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Hopefully taking CNA classes soon, tips/tricks?

CNA/MA   (1,569 Views | 13 Replies)

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This thread is mostly so I can talk to someone about this because I've annoyed my entire family at this point. 

I applied for CNA classes at a nursing home about an hour away from where I live. I'm in a state where I could just challenge the test by myself but felt I would never be prepared enough so I sought out other, less expensive options. I found a place that offers classes, paid for, plus a bonus, and a job offer with a sign-on bonus after passing the class. I went for an interview, they sent in my background check, now I'm just waiting to hear back from them (fingers crossed for Tuesday)!

I'm super duper excited to start working in the healthcare field, hopefully this will open up the ability to go to nursing school! So, any tips, tricks, general advice for a new CNA? 

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Bdab has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN.

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Always have a change of clothes, and a second set of scrubs in your car. Learned that one the hard way. Sometimes, it's wet, on you, and didn't come from you. Having backups on hand is fantastic! And make SURE you have shoes that you can comfortably stand (and even run in, when the occasion calls for it) for 10-14 hours a day, depending on your shift lengths. 

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Be prepared to meet a lot of workplace behavior that may or may not coincide with your standards. Expect to be tested by your coworkers. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself but don’t act bossy toward others. Be the helpful person you would hope to have work alongside you. Always offer to help if you can. Suggest working with another as a team to do two assignments efficiently and quickly if the charge nurse does not automatically make assignments in pairs.  Don’t be a tattletale but don’t be mum if you witness something that is just not right. Try to keep quiet about nursing school. Some CNAs resent “uppity” people just because they have no ambition to move up the career ladder themselves.

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42pines specializes in Occupational Health; Adult ICU.

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Read the fine print, before you sign any contract.

I’m RN but I’ve known many who have gone the CNA/LNA route.

I’ve noticed that the “take the free classes here,” places often have two-year, “you are stuck here,” clauses.

Once you have worked for a year, you’re worth more.  Normally, depending on many factors, perhaps $2/hour more.  (Covid-19 may or may not double/triple that).  Therefore, if you must take lower than average start pay, and then be stuck with that pay for two years, unable to move to a better paying job, consider the math. 

Unable to leave, (if such a clause applies) stuck by contract, if you lose out on a mere $2/hour, here’s the math:  52 weeks x 40 hours x $2 =  $4,160, that you could lose by being unable to leave during the second year.  That free class might become a very expensive “free” class.

Worse, some contracts have an embedded, “you owe us…  …if you leave for any reason,” (This has become common in big-name hospitals for all nurses lately).

I’m not saying, “don’t,” rather, I’m saying read the fine print.  Know what you’re getting in to.  Look for reviews on the place you intend to work at.  Check glassdoor.com.  Stuck at a place, unable to leave can be awful.

Here in my state (NH) and the neighboring MA, there are programs that reimburse you for the cost of a Red Cross LNA class—you might be wise to see if one exists there too.

Best of luck!

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14 hours ago, Bdab said:

Always have a change of clothes, and a second set of scrubs in your car. Learned that one the hard way. Sometimes, it's wet, on you, and didn't come from you. Having backups on hand is fantastic! And make SURE you have shoes that you can comfortably stand (and even run in, when the occasion calls for it) for 10-14 hours a day, depending on your shift lengths. 

I didn't think about that, definitely sounds like a good idea. I was a server prior to COVID-19, so I'll probably keep wearing my super comfy non-slip shoes, those have gotten me through a few 16 hour shifts.  

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11 hours ago, caliotter3 said:

Be prepared to meet a lot of workplace behavior that may or may not coincide with your standards. Expect to be tested by your coworkers. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself but don’t act bossy toward others. Be the helpful person you would hope to have work alongside you. Always offer to help if you can. Suggest working with another as a team to do two assignments efficiently and quickly if the charge nurse does not automatically make assignments in pairs.  Don’t be a tattletale but don’t be mum if you witness something that is just not right. Try to keep quiet about nursing school. Some CNAs resent “uppity” people just because they have no ambition to move up the career ladder themselves.

Note taken. I try my best to be friendly and non confrontational, it's just the kind of person I am. I know other people aren't as easy to get along with but I've made it work in the past. I didn't think about the nursing school part, I'll try my best to only talk about it if they ask.  

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8 hours ago, 42pines said:

Read the fine print, before you sign any contract.

I’m RN but I’ve known many who have gone the CNA/LNA route.

I’ve noticed that the “take the free classes here,” places often have two-year, “you are stuck here,” clauses.

Once you have worked for a year, you’re worth more.  Normally, depending on many factors, perhaps $2/hour more.  (Covid-19 may or may not double/triple that).  Therefore, if you must take lower than average start pay, and then be stuck with that pay for two years, unable to move to a better paying job, consider the math. 

Unable to leave, (if such a clause applies) stuck by contract, if you lose out on a mere $2/hour, here’s the math:  52 weeks x 40 hours x $2 =  $4,160, that you could lose by being unable to leave during the second year.  That free class might become a very expensive “free” class.

Worse, some contracts have an embedded, “you owe us…  …if you leave for any reason,” (This has become common in big-name hospitals for all nurses lately).

I’m not saying, “don’t,” rather, I’m saying read the fine print.  Know what you’re getting in to.  Look for reviews on the place you intend to work at.  Check glassdoor.com.  Stuck at a place, unable to leave can be awful.

Here in my state (NH) and the neighboring MA, there are programs that reimburse you for the cost of a Red Cross LNA class—you might be wise to see if one exists there too.

Best of luck!

I've been talking to a former CNA concerning the contract, but you really broke it down for me so I really understand what I could be losing. I really appreciate that! I'll definitely read all the fine print before making any decisions. I went ahead and looked up the nursing home on glassdoor with no reviews, but then checked Indeed, they seem to be alright overall (4.2/5 stars but only 6 reviews)

Thank you so much!

Update: I received a call today from the nursing home, they got my background check. Now I'm just waiting for the teacher to call me, fingers crossed for this week!

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vampiregirl has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Hospice.

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Most states have a website on which you can look up past results of state surveys for individual nursing homes. In the state I reside in, the department of health conducts these surveys. This is a good way to see what concerns have been addressed at a specific nursing home. An occasional unsubstantiated complaint is not concerning but frequent substantiated complaints and poor annual surveys are big red flags. 

CNA skills are so helpful if you are interested in nursing. I still use my CNA stills frequently as I care for hospice patients. Nurses who have not been CNAs sometimes have a tough time transferring patients and positioning patients safety/ efficiently (although some have put forth effort to learn how to do this). Best of luck to you!

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beachynurse has 35 years experience as a ASN, BSN and specializes in School Nursing.

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I've taught C.N.A.classes here in VA. I always told my students the there is the "state" way to do the skills and the working way to do them. Until you take the state test and pass it, you don't have the luxury of doing them the working way. If you want to pass, you continue to do all skills the "state" way so you continue to "practice properly" and increase your chances of passing on the first try. No short cuts!

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Get your training at the nursing home, but please try to get into a hospital when your contract ends. They pay more and the CNA to patient ratio is lower. I recommend when you can working for an agency, so when they send you to a hospital they will know you (and like you, because you will be great. Right!?!?). If you apply it may be easier. As for work, it all depends on your work ethic. If you are a good worker then the basic 4 months of training will do. If you are lazy, then no amount of training is going to help you.  Sure you'll struggle, but you get your stride. Everyone has a stride from CNA to RN. Learn from others and find out what works best for you.  If after school, you are trained by someone who's stride is lazy and incompetent. Don't follow that lead. Those are the trainers who will set you up for failure.

Who knows I probably get my stride from 2 or 3 aides who trained me over a decade ago.

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199 Posts; 5,098 Profile Views

The Thread, started by me, can help. It is mostly RN related, but it does have some very good points. Once you start your classes you will see how being ahead of the game will help you as a CNA. You may not be passing meds, but you are expected to feed, get dressed and undressed, bathed several patients; and ADL care  in 8 to 12 hrs. 

 

By following some of their tips and tweaking it for a CNA you will do good.

"Why are some RNs always busy and others not busy"

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On 5/26/2020 at 6:34 AM, caliotter3 said:

Be prepared to meet a lot of workplace behavior that may or may not coincide with your standards. Expect to be tested by your coworkers. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself but don’t act bossy toward others. Be the helpful person you would hope to have work alongside you. Always offer to help if you can. Suggest working with another as a team to do two assignments efficiently and quickly if the charge nurse does not automatically make assignments in pairs.  Don’t be a tattletale but don’t be mum if you witness something that is just not right. Try to keep quiet about nursing school. Some CNAs resent “uppity” people just because they have no ambition to move up the career ladder themselves.

I have been working as  Personal Care Attendant (PCA) for 5 weeks now (PCA does the work of a CNA with a few exceptions, I will be taking my CNA course in about a week), and this is great advice.

 

What I have discovered at my location is there are all types of people and personalities that do the work of CNA. Be prepared to hear loads of gossip about co-workers and their work ethic, what so-and-so did or didn't do. Avoid contributing to the gossip, just go do the work you were hired to do, it will make your life so much easier.  I am a non-confrontational person as well, I don't like being involved in unnecessary drama and the best way (I speak only for myself) is to just listen if they want to talk, but do not put in your two-cents. Be a team player, ask questions, and learn from your co-workers (the good and bad).   I would also say, give yourself some grace because being a CNA can be hard sometimes, not just physically, but emotionally as well.  Have compassion for the residents you will be helping, try to provide the care that you hope to get, or that you would want for your loved ones.  It makes all the difference for these individuals, they know when CNA's don't like them and they feel as though they are a burden.  Have fun, and get to know your residents, you maybe the only person who takes an interest in them and what they have to say. Good luck with your course! 

Edited by GoingtobeRN

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