I hate being a CNA

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Red Kryptonite

Red Kryptonite

Specializes in hospice. Has 3 years experience. 2,212 Posts

Death is not sad! I mean, I understand why you feel that way about it. Many do. But death (especially in the elderly) is a 100% natural transition and literally happens to everyone. Instead of thinking "they're dying and I can't do anything about it" can you maybe think about it differently? Like, they're dying and it's an honour that you get to care for and support folks in this hugely significant time? Dying is literally the last thing anyone will ever do. Isn't it kind of neat that you get to be involved in that important time? They're dying and aren't you fortunate that you get to shine a little light into a scary time? They're dying, but until they're dead, they're still living​ and every day you get to bring a little more life to their last days?

I wish there was a likeX1000 button. This is exactly why I find hospice so fulfilling.

OP, you say nursing is definitely what you want to do. Why? We know what you don't like. What DO you like? What draws you to nursing? And is that strong enough to get you past the parts you hate? Because that's all nursing work.

ixchel

Specializes in critical care. 5 Articles; 4,547 Posts

OP, I think maybe you're just in the wrong type of facility. I did CNA clinicals in an LTC and at the end of the week, I just sobbed and sobbed. It was awful. You may enjoy acute care a lot more. In acute care, you will have terminal patients but you will have your just plain old sick people, too. You will get experience with a lot of nursing skills (even if just observing), and you'll see measurable improvements in your patients day to day. It is completely different.

No Stars In My Eyes

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN. Has 43 years experience. 3,488 Posts

I'm not sure of your age, but perhaps some of the anxiety comes from confronting your own mortality for the first time and not realizing that is what is going on?

And as you get older, because you understand that "this could be ME!", it helps increase your empathy. No one really 'enjoys' the gross stuff, it's just part of the job. Nobody wants to be the one who needs cleaning up, either.

The patients who seem unaware or don't communicate STILL FEEL. Imagine knowing you are being handled by someone who is disgusted +/or freaked out by you. It would devastating to feel you are the cause of repulsion when you have, by that point in time, no control of your situation and condition.

"Everybody Poops", as in the title of the book. It's part of life, as is dying.

"Do unto others" is a good concept even if you aren't religious. What if that was YOU in that bed? Wouldn't it be nice to have a CNA or Nurse who, once you are cleaned up, knows the 'little things' that she/he can do that really make a difference in your comfort and ease?

In nursing school, in the basics lab, we all had to take turns BEING the patient, and believe it or not, it really brought home how difficult that is!

And it's like mindodmidwifery said up above, sometimes the staff members are the ONLY people a patient has.

*K($$

*K($$

14 Posts

I can understand how you feel. There are parts of nursing care I'll never learn to like particularly the smellier BMs. I'd strongly advice you not to flee after just a few days though. That's a habit you don't want to acquire and certainly not a reputation you want to get as a nurse.

Keep in mind that your attitude is likely to improve when you get to know those patients better. They're also likely to relate to you better and perhaps be less resistant to what you must do. You're new, so they're likely to have as many issues with you as you with them. That will pass.

Learn a tip from Navy Seals. The Navy has studied why some people make it through the grind of Seal testing and most—three out of four— don't. One trait the successful have is that they always think in achievable goals. Sent off on a 20-mile run starting at 4 a.m., they don't think about the twenty miles. They think about reaching the top of the next hill and, when they get there, they think about reaching the stream down below. They always set "I can do that" goals and don't dwell on what can seem impossible at the time. Get to the top and bottom of enough hills and you'll make that twenty miles. And to the extent they think long term, they think of its rewards. At the end of that run, they remind themselves, lies a heaping big breakfast.

In the same way, getting through enough individual incidents of patient care and you'll get through the day. Get through enough days and you'll finish up this summer much stronger as a nurse. Things that once seem hard become no big deal.

That even works with caring for dying patients. My first work was on a pediatric Hem-Onc unit. Because the sickest kids spent the most time in the hospital, I knew that statistically at least two of the seven children I was caring for each night were likely to die. But I didn't think about that. Each night I resolved to give each of them the best possible care I could that night. And when the night ended and I went home, I saw what I had done as a success, irrespective of the long-term outcome. And when our treatments failed with some children, I shifted my resolve to giving them the best possible death, again one night at a time. I couldn't give those children life, but I could give them good care one night at a time.

My suggestion: Think a lot less about hanging in there until the "end of August" and focus more on accomplishing each particular task and getting through each individual day. Do that and the end of August will come.

And regard each of those little steps achieved as a success. "I did this.... I did that...." and not, "Oh my God! The end of August is still over three months away."

Thank you for this, and thank you for not telling me what a terrible nurse I'm going to be because I don't like LTC. I think I'm struggling with self doubt because it is all so new and overwhelming and honestly I have no idea what I'm doing. I know people have mentioned the "sink or swim" thing, and I feel like I'm going to sink once I'm on my own.

*K($$

*K($$

14 Posts

OP, I think maybe you're just in the wrong type of facility. I did CNA clinicals in an LTC and at the end of the week, I just sobbed and sobbed. It was awful. You may enjoy acute care a lot more. In acute care, you will have terminal patients but you will have your just plain old sick people, too. You will get experience with a lot of nursing skills (even if just observing), and you'll see measurable improvements in your patients day to day. It is completely different.

That how i feel. Like i got home and just cried. i expected to be dealing with rehab patients that would get to go home being able to walk again, or gain back some independence like the facility told me. They said everyone is out within a month, they don't do hospice. but almost everyone is there for the long run.

pixiestudent2

993 Posts

I probably wouldn't enjoy being an aide in that type of facility either.

I worked in a psychiatric hospital while in school and I loved it.

Though, I think you should give it more than one day to make up your mind.

I would not stay in a job I hate, that made me stressed out if I didn't have to.

I don't really, know, i just don't like it. I don't like the heavy lifting (I'm about 100lbs soaking wet), it is just like we are basically waiting for people to die. I also don't like changing adult diapers, and it seems like everyone around me knows exactly what to do for their patients, and I just don't. I asked my mentor a bunch of questions, but i still feel like i don't know how to do anything.

Well if you want to be a nurse that is going to be your job to lift, change diapers, clean vomit, etc. nurses don't always have a tech to help with those duties. Nursing isn't just about passing out meds and charting it's also about all kinds of stuff that will make you want to puke, such as bad odors, etc. If you really want to be a nurse you will learn how to care for patients with experience just like your coworkers.

*K($$

*K($$

14 Posts

That is my thinking. I'm going to give it 4 more shifts (end of my orientation) and then reevaluate. If even on the days I have off I am obsessing and getting sick to my stomach like I am now, I'll move on and find something else.

hookyarnandblanket

hookyarnandblanket

318 Posts

Thank you for this, and thank you for not telling me what a terrible nurse I'm going to be because I don't like LTC. I think I'm struggling with self doubt because it is all so new and overwhelming and honestly I have no idea what I'm doing. I know people have mentioned the "sink or swim" thing, and I feel like I'm going to sink once I'm on my own.

No one here is telling you what a terrible nurse you will be; we are merely trying to help you by explaining the reality of working in this profession.

Look, I taught in public education for ten years and it is the same as starting out in this field. You start from the bottom and work your way to the top. I remember my first day in the classroom and thinking, "I don't know what I'm doing despite a whole semester of student teaching and a semester of substitute teaching" but I stepped up and did it because that's what I had been hired to do and what was expected of me. I was given some of the hardest classes to teach: Students who didn't want to do anymore than show up, sit in a seat, and get an A for it without doing the work. It was hell. I hated it, but I had to do because it was the only way to rise through the ranks.

It's the same with nursing; you have to do the things you don't want to do before you can rise to where you want to be. Death, excrement, disease, pain, messy situations, fear, anguish, long hours, no sleep, needy patients, angry family members, lost holidays, and frustration are part of it all. You can't do certain things until you learn the basics and learning the basics is often completely done hands on.

If it is causing you this much anxiety, maybe you need to see a therapist to work out your feelings about it all. Maybe you really need to reevaluate if this is the career path you want to be on. It's better to figure out now than to meltdown during your last semester.

SummerChapman

SummerChapman

20 Posts

I have to say this. What did you expect? What you mentioned you are doing is EXACTLY what a CNA does. I also believe every potential nursing student should have to work as a CNA because it does give you valuable experience and those are things that even a nurse will possibly be doing. I will say they shouldn't label this as a Rehab facility if every one is hospice. It's sad to watch a patient die, but everyone dies and there is a certain rewarding feeling you have knowing you were the last person to give care and show this dying patient some dignity. After all, they are in the end. If you can't handle one day, I wonder how you will handle being a nurse?

ktwlpn

ktwlpn, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Homecare, Hospice. 3,844 Posts

If you are "doing nothing to help" dying patients you are doing it wrong.Plenty to be done including symptom management,comfort measures both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical and support of the family at the bedside.....

Kandy83

Kandy83

161 Posts

OP, plenty of nurses haven't been a CNA. You don't need to be a CNA to become a good nurse. Quit OP, you don't need that experience. Many people usually become a CNA at the place they want to work. If you don't want to work there, work some where else. Which state are you in? If you're in a state with a an overabundance of nurses than you can stick it out. If not, quit OP, you don't need the added stress.