What do nurses really think of CNAs? - page 2

I have been working as a CNA in a LTC facility for the past four years. I am posting on this forum, because I would like some feedback from nurses. Recently at work, a survey was handed out to... Read More

  1. by   CoffeeRTC
    CNAs are the backbone of a LTC facility. Without them, I'm not sure what would happen. I've worked as a CNA before getting my RN. I 've walked the walk, so I will talk the talk. Its a hard job, but doable if done right and as a team. I love working the weekends that Ido. I absolutly love my CNA staff! They are a mix of young and old, experinced and newer. Since we all tend to work the same weekends, we mesh together. They know what I expect from them and I know what they expect from me. As a nurse/ supervisor..they and the care they give are my responsibility. They know there jobs, I know mine. I am always willing to help and have a very open mind to what they go thru dealing with difficult pts, etc.
    Now...on my opposite weekends or during the week, the staffing is different and I deal with alot of what Angio O Plasty was talking about. Not good.
  2. by   Katydidit34
    I'm a nursing student and a Tech/Aide. I was orienting to a floor at my new job and I was in a pt.'s room with the aide that I was working with when the charge nurse comes in and says to the pt. "Oh, I see you've got the head cook and bottle washer in here, or should I say, head bath giver and butt wiper". NEVER in my life have I been more infuriated. I know there is no way that nurses could safely do their jobs without a CNA. Nurses are just not able to put their eyes on their patients as often as they should. CNA's are a crucial part of the team. It's unfortunate that some nurses don't see that. It doesn't matter what your position is, RN, LPN, CNA, if you don't love what you do, the attitude comes across to those you work with and the patients as well.
  3. by   flashpoint
    In the nursing home I work at, I think the term “nursing assistant” is not the best description of what CNAs do. CNAs truly are the backbone of the nursing home…they provide the majority of direct care, they assist with all ADLs, they take vital signs, make beds, do baths, provide emotional support, assist with feeding, pass snacks, etc, etc, etc. CNAs are not simply assisting the nurse…they do a huge amount of essential work completely independent of what the licensed nurse does...far beyond just "assisting" a nurse.

    For the most part, I love the CNAs I work with…most of them are hard working, eager to learn, and caring beyond belief. I started out working as a CNA, so I know how hard you work…and I also know that I can’t do it anymore. I love being pulled in to work on the floor with the CNAs, but I can’t keep up…I am old, out of practice, and I don’t have the physical strength anymore.

    However (please don’t think I am trying to kill the thread), there are a lot of CNAs out there that aren’t good examples of their profession…and a few bad apples spoil the entire barrel. I hate it when CNAs refer to themselves as nurses. You do a huge amount of nursing duties, but until you have RN or LPN behind your name, you are not a nurse. I hate it when CNAs get mad at me when they feel like I don’t help enough. A lot of the things I do have to be done on a schedule. I can’t always stop in the middle of my med pass or a treatment to help you lie people down or things like that. It’s not that I don’t want to or that I think I am too good to, but sometimes, I just can’t do it. Sure, I’m going to drop what I am doing in an emergency, but otherwise, sometimes you just have to wait for another CNA. I also get really frustrated when CNAs argue with me. You know the residents better than anyone and if you tell me something is up, I am going to investigate…but when I tell you that things are normal when you think they are not or when things are not normal when you think they are, I am usually right. It is my license, my assessment, my decision, and my responsibility. Last week, I has a CNA get really upset because a resident’s stool was dark…it was normal because the resident has started on an iron supplement a few days before…I did hematest it to be sure, but I was 99% sure it was from the iron. It ticked me off a bit when the CNA went to the DON because she felt like I was blowing her off. The same CNA also got mad at me because she wanted help getting someone dressed when I was busy helping a resident with a blood glucose of 34. She didn’t understand why it was so important to get the resident to drink juice (yep, she was still alert enough to drink) and laughed when I told her that a glucose that low was potentially life threatening.

    The biggest thing I want from CNAs is a mutual respect. If the CNAs respect me and what I do, I will return the favor…and they will get the respect from me until they prove they don’t deserve it.
    Last edit by flashpoint on Nov 14, '06
  4. by   P_RN
    I think most CNAs are fantastic. It's a hard job, no doubting that, but the facility is blessed to have good people. The patients love the attention given by good workers especially in Long Term Care where they are totally relying on someone for all their needs.

    I salute you great CNAs. Thank you.
  5. by   Spidey's mom
    I work in acute care but we have a LTC attached to our hospital.

    The CNA's I work with are awesome and we are a true team.

    We did have a CNA who was pretty lazy, lied about vital signs, did a cursory bedbath, etc. She no longer works with us.

    Just as in every job, there are good and bad workers. I've worked with lazy nurses too.

    You sound like a very good and thoughtful CNA.

  6. by   banditrn
    I never worked as a CNA, but in the hospital I worked in units that didn't have them, so I did my own aide work for 16 years.

    Now, in LTC, I work nites, and I've worked with two different aides that have been great - I consider us a 'team' - we work together to get the job done. I don't really think about myself as being superior in any way - I just have different tasks - and I'm always open to suggestion.

    I have seen a few on the other shifts that I'd like to hit with a board - they spend more time back-stabbing and trying to get out of work. I'm just happy I don't have to work with them.
  7. by   JoeyDog
    I have been a CNA for about 4 years (not working right now full time student). I have worked in LTC and in hospitals. I think I am a hard worker and love patient interaction so what I say comes from the view of a self proclaimed hard worker. I think every nurse is different.

    I have worked with some nurses who were absolutely wonderful! They would let me choose my assignments, they talked to me like I was worth something, they would thank me for a job well done, they would ask me for my opinion regarding patient alertness, family dynamics, ect. When they needed me to do something they asked me like I was a human being. They would teach me things about meds, procedures, ect. Those nurses made my day! I felt like I was worth something.

    Then there were the "other" nurses. They talked to me like I was an idiot, and talked down to me in front of my patients. They would scold me in front of family for various things, usually not being fast enough. When I worked in pre-screening I saw all of the patients we would have each day (usually 38-45) since I was the only CNA. While each nurse saw about 5-6. I can only go as fast as humanly possible I would think to myself. I have had nurses ask me to do things like I am a dog. They would never thank me for anything or tell me that I did a good job. They would call me just a CNA, "my helper", or the sitter (when I worked as a Constant Observer, I hated that job BTW) when addressing me or talking about me to family. For example "my helper will be in to assist you with feeding" or "the sitter went on break". In turn family would address me that way "so you are mom's sitter for today." When I worked with those nurse I hated my job, loved my patients, but hated my job. It really lowered my self-esteem, and at the end of the day I felt like I was worthless, just a warm body to do the things that others were too good to do.

    So I think it is like everything in life, you have nice people, and you have jerks. Since I have worked with both, I have to say thank goodness the nice out number the jerks and most nurses really seemed to appreciate myself and the other aids who were hard workers.
  8. by   ElvishDNP
    Like most of the other posters (or all of them) I totally appreciate that a good CNA is going to make your day a LOT better. A bad CNA can make it go downhill fast. There are good and bad nurses, docs, CNAs, pharmacists, etc. just like in the rest of humanity. I am fortunate to have worked with some of the best CNAs in the world who really care about our patients. A good CNA, which it sounds like you are, is more than worth her/his weight in gold.
  9. by   JenNJFLCA
    Most of the CNA's on my floor are great. I know there are some nurses that treat them like dirt, so I try to be friendly and will do my own vitals, etc if we are short. I try to help out whenever I can, but unfortunately they will take advantage of me and not care for my pts if they know I will help them all the time. I am trying to find a happy medium. They fight over a hallway that has a particular nurse because they know their job will be easier that day if they work with her pts. That's just sad. I just got off orientation so we'll see how it ends up with me. One of the CNA's has a horrible attitude. Whenever I ask her to do something for me she says (with an attitude), "well, I have to do this, this, and this so it can wait." I just want to say, "well, I have to give meds, chart, call the doctor, change the dressings, and now pick up your slack too." Sorry, this lady makes me angry sometimes. I was a tech in nursing school and was never that rude to people.
  10. by   flytern
    I'm going to be the spoil sport here. I work in a hospital, on an OB unit. Our techs (most of them have been there for over 10 years) are a little on the spoiled side. They get to pick the nurses they want to work with, who they ignor (please don't even ask how they get away with this!). They also pick and choose what they will do and what they won't.
    Their current theme is, if they're asked to do something, is it's not what I was hired to do. Well guess what, your job description isn't the only one that has changed! Mine has, and everybody elses too. I know that we all feel like more and more pt care and paper work is being dumped on us and nothing is being taken away, but that's just the nature of the beast we call healthcare.

    Now that I've come down from my soap box: I know this isn't how it is at every institution. Most CNA's I really enjoy working with. If we all pull our weight (and a little bit extra) life goes smoothly

  11. by   Pompom
    When I worked in a facility that had CNA's some were wonderful, they actually worked, turned patients, answered lights, gave baths,etc. however, the majority were never to be found and the nurses ended up doing all the work. Ultimately, the CNA's were let go and we didn't even see a difference since we did all the work anyway. My point is, if they do their job then great but so many don't. At least that has been my experience working with them.
  12. by   ccyrrus
    Thanks to all the people who replied to my recent post. I appreciate your honest opinions.

    I just wanted to clarify a couple of things. I have never thought of myself, or introduced myself as a nurse. I have even politely corrected residents or family members who refer to me as a nurse and ask about medical treatments, or medicines. I explain that I am their CNA, and offer to get the nurse for them.

    That being said; the "Just" a CNA" comment came from a nurse who was belittling me in front of a family member. It was four years ago, when I first started working at my present job. I was still in orientation. I was at the nurses station getting an assignment. A family member approached me, and wanted to know which room a particular resident was in. I didn't know the names of all the residents, as it was only my second day on the job. I looked to the charge nurse for help, and she turned to the person and stated in a loud voice: "You will have to forgive her! She's JUST a CNA!" I felt so unappreciated and embarrassed. I was speechless. She could have informed the person that I was a new employee, and left it at that.

    The second thing is: I understand nurses are very busy. They have a very demanding schedule and a lot of responsibility. For this reason, I am not one to ask for help from the nurses. I will always wait for another CNA. (Have been known to wait 20 minutes, for help with a transfer that will take two seconds!) It's always nice when a nurse approaches me, and says: "I understand that we are short-staffed, today. Can I give you a hand?" I always appreciate that, and try to take up as little of their time, as possible.

    However, I have had nurses who have walked three hall lengths to tell me that a resident wanted some fresh water. It would have been quicker for the nurse to have gotten the water herself, from the machine which was located just around the corner. When I stated this fact, the nurse replied: "I didn't go to nursing school for two years just to pass water! That is a job for the PBWs!" (professional butt-wipers)

    Hope I made things a little clearer, from my first post. And again, thanks to everyone who responded. I appreciate your feedback!
  13. by   TrudyRN
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    Thank you for posting this..I'm not a nurse yet, but this is something very important to remember, even when things are busy.

    <hand over my heart> "I pledge to never, ever refer to a CNA as "just" a CNA"

    By the same token, CNA's should not tell people they are nurses.