I hate my job as a certified nursing assistant and want to quit after two weeks!


I am new at a long term care nursing home as nurse assistant and I absolutely hate my job. The co-workers are nice and friendly but I work on the dementia unit and it is extremely depressing. The patients fight me and hit me because I'm trying to change them and I don't want to help people who don't want to be helped (or do not know they need help) because I find it uncomfortable and I feel awful. I've already shed tears because of how depressed I am at this job and I'm still only training! I can't even imagine how stressed I'll be when I really start working and have to take care of between 10-14 people! I'm only 18 and I'm going to college next month so I'll have to focus on school mainly, so should I just quit and leave this stress behind? I've realized that working at a nursing home is not for me, I'm just afraid that human resources will get snippy at me for quitting after only two weeks, what do you think? Also, since I'm only training right now and not on the work rotation yet, do I need to give a two weeks notice?

jadelpn, LPN, EMT-B

51 Articles; 4,800 Posts

This type of work is not for everyone!! I would most sincerely give notice, and if you need to work in order to go to school or to stay in school perhaps an assisted living or rehab facility is better suited for you than a dementia LTC facility. Best of luck to you in your pursuits!


1,024 Posts

Specializes in Peds Medical Floor. Has 12 years experience.

I would go to your coworkers/whoever is in charge of staff education. Tell them you need tips on working with the residents with dementia. Sometimes there are little 'tricks' you can pick up from the staff that knows the residents better than you. And as a general rule I'd walk away from someone being combative (after making sure they were safe) and re approach in 5-10 minutes. Use a soft voice, explain everything you are going to do, and be flexible. Ask for help when needed.

I've worked LTC for almost 10 years. I started when I was barely 19. I found that working with that population has taught me patience and made me more assertive and able to work with difficult people. Give it longer than 2 weeks. Ask for help and more education before quitting. It will help you in your nursing career (assuming you are going to school to be a nurse) in the long run.

allnurses Guide

Hygiene Queen

2,232 Posts

That is a very special population you are dealing with.

It takes time to understand how to approach and interact with your patients.

It is a mix of observing others and learning by fire.

It also involves a degree of imagination and the ability to pull yourself into their world.

I began when I was 18.

I learned, at a very young age, how to deal with difficult people.

The experience has been nothing but to my benefit because difficult patients (and people in general) are everywhere.

You also learn, quick, it is not about you.

They aren't striking out at YOU... unless you are being a complete idiot... which I am positive you are not!

I'm not convincing you to stay.

Only you know what you are suited for but I feel I must say that working with dementia patients effectively takes time.

Also, they can sense stress, fear, dislike and impatience and respond to that.

Not blaming you, just explaining to you.

Many people do not realize this.

I do wish you the best.

You sound like a good egg that just wants to do the right thing.

tokmom, BSN, RN

4,568 Posts

Specializes in Certified Med/Surg tele, and other stuff. Has 30 years experience.

Being a CNA is tough work! I too started at 18 and dealt the demented people that wanted to slap and spit on me. I lasted six months and moved onto a hospital. There were still those types of people there, but at least they are mixed with non demented people.

Like others said, it's not for everyone, but why not try to learn from others and see if you can learn something from them? If it still isn't your cup of tea, move on.


269 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care. CVICU. Adult and Peds PACU.. Has 8 years experience.

In my first year of nursing school, I had to go to a LTC facility. I was so sad and would cry a lot. I wanted to drop out of nursing school. I felt so bad for the residents whose family never came to see them (although some family members visited). It broke my heart when the patient would sit there are scream at you, when ultimately you knew they were just confused.

LTC isn't for everyone and if you can't do it, dont force yourself. It wasn't for me, and I greatly appreciate the people who can do it. :)

Unknown member

120 Posts

Question: Are you entering your first year of NURSING school? or Another major?

I don't want to come off as rude or non-sympathetic, because I truly know how you feel as I've had already had my psych clinical and LTC clinical.

BUT....if you plan to become an RN, you really need to think about your decision. I am trying SOO hard right now to find a job as a CNA so that I can get experience working in a hospital before I graduate and take the NCLEX. I envy you for having this job.

I know it's difficult, but as a nurse, you'll be dealing with patients like this at some point in your career (probably alot!). Remember, there are kids and adults who have mental disorders as well so it's not only the elderly that will act this way. I think it'll really benefit you in the future if you work through it and learn.

But the real question is, do you want to be an RN? Is this your goal? If not, I cannot understand why you'd work as a CNA if you do not enjoy it. *Keep in mind, as an RN, you'll still be doing alot of the "dirty" work too...so basically get used to it! LOL But if your heart is in it, and you care about your patients, you'll do just fine! :D

Has 1 years experience.
I am trying SOO hard right now to find a job as a CNA so that I can get experience working in a hospital before I graduate and take the NCLEX. I envy you for having this job.

She did say she was working in a LTC facility, which is very different than working in a hospital. Also, these types of jobs are much easier to come by than PCA/CNA positions in hospitals. Although both are great for experience, you will definitely learn a lot more in the hospital, simply because you will see a greater variety of patients.

To the OP: I completely understand how emotionally draining it can be. You have to remember that these patients in their normal state would not be treating you like this. In most cases, it is the product of a disease, not because they truly want to hit you. I would agree with what others have been saying: try to ask for tips from the other nurses and CNAs. And if someone is getting combative with you, try to come back to do the job at another time. Also, if you are in the middle of something that you can't leave, and the resident starts to get combative, ask for help from another nurse or CNA. And definitely talk to the director of your facility, or your manager. They can't be angry at you for seeking help!

If I were you, I would try these options and if it still doesn't seem to be getting any better, I would put in my two weeks. At least at that point, you have tried sufficiently to resolve the issues, and not just quit out of frustration.

Good luck whatever you decide to do!! :)


13 Posts

If you have already made your mind up about not wanting to work at the facility, just quit. Call your manager, or go talk to them in person and tell them the job is not for you. Who cares what they think, you're most likely never going to see then again anyways. Don't even bother listing that job on future resumes


178 Posts

A dementia or alzheimers unit probably isnt the best place for a brand new CNA to start, especially an 18 year old. Then again all LTC facilities are pretty much dementia units. I work with a mix of elderly residents with dementia and younger residents with medical conditions that require around the clock care. I find the younger ones who are still mostly alert and oriented can be more difficult to take care of because they are often very bitter and the aide is the only one they can vent at.

If you are planning on working in health care I would stick with it, since dealing with difficult patients are part of the job. As an EMT ive had to deal with drunks and druggies that were a lot more difficult, and dangerous than any dementia resident, and as an RN you'll probably have to deal with them as well, especially if you work in an ED.

Then again if you are quitting who really cares what human resources thinks, most of them wouldnt do that job either.


55 Posts

I would say don't give up on a career in healthcare if that is what you want to do! I know that in my heart I want to be a nurse, but when I did my CNA clinicals in LTC I cried everyday and felt like I had found a job that I just couldn't do. I have had jobs in the past that were very emotionally hard, but I never felt like I couldn't rise to the occasion. I was placed on the dementia unit for all of my clinicals, and like another poster said, it isn't a great place for new CNA's. I decided that I was going to find myself a hospital job and I applied a million times before I even got an interview. Well I got hired on at a local hospital and I LOVE my job. It is so rewarding and I love taking care of the patients. It has completely reaffirmed that nursing is for me. Don't give up yet. You may just need to work with another population!


51 Posts

Specializes in geriatrics( ltc snf and sub acute((. Has 2 years experience.

Sweetheart, my heart goes out 2 u. I have been a cna at an ltc for 2 years

now, and like you I was very nervous about working with dementia pts. It

can be physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining. I agree with the other

posts. Ask for advice from more seasoned cnas and nurses- but make sure the

advice is good advice and isn't harmful to the patients. If a patient is combative,

walk away and come back later. Tell the med nurse because maybe they can

give some meds to calm the patient. Ask for help when changing combative


I have a question. Are you working because you have to, or is it only for

patient care experience? If it is the latter maybe you could try home health.

That way you can pick the assignment. If a client isn't the right fit you can

just ask to be reassigned and you would still be getting experience.

I have learned methods on how to deal with combative patients, and more

times than not, am able to soothe my patients so I can give the care they need.

It just takes patience, innovation, quick thinking, experience and compassion.

As someone else posted, it is the disease that makes the patient act out. They

usually don't even know what they're doing.

You are so young, honey. You will have many different situations to deal

with in your nursing career. And if you think a combative dementia patient is

hard try a druggie on a binger, or a worried parent on the peds floor! Combative

patients and family members come in all forms and can be seen in all areas

of nursing. Best of luck in your future endeavors! :yeah: