Getting a CNA... worth the time? - page 2

Here's my situation in a nut shell: Age: 30 Family: Wife with 2 kids Education: General A.A. / Bachelors in Industrial Design Scenario: Planning on dropping everything, taking the pre-reqs... Read More

  1. by   Spidey's mom
    Nurse2B -

    I knew you didn't say it and read that you got the info from a nurse with 30 years experience.

    I've been a nurse for 4 1/2 years and graduated when I was 41. So this is my second career.

    One of the things I've noticed is that there are alot of "nursing myths" out there. Like the ones I've already noted. Saying the "Q" word. Management is always wrong and out to stab you in the back. Using "always" and "never". Night shift vs day shift. Nursing seems pretty political to me and that is one of the most frustrating parts.

    I've been mentored by some great nurses but some do seem to say things in a general way. So, maybe you friend with 30 years experience can really tell. Or maybe she is making a generalization. In my own experience, it is the work ethic of the individual and the value system they ascribe to that makes more of a difference than whether they work night shift or day shift or took a CNA class.

    I guess since in my first semester, we did all the CNA stuff, to me, for me, speaking just for myself, I'm glad I didn't take the class. For me, it was very difficult to leave my kids and drive 70 miles one way to school. It impacted my family in a negative way. This is just for me. Not making any generalizations.

    Thanks for agreeing 199% with the team concept. It just isn't fun to go to work when people don't work together. That could be said about any field though.

  2. by   LaVorneRN
    Hey Warzone-I think it's awesome that you are going in this direction and want to be prepared to do your best. I was a CNA for 8 yrs before becoming a nurse. I feel like it made a tremendous difference in my school experience. I felt comfortable in the clinical settings and had insight into most situations based on my experiences. I also worked as I went to school which helped to because my everyone-from nursing managers, resp.therapists, R.N.'s, to doctors-pitched in to give me help, answer questions and write letters of recommendation when I left the state with Uncle Sam. If you have the opportunity I say take it. It can only benefit you but I agree with those who warn about the time nursing school will take from your family. Prepare them for the sacrifice to come.
    It depends on the individual and your family dynamics how you and your family feel about you doing the CNA thing but it sounds like it will not be too many days. If the hospital setting is new to you the CNA move is a smart one. And without getting into backbiting, it has also been my experience that ex-CNA's make great R.N.'s. God bless your goals my brother!
  3. by   LaVorneRN
    Oh, Warzone I forgot to mention, I was never certified as an aide. I think it's possible to get a job without being certified if you sell yourself-express you willingness to learn, you learn fast, are entering a BSN program, etc. Most hospitals require certification though, but like a said, I did it for 8yrs. and was trained at the hospital that hired me. They also hired my brother who was prior military and had some basic training in vital signs and stuff like that. He was never certified and was an awesome aide and went on to become an ortho. tech and E.R. tech. with no certifications. It depends on the facility and the management but to answer your question, it's possible.
  4. by   perfectbluebuildings
    Yes to agree with LaVorne- it is possible. I got a job at an assisted living facility the summer before I started nursing school and did everything the CNAs did even having no certification whatsoever. I went around to different facilities and asked if they could use me, explaining my situation and plans for nursing school, and the place I ended up at was glad to have me- they needed workers! If you are reliable and hard working, that will mean a lot. And I really learned a lot from it, about basic nursing care and working with other people in that kind of setting. It made me a little more confident at the start of clinicals, and it was just a really neat experience for itself as well.
  5. by   rebel_red
    Hiya Warzone,

    Agreeing with the majority here. I went to a local LTC facility. They gave me my CNA training. The impetus for me was to insure I could handle the "icky" stuff. Huge code browns, stage 5 decubs, every known body fluid and then some all over the place and occasionally all over me! (So glad we don't have to wear white!) As a CNA I make $10 hour. Also a large paycut for me. This is however my second career. And I must say I do feel far more confident entering nursing school having had these experiences. Our nurses make wonderful preceptors, and always bring us in, they are willing to teach anything once you express the desire to learn!

    Good Luck with whichever path you choose!

    And I too share StevieLynn's frustration with the political nonsense. The good news is it is possible to ignore the nonsense and do the job, when necessary I have confronted co workers head on...I love sjoe's sig "We will get as much crap as we will take..."
  6. by   nurs2bhopefully
    Wow! Can I come and work for you? I work at a local nursing home as a cna until I can get into and get through a nursing school. Seems that only one nurse there knows what a bedpan is! Three of the nurses are so pompous that after inserting a cath or changing a g/tube, they will actually throw the paper or sling the g/tube in the floor (which will be 2 inches away from the trash can of course!) They will actually interrupt us during a round, to tell us that a cath needs emptied, or Mrs so and so needs some juice. I know they're extremely busy most of the time, and I do feel for them with all the paperwork they have to do, but this is ridiculous. Wish all nurses were like you and the one good one at the nursing home. (Not bashing at all, I know there are lots and lots of good caring nurses out there- I also know that it's hard for nurses to find good dependable CNAs also so it goes both ways! Anyway, just wanted to commend you on your bright and vibrant attitude toward teamwork!

    Another role model I have found!
  7. by   PJMommy
    Ironically, we just had a presentation and discussion related to this topic in one of my nursing classes. I was in the same boat with the job change. Had a cushy job, great money and already held a B.S. in another field...

    I decided, for selfish reasons, not to go do a CNA program prior to starting the BSN program -- I needed to continue to earn the money from the job I was working so I could get a little nest egg going before I went to ZERO income for a year. I also have four children and simply did not have time to go do a CNA.

    I've just finished the first of three semesters (today was my last final!! yay!!). I'll be honest and tell you that I was soooo jealous of the students who had CNA experience...they knew so much already. But...they also had to UNlearn things that my school had them do differently. Our first two weeks of class were straight basic skills...basically a CNA program. By mid-semester, you could not tell who'd never worked in healthcare before...from those who were CNAs for years.

    I think it just comes down to respect. To suggest that I will not treat my CNAs well suggests that I am a poor manager or team player...sorry, but I've been a member of many teams and managed many people. An RN who doesn't respect his/her CNAs has bigger problems than whether or not they have aide experience. So does an RN who refuses to clean someone's bottom or otherwise get into the trenches and get a little dirty.

    So, in a nutshell, take it easy over the summer and have fun with the kids -- don't put yourself in a financial bind any sooner than you have to.

    Good luck!!!
  8. by   MishlB
    I think being a CNA should be a requirement before becoming a nurse. It gives you so much experience, and will let you know if you will like nursing. It was also required in my program, so once in the actual nursing courses, you didnt repeat bed-making, etc.
  9. by   Scavenger'sWife
    I graduated in 1999 from an ADN program. I quit a great, full-time job as an ophthalmic tech for two ophthalmologists to go to school full-time. So, Warzone, if you are still reading this thread, CONGRATS on your decision.

    When I went to school, the 1st quarter was spent learning a lot of basic nursing skills, just as you do in a CNA course. The next year this was changed and it was a requirement to go to CNA class before you entered nursing school. The CNA class is offered by the school as well as at many other places (such as a local tech school, and many LTC). My nursing school has a summer class for those who are entering fall nursing classes, but you can also take it slower than that and just take pre-req classes....the combo is up to you. The point is, the CNA class is considered a pre-req now. You do not have to take the actual state board to get your CNA license - just have to successfully pass the class. (But why not go ahead and take the licensure???)

    I think you need to check with the school you are planning to attend and see what their requirement/recommendation is. Don't take any classes that are not necessary b/c you will have your plate full soon enough.

    Is the class useful from a standpoint of learning for learning's sake? Well, that is an individual question that can only be answered by you and your family. I teach CNA classes, so I think I have a pretty balanced point of view about this. If you have never worked inthe medical field and are not really sure this is what you enjoy, it may be a good class to take. But if you are certain about your feelings to become a nurse, it may be unnecessary to take. Sure, you learn skills (how to take vital signs, how to make beds, give baths, turn/reposition patients, etc...) but if your particular nursing school offers this as a part of the nursing program, it may bore you to repeat it. But if you feel you need to feel some self-confidence when you start school, it may be a good idea to take the class.

    Hope this has not confused you.

    As for the idea that you can "tell if a nurse has been a CNA", I don't believe that either. I am with stevie on this. I have had many nurses' aides tell me that they like working with me b/c I don't mind doing the "dirty work" along with them (I empty those urinals!!!) And I never worked a day in my life as a CNA. It is all nursing to me. I have learned a lot from cleaning poopy butts!!!