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Is It Too Demeaning to be a CNA?

Nurse Beth   (1,332 Views 22 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert Nurse Verified

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

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3 minutes ago, Crash_Cart said:

To my knowledge, EMT's are trained to work calls from an ambulance and CNA's work with patients in a hospital. 

 

I recently took a BLS class and the trainer is an EMT who told me that after getting her EMT she worked as an emergency room tech in the ED at the local children's hospital. I have also seen many postings for positions at my local hospitals that PCT's can be either CNA's or EMT's. It also seems to me that most often CNA's work in nursing homes. Aside from the difference of where one works, what difference in job functions would make one more useful for a career in nursing? What is missing from being exposed to "nursing" as you said?

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Crash_Cart has 11 years experience and specializes in ER OR LTC Code Blue Trauma Dog.

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Good luck. 

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1 hour ago, Crash_Cart said:

Good luck. 

I don’t know if it’s your intent, but you are coming off as rather rude. I’m asking so if I would greatly benefit from being a CNA as opposed to an EMT I can know that before entering into a program for either of those. 

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2 hours ago, Crash_Cart said:

To my knowledge, EMT's are trained to work calls from an ambulance and CNA's work with patients in a hospital. 

 

The Emergency Room where I work hires EMTs as techs too. 

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CNA here. If you think CNA work is demeaning, you have no idea how important CNAs actually are, especially in SNFs (skilled nursing facilities). I don't know what care facilities are like in other states, but at SNFs where I live CNAs are the eyes/ears/boots on the ground and care facilities would literally not run without us. Our work is the farthest thing from glamorous, but as Nurse Beth stated - it is absolutely an honor to care for those who are sick and dying. Some days are amazing. Some days are hard and frustrating. But you will learn so much.

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Crash_Cart has 11 years experience and specializes in ER OR LTC Code Blue Trauma Dog.

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55 minutes ago, beekee said:

The Emergency Room where I work hires EMTs as techs too. 

Regardless where they might work, EMT's are trained to be first responders.  

Their training consists of learning how to drive an ambulance, respond to 911 calls, operate two way radio equipment, extricate patients from motor vehicles, apply emergency equipment such as MAST pants, thomas splints, cervical collars, spinal boards, interpret EKG's, use cardiac monitors etc etc etc.

However, that still doesn't mean EMT's are trained to provide any bedside patient care like a CNA ("Nursing Assistant") does.  EMT's are simply not trained to work with patients in a hospital nursing unit environment. 

Spin it any way you want, but they just aren't and the idea that anyone would gain a nursing education from becoming an EMT first responder is flawed thinking.  Please reconsider this approach.

Edited by Crash_Cart

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kbrn2002 has 25 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Geriatrics.

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It is not in the very least little bit demeaning to be a CNA. Quite the opposite in fact.  Caring for those who can't care for themselves is an honorable job. What it isn't however is a high paying job. Unless you are in a fairly low income profession for somebody with a Masters degree it will a serious cut in pay for you.  If you decide to go down that path before starting nursing while I highly recommend it you will probably be looking at some decent adjustments in lifestyle just to make ends meet.  I would suggest before you commit to this idea that you crunch some numbers and make sure you can afford to.

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10 hours ago, kbrn2002 said:

It is not in the very least little bit demeaning to be a CNA. Quite the opposite in fact.  Caring for those who can't care for themselves is an honorable job. What it isn't however is a high paying job. Unless you are in a fairly low income profession for somebody with a Masters degree it will a serious cut in pay for you.  If you decide to go down that path before starting nursing while I highly recommend it you will probably be looking at some decent adjustments in lifestyle just to make ends meet.  I would suggest before you commit to this idea that you crunch some numbers and make sure you can afford to.

I know I mentioned having my masters degree, so I don't know if this was directed towards my comments which I realize is steering this thread away from the OP. I'm already barely getting by with my master's degree because I'm not working in my field. I currently work 3 jobs (1 full-time, 2 part-time) and because of all the debt I've accumulated in earning my previous degrees, it's just not enough. I get that being a CNA doesn't pay well and certainly doesn't pay what a CNA deserves. I come from working in education/social services so I'm very much used to not being paid well. I also know that for my sanity, staying in a slightly better paying job that is completely unfulfilling is not helping me either. 

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I have read through what has been written and it is obvious that being a CNA does not really appeal to you. So I believe if you become a CNA you will get burned out fast. I suggest that you look into the EMT, or CMA  programs.

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Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

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EMT isn't going to get you what you are looking for, if being exposed to nursing is the goal. Generally they can be hired to be an ER technician, but they don't get hired elsewhere in the hospital and exposure to nursing in general will be minimal unless you get one of those coveted ER jobs.

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Which is better, being an EMT and getting healthcare experience or sitting in an office, staring at computer, being taunted by talking to students who are out there doing what I'm itching to do? 

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