shifts. So nurses are usually pretty enthusiastic about doing cna work for time & a half
  10. by   DogWmn
    What a rare opportunity you had, to sit and observe the patient for a whole shift. I worked as a patient sitter for a year. Often when I needed a break it was the RN who filled in and they were glad for it.
  11. by   Meriwhen
    Quote from DogWmn
    What a rare opportunity you had, to sit and observe the patient for a whole shift. I worked as a patient sitter for a year. Often when I needed a break it was the RN who filled in and they were glad for it.
    Having done both the sitter/1:1 and the CNA/tech role...I'd rather be the CNA/tech. 1:1s are a nice change, but most of the time it's too boring for me to do for more than a couple of hours. I'd rather be kept busy because it helps time pass faster.
  12. by   Elladora
    We are told when we are hired that we will be expected to work every level of care UP TO our highest level of training. Translated, an RN can do the work of a DCP, CNA, CMA and LPN and is expected to if the workload calls for it.

    Just be glad you are getting the RN level of pay.
    Last edit by Elladora on Oct 7, '12
  13. by   PNWRN
    On my former med/surg unit we rarely had CNAs and when we did they refused to wipe "poo" or do any "housekeeping" type of work. I got tired of asking for help as they disappeared with the Dinamap and took proper care of the patients myself. However, it definitely takes a toll on a nurse with a heavy patient load and responsibility to do it alone. I was a CNA back in the day when we worked to provide the best care for our patients and I was at my nurse's side helping our patients together as a team. Those were the best days of my nursing career learning true patient care as a CNA. Today it is not the same and is considered a "dirty" job. Nonsense!