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I love being a CNA, but HATE lifting, transferring and etc.


I'm in school to be an RN and I'm CNA for the time being. I recently got a back spasm and my back still hasn't healed and its been two weeks. Here's the problem i like being a CNA and helping the residents but I hate transferring. My nursing home has heavy residents and they don't help at all while transferring and sometimes I have to transfer myself and I'm only so big. All the rest of the CNA's transfer by themselves no problem. We only have one hoyer lift and we have to share with the other hall and sometimes we have no choice and other CNA's look at me crazy when i ask for their help. My back sometimes ache after transferring these people. Do you have to transfer in all CNA jobs? I look online to practice proper body mechanics but its still not working. Any advice??

You need more help with being fit for this job than just looking on line for info on body mechanics.

Speak to the physical therapists about specific exercises that you should be doing to strengthen your back, and do them religiously every day.

Ask a physiatrist-- a physician with a specialty in rehabilitation-- to explain (and this is very important) the difference between dangerous and nondangerous back pain. I know pain feels, well, painful, but some of it is perfectly OK, will pass, and is not indicative of anything more than deconditioning or inadequate conditioning.

You're going to need a good back for a long time. Learn NOW how to have one.

ChristineN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric/Adolescent, Med-Surg.

You said that sometimes you lift/transfer by yourself. Just be careful, I know it takes time to find someone to help you and that your co-workers are busy but I would hate for you to get hurt in the future and find out it could have been prevented.

I was a PCT on a med-surg floor in nursing school. I loved the patients and I learned a ton, but I hurt my shoulder from all the lifting and transferring (much of which I was doing by myself) that now I have permanent damage to my shoulder and I live in pain. Not fun, so try to take care of yourself

So true, thanks alot. Is it ever safe to transfer by yourself?


Has <1 years experience.

Home health! I started when I became pregnant and taking care of 50 residents alone or with 1 other cna got too stressful and dangerous. I take care of an elderly couple in their home for the same wage. They both use walkers so only light lifting like helping them stand. Their minds are starting to go so I make their meals, do light housework, give their meds and insulin shot, take them shopping or to lunch, do exercises with them, it's like having fun with your grandparents all day, I love it :)

If you want to stay in the nursing home, in my experience, night shift does much less lifting. The rolling them in bed can hurt your back but you have more time so you can make sure you're using proper body mechanics.

When I worked in the nursing home I had to lift/transfer/roll residents all the time by myself... and it sounds like we're in the same boat with our backs. I get back spasms so often anymore it scares me.

Now I work in a hospital and I hardly ever have to transfer people. The ones who are healthy enough to get out of bed always seem capable of a stand-by assist and the rest stay in bed or just pivot to a bedside commode.

I'd also second what Taylor1432 said. You should look into home health as well!

Home Health is wonderful but it is not always hard transfer free. I have one client that is a hard transfer and I have to pray everytime that we will be able to do it and I will not be hurting myself, or have him fall. CNA/Nursing work is hard on the body, and we can only try our best to not hurt ourselves. Make sure you are stretching (especially your back) and doing some small exercises to get yourself ready for your shifts. It might seem meaningless and pointness but in the long run it does help

According to OSHA rules, nursing homes must have the necessary equipment to keep you from hurting your back when you are working. Check it out at Osha.gov

Sorry I just got you guys messages, I thought about home health but I heard it wasn't a stable job, if you have bills and I hope the damage isn't already done, I'm only 22. I cry sometimes, because I don't get paid enough for the work I do. They only have one hoyer lift and we share it with rehab. I was hoping to get into rehab but they wouldn't let me and my other coworkers won't always help.

@wanderlustgirl do your back STILL bother you? @taylor is it granuteed pay?

with home health I guess it depends what you feel is stable. There are always clients that you are going to be able to help, and it seems they really do not run out of clients. I think most of the time if you tell them how much you would like to work they will try to acomidate you as best as they can. sometimes if you loose a client, it might take them a little while to replace those shifts, but there are so many options for home care as to how many hours you would like to work and what shifts. I believe that if you like a lot of hours, the best ones are the overnight or 3rd shifts. Many of those are 12 hours, and I think that they are also kind of hard to fill, so they will be more then happy to find the hours you want to work.