I agree with the above posters. Even in my current position as DON, I am able to make a difference in the lives of the residents we care for. Last month, I held a woman's hand as she passed away. Last night, I comforted and cared for a man who is ready to give up and die. His wife has been gone for five years, and he sees no reason to live. After going to his room a few times and talking and listening to him, he seemed much more content.
Staffing is an issue anywhere in nursing. Yes, if you work in LTC, you will probably get stuck at work sometimes when you would rather be at home.
As far as the CNA's go, I have found that if you let them know that you will lend a hand when needed and address their concerns, they are fairly easy to get along with. They usually go above and beyond if they know you share their desire to take care of the residents. Of course, this is not always true. In these cases, the facility needs to get rid of them.
Family members, for the most part, want their family member to be taken care of. If the facility makes a mistake, it is best to address it and move on. I can not count the number of families who have been satisfied with the care that we have given.
Overall, I truly enjoy working in LTC. I enjoy the daily interaction with the same residents and making a difference in their life. I enjoy knowing that the families are happy with the care that we give. And most of all, I am happy to care for people that were the bankers, teachers, farmers, housewives, supervisors, and nurses years ago. What a great feeling to give them the care and respect they deserve at the end of their lives!