Am I just overreacting? (CNA vent)

  1. I've been working at a nursing home since July as a CNA. I really enjoy the patient-care aspects of my job. I love interacting with residents, I love knowing that I make their day better by keeping them clean and well-groomed, and I love making sure the little extras are taken care of, like that they make it to Bingo on time or they have fresh ice water when they need it.

    But... I am quickly becoming very overwhelmed and stressed out over my job for a number of reasons. When I started in July I went through a preceptor orientation, and all the aides were pretty helpful. They gave me time-saving tips, made sure I trained on each hall (I'm part-time so I float to whatever hall is open that day, rather than have a permanent hall like the full-timers do), etc., etc. They ALSO told me to avoid two aides on my hall, D and L, because "they will try to haze me." One of the aides explained to me that several of the staff on my unit, including D and L, have worked there for 20 or more years and are not very keen on newcomers, and that her own first year there was absolute hell, but after a year or so they just slacked off on her and left her alone. Most people hired in the past 5 years have quit because of the hostile attitude of the other aides.

    I didn't really know what they meant at the time about being hazed, but sure enough, the first day I worked solo with D (which was about my 3rd day on my own), I asked her to help me with a transfer since my care sheet said this person was a 2-person transfer. The aide helped me, but during the transfer she let out a big sigh and said "You know, I can't do my job AND yours." D also tries to take advantage of my willingness to help by making me run little errands and things that she could do perfectly well on her own. I *think* I have finally earned her respect and she has started to back off on me except that she still refuses to help me with transfers. She always tells me to use the stand-assist lifts instead of her because "it's easier", but honestly, if there's a human available to help, it's easier to do that than wrestle with hooking and unhooking the resident and lift and pushing the darn thing all over the facility.

    L, on the other hand, enjoys making snide comments barely within my earshot. About a week ago I got out some clothing protectors for my residents in the dining room on my way there. When I got there, I realized that none of the residents had clothing protectors, so I decided to pass them out to everyone. I started at one end of the room and went table to table, but soon realized I wouldn't have enough to give to everyone and would have to go get more. One of our most cranky and vocal residents waved her arms at me and said "Hey! We need some of those too!". I told her she'd need to wait a minute since I didn't grab enough and needed to go get more. The resident muttered "Boy, that girl is useless," and L replied, "Mmmhmm, she sure is." THAT comment I did talk to my supervisor about and she assured me that I wasn't useless and said she'd talk to L about the comment. I didn't really care that the resident said that because she's mean to everybody, but for the aide to reply and agree in the dining room in front of everybody was very unprofessional in my opinion.

    Aside from my initial hazing, I feel like I was thrown to the dogs (or whatever the saying goes) once I finished orientation. I was slow, but for the first few weeks everyone let it slide because I was new. At this point, I'm faster, but still slow at a lot of things, and I feel like a year old puppy (weird analogy, I know). I've still got a young/new mindset and am getting used to being a puppy/full-grown dog, but I'm fully-grown in size and so I'm not cute anymore so my mistakes are treated with more harshness.

    The thing that really bugs me too is that I never know when I go into work what I can expect. First, I'm part-time, so I work on the hall of whatever full-timer is off that day. I don't know in advance who's working, so I don't know where I'll be in the facility until I show up, which is stressful for me because I'm the type who likes to know what I can expect to occur. Aside from not knowing what residents I'll be working with, I never know if we'll work together as a team or if it'll be every man for himself.

    For example, when we pass trays, it was explained to me that everyone helps pass trays in the hall and in the dining room. Usually on the front hall this happens, but by the time it gets to the back hall, only the two aides on that hall will pass out trays... everyone else has left. So when I work on back hall, if I'm at all behind, they will leave my trays on the cart and I have to pass them all out by myself, which slows down everything else. Also, when we feed residents in the dining room, you "usually" feed any residents on your hall before anybody else. My unit is lucky in that we don't have to assist a lot of people with feeds. One day D was feeding on of my residents, so I started feeding another lady. This lady was L's that day. D asked L if she could keep feeding my resident so she could go down the hall and pick up trays, and L pointed at me and said "Make her do it. He's her resident." So I thought, fine, I'll feed my resident and L can feed hers. So I quit feeding her resident and finished feeding mine. L came back to the dining room a few minutes later and picked up her resident's tray without even attempting to feed her more than I had.

    I just feel like the attitude of the staff is really hostile. I have people nagging me all day long, and most of the time it's other aides, not the nurses. I work as hard as I can, and I know the residents appreciate it, which is really the important thing, but if my coworkers make my life a living hell because I'm probably doing my job more thoroughly than they are, what am I supposed to do? I come home from work every day feeling physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted, and I don't know how much longer I can keep going like this. Am I just going to have to suck it up and deal with it, or is something really out of line here with the staff? Or both!
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    About Megsd

    Joined: Mar '04; Posts: 814; Likes: 127
    Clinical Nurse
    Specialty: Neuro


  3. by   following_faith
    I can only comment based on what I have seen/heard from here and friends I have that are CNA's also. This type of envirnoment seems to be all to common no matter where you are. You don't deserve this type of treatment at all, but I have not seen many posts where going higher up on these type of people has ever helped. It makes me sick!

    I really have no advice and what I would honestly do in that situation is probably not even acceptable. I just wouldn't take it.

    I hope that someone can give you real advice that you can use and I hope this gets better for you! You do not deserve this!

    It infuriates me because these are workplaces-the real world where people are responsible for other people's lives and yet they act like they are still in high school.

    They must have real self-esteem issues that they need to make themselves feel bigger by tag teaming people. Ridiculous...:angryfire :angryfire

    Don't take it! Nurses, Aides...everyone needs to start standing up for themselves with co-workers, administration..etc! You guys deserve better!
  4. by   AnnemRN
    Sounds like you are doing a great job but, for whatever reason the other aides want to keep you down. It's not healthy to stay in that kind of environment but those attitudes seem to be everywhere (especially in LTC) Have you looked into becoming a home health aide? You would be very much appreciated and would be autonomous too!
  5. by   chadash
    I have seen this in every (3) nursing home I have worked in. If the hazing is a long term problem with long term employees, the management is allowing it to continue. Nursing home management is clueless about how to make a working environment conducive for long term employment of people who really care about geriatric patients. If you have ever worked in outside of healthcare, You already know there is just nothing quite like the demeaning treatment you receive from some co workers in LTC.
    BUT, I have also met the very best nurses and nursing assistants in LTC. I recommend you seek out the really compassionate folks, who are not on some power trip, and get to know them, and team up with them on some task.
    Unfortunately, I am not sure complaints make a dent. I had one co worker who was physically threatening, and frankly was afraid to discuss my problem with management. I quit. The day I left, the head of the facility approached me to ask me to stay and said she Knew of my problems, and would let the other girl go if I stayed. I said No thank you!
    Last edit by chadash on Jan 8, '06
  6. by   Megsd
    I actually do home health too, through the same facility. We have chronic care (where I work as a CNA) and independent and assisting living facilities, where I do home health PRN. I am actually hoping to switch over to a part-time position in home health, but unfortunately I'm not sure I would get enough hours over there to justify leaving my unit all together. I have to eat, after all. I am actually working more hours on my unit than I am required to (24 hours a week instead of 16), so I am planning to talk to my supervisor tomorrow about cutting out that extra shift and doing home health more often since home health is a LOT less stressful.

    The good news is today karma came back and kicked D in the rear end. We had an extra person on the schedule today which means someone will either be pulled to another unit or be flexed home (they get to go home and take 8 hours of paid time off). D threw a hissy fit about how it was her turn to be flexed (it wasn't.. she bullied another aide out of doing it), bragged about her plans to go shopping all day, then got her coat and purse right as the nursing supervisor called and told whoever had planned to flex to go work on another unit instead. So we got to work in peace without her and she ended up having to work somewhere she didn't want to.
  7. by   bethin
    Your explanation of events is the reason I left the nursing home. I was the new, nice girl who would do anything. I got abused. I would get left on the floor with 35 pts. while the other aides and nurses were taking their usual 45 min. break. I got sick of it and went to a hospital where everyone works together and there is no hazing. There is a girl on first shift during the week is alot like D an L. She doesn't help other people with transfers or lifts. She only passes her pts. meal trays. She's known to yell at other aides in the hall. I refuse to work with her. Flat out refusal. If she can't show any respect, then I don't want anything to do with her. She tells pts. that they stink. I think that is rude and there is no way I could be that way with a pt.

    Anyhoo, it sounds like they are testing you. I don't believe in doing that to people, but it happens. If you are interested in home health then you should try to get more hours there. Keep your head up high and tell yourself that you are more compassionate and caring than those two could ever be. And that's what really matters in the end.
  8. by   jonamb
    I know what you're going through, and I'm sorry to say, these two CNAs that you are talking about are not going to change. And I'm assuming going to your supervisor won't help either, since they are both long-termers and obviously have been getting away with being ugly for years. The best thing that you can do is just keep plugging away and doing your best. I can bet that in time, they will leave you alone. If not, ignore their nasty comments and kill them with kindness. Be professional, thank them if and when they do help, and know that you are doing your job to the best of your ability. Stick with it, and you will get faster, you will get to know the residents, and life will get easier. Just be glad that you don't have to go home with these two nasty people (pity their families).
    Just some advice for your back, please use the lifts. If a resident is a two-person transfer, don't even attempt it. I know the lifts take more time and can be a general pain in the a**, but trust me, in 10 years your back will thank you for it. When I first started out, I was young and strong and didn't have time to use the lifts. Now my back is very angry with me. Back problems usually just don't happen, they come from wear and tear and abuse that you don't even know is happening at the time.
    And one more thought on "the nasties" -- have you ever confronted one of them on their comments? Sometimes that's all it takes. They are just bullies, and are probably insecure themselves, as most bullies are. You don't need to be rude or harsh (after all, you don't want to be them), just be firm and confident and keep your sentences simple and to the point (so they will understand). When they learn they can't intimidate you, they will leave you alone. I know their comments and attitudes hurt, but just keep in mind that it's not personal. It's just their way of welcoming new people.
    By the way, I was wondering if these people also complain about working short staffed? Where I work, there are a couple of CNAs who gripe almost every day about "being short again", but these are the same ones who are nasty to new people. Go figure.
  9. by   Megsd
    <<By the way, I was wondering if these people also complain about working short staffed? Where I work, there are a couple of CNAs who gripe almost every day about "being short again", but these are the same ones who are nasty to new people. Go figure.>>

    As far as this goes, it seldom applies to my unit. The facility has a very strict attendance policy so call-offs are very low (if you call off 5 times for any reason within a rolling year, you're fired). Plus because of the number of long-time staff we have, we're the best staffed unit at the facility. This is good because I seldom have to work short (I can think of maybe 2-3 days in the past 6 months) but bad because if they overstaff us we get pulled to other units who have more attendance and staffing problems.

    But if we WERE short-staffed, I'm sure you're right... those two would squawk first.

    I did decide today, after talking to the home health manager and being assured I could get all the hours I want if I'm flexible enough (which I am), I'm going to give my two weeks' notice tomorrow. I will miss some of the residents dearly, but my mental health is starting to suffer because of the stress and abuse I've received. It's just sad that it's come to this point, y'know?

    Thanks to everyone for your comments. As sad as it is, I'm glad to know that I'm not alone in this situation.
  10. by   pumpkin92356
    Well, my dear , I been walking the floors of the cna for 30 years now and you have those types of aides in every facility. They are the ones that you never know where they are hiding at any time (Especially when their call lites are going off!
    You always have the one or two aides that are chronic complainers, by that I mean no matter what , they are the ones who always complain of being overworked, understaffed etc.
    Or how about the one aide who lives maybe a mile from the job and cant ever get to work on time which leaves you to carry their load till they get there and believe you me it breeds resentment and attitudes. Or , you are busy in another room and one of your assigned residents is on the bathroom call bell and you cant get to it right then and finally one of those aids comes into you residents bathroom and says "YOU will have to wait till your nurse comes you are not my resident today!!! etc etc. Well the solution that I came up with over the years is to just confront the problem head on by that i mean ask for a meeting between you, those aides and your supervisor if you are feeling uncomfortable working with them request a shift change if possible . Stay away from complaining to your boss about their work that they dont do DONS , the majority of them just want everything to run smooth without any problems , some even view cnas as part of maintance and expendable . And last but not least I just have come out and said to some aides similiar to yours that I was not here to make friends with the staff but to work and care for the residents and I dont care if you like me or not just be professional and do your job and I will do mine. If you need help call me if not we dont have anything thing to discuss unless it pertains to patient care. After all we all have our own style of working and sometimes it will clash and you just have to keep in mind that you are doing a very important job and do it to your best ability and you will not have anything to feel bad about later on. It boils down to happy resident, happy charge nurse , happy cna smooth day.

    good luck