Looking for Pointers from Current CNAs

Students CNA/MA

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I've been reading many posts on this site for a while now, but decided to create an account so I could post as well. I'm preparing to take my CNA courses in the Fall of this year or possibly early next year.

First, let me say that I think all of you CNAs have hearts of gold. I've read many of your posts concerning pt care, and I can see that you're all generous, sacrifycing individuals with the way you give to and love your pts. I, too, want to be able to give this kind of care and love. I've always felt sorry for people who are in Nursing homes or LTCs who are in a state of complete dependence and are suffering from various ailments, so I want to be able to provide good care and give them hope. In addition I would also like to assist nurses and other CNAs (co-workers) to the best of my abilities, thereby alleviating stress for them and being a good team player.

So . . . I would really appreciate any pointers you all may have regarding working in your particular facilities. Any advice would be truly appreciated, and that includes things that should be avoided as a worker. I just would like to know how to provide the best possible care to pts, as well as to aide the nurses and other co-workers while learning time management and other skils. I so want to do the best job I can! Thanks in advance! :redbeathe

dedream

64 Posts

Hello and welcome!! I will tell you like a RN told me when I first started; It could be snowing outside in the middle of spring and your car breaks down on your way to work and upon arrival you get the hardest assignment on the unit, you have next to nothing supplies and you are working short.....things don't seem as bad if approached with a good attitude and a smile....Good luck!!:heartbeat:heartbeat:heartbeat

tishirajan

212 Posts

Hello Dream Girl and welcome!

Here's a couple of links to threads you may find useful. Good luck with your CNA and keep us posted on how things are going. You will find that working in LTC is an amazing experience and you will learn so much about others and yourself.

https://allnurses.com/cna-nursing-assistant/do-you-have-401581.html#post3694416

https://allnurses.com/general-nursing-discussion/what-like-cna-400010.html#post3682533

You will get down a routine whenever you start working. It takes a week or so to get the whole time management thing. Just being willing to get in there and help out wherever you're needed says volumes in and of itself.

Always avoid the gossip groups! That's first and foremost.

If a nurse asks you to do something, do it. Don't question her on every little thing unless it's something you truly do not understand.

Just be yourself and be compassionate and you will do great!:yeah:

If you have any questions about anything just post them and we'll try to answer them to the best of our abilities.

Again, good luck to you! You will love this!

Dream Girl

31 Posts

Hello and welcome!! I will tell you like a RN told me when I first started; It could be snowing outside in the middle of spring and your car breaks down on your way to work and upon arrival you get the hardest assignment on the unit, you have next to nothing supplies and you are working short.....things don't seem as bad if approached with a good attitude and a smile....Good luck!!:heartbeat:heartbeat:heartbeat

Thanks for the pointer dedream. I noticed in other things that a good attitude really helps one get through the day. I guess the same hold true for this type of career. Wow . . . that is quite a scenario the RN told you about. I think if you could keep a good/positive attitude after that, you could do anything. Thanks for the advice! :up:

Dream Girl

31 Posts

Hello Dream Girl and welcome!

Here's a couple of links to threads you may find useful. Good luck with your CNA and keep us posted on how things are going. You will find that working in LTC is an amazing experience and you will learn so much about others and yourself.

https://allnurses.com/cna-nursing-assistant/do-you-have-401581.html#post3694416

https://allnurses.com/general-nursing-discussion/what-like-cna-400010.html#post3682533

You will get down a routine whenever you start working. It takes a week or so to get the whole time management thing. Just being willing to get in there and help out wherever you're needed says volumes in and of itself.

Always avoid the gossip groups! That's first and foremost.

If a nurse asks you to do something, do it. Don't question her on every little thing unless it's something you truly do not understand.

Just be yourself and be compassionate and you will do great!:yeah:

If you have any questions about anything just post them and we'll try to answer them to the best of our abilities.

Again, good luck to you! You will love this!

tishirajan, I so appreciate the links and will check those out ASAP. I'm glad to hear that it takes about a week, rather than several weeks to get a routine down. I will definitely present myself in a way that shows I'm willing and able to get out there and help. You mentioned the gossip groups and avoiding those. What do you say if someone tries to pull you into some gossip? Do you just walk away and ignore it, or is that too rude?

Thanks for all your advice and I have a feeling I'll be asking more questions as time goes on. Thanks for wishing me luck!

nkara, CNA

288 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg/Pedi/Tele.

my advice is always remember that patient in the bed could be your mother, father, uncle, etc. How would you want them to be treated? It is not an easy job and it is stressful but treat them with the utmost compassion and respect. Even when they are mean to you. Do the best that you can and it will all fall into place.

And if you can go home and put your head down to sleep with a clear concience you did the right thing. :luvnltr:

fuzzywuzzy, CNA

1,816 Posts

Specializes in LTC.

Those are lofty goals! :)

It's hard to feel like you're making a difference when you have so much stuff to do in such a short amount of time. Clock in, yank people out of bed, shovel pureed beef and nutrition shakes down their throat, fling a washcloth around, toss them into bed, lather, rinse, repeat. Before you know it, it's time to go home. Take an extra 5 minutes with someone and things pile up until you miss your rounds altogether on your last 2 people. Just remember it doesn't take any extra time to smile. That really does make a big difference, and it works on everyone. You'll have to use different approaches in how you deal with each resident (usually either humor or being really sweet and gentle) but a big fat smile pairs well with everything.

As far as being a good coworker, when someone asks you for help, go as soon as possible- don't stop to answer call bells or whatever. Little favors (like rinsing out all the poopy linens in the hopper even though they weren't yours or putting a coworker's resident to bed while she's at break) go a long way, as long as you can handle it. If doing something like that is going to set you back enough so that you'll be struggling later then don't do it because people are just going to think you suck at your job. Some of the aides get mad if they see others who don't finish as quickly as they do. I don't know why, because these are the same aides who won't lift a finger to help out, so it's no skin off their back. They're usually the same ones who don't give good care and that's why they finished as early as they did. You'll learn how to work with both kinds of people- the ones who work with you and the ones who work next to you.

Dream Girl

31 Posts

my advice is always remember that patient in the bed could be your mother, father, uncle, etc. How would you want them to be treated? It is not an easy job and it is stressful but treat them with the utmost compassion and respect. Even when they are mean to you. Do the best that you can and it will all fall into place.

And if you can go home and put your head down to sleep with a clear concience you did the right thing. :luvnltr:

nkara - that is what I will do whenever I see a patient in bed - I will think of them as a relative. My mother died a couple years ago from a dibilatating disease in which her body, mind and spirit broke down slowly but surely. Sometimes she could be mean, and that's because she was frustrated and suffered so much. I would hold my tongue, and then would say loving things to her. That would seem to diffuse her anger for a while. I would turn the other cheek (figuratively speaking) and instead say nice things to her, and listen when she needed to talk.

I learned a lot about her and myself as her mind and body continued to degenerate from the beautiful, vibrant woman I knew, to someone who became totally dependent on others for her ADL's. I felt I wanted to give others in similar conditions the same kind of patience, respect and love that I gave her, even when it was difficult to do so.

Yes, I will definitely think about the patients as my mother, father, etc., and try to remember that when they're mean, it's not about me but about their condition. Thanks for your advice about this and doing the best I can. I do know that if my conscience is clear, then I'll truly have a restful sleep.

Thanks again . . . :tinkbll:

Dream Girl

31 Posts

Those are lofty goals! :)

It's hard to feel like you're making a difference when you have so much stuff to do in such a short amount of time. Clock in, yank people out of bed, shovel pureed beef and nutrition shakes down their throat, fling a washcloth around, toss them into bed, lather, rinse, repeat. Before you know it, it's time to go home. Take an extra 5 minutes with someone and things pile up until you miss your rounds altogether on your last 2 people. Just remember it doesn't take any extra time to smile. That really does make a big difference, and it works on everyone. You'll have to use different approaches in how you deal with each resident (usually either humor or being really sweet and gentle) but a big fat smile pairs well with everything.

As far as being a good coworker, when someone asks you for help, go as soon as possible- don't stop to answer call bells or whatever. Little favors (like rinsing out all the poopy linens in the hopper even though they weren't yours or putting a coworker's resident to bed while she's at break) go a long way, as long as you can handle it. If doing something like that is going to set you back enough so that you'll be struggling later then don't do it because people are just going to think you suck at your job. Some of the aides get mad if they see others who don't finish as quickly as they do. I don't know why, because these are the same aides who won't lift a finger to help out, so it's no skin off their back. They're usually the same ones who don't give good care and that's why they finished as early as they did. You'll learn how to work with both kinds of people- the ones who work with you and the ones who work next to you.

Fuzzy, it helps to know that a big fat smile :loveya: goes a long way through all the hustle and bustle of trying to do so much in such a short time. I know that smiles can be squeezed in, for smiling comes easy to me, even when I'm in a heap of poop (literally and figuratively speaking). I've noticed that humor can help in a lot of situations, and gentleness and thoughtfulness go a long way! That is good advice about trying to help co-workers as much as possible, so long as it doesn't set one back too much. Especially after what you shared about some people getting mad if one doesn't finish quickly.

Well, I hope that I can work alongside mostly the kinds of aides that want to work together. Thanks for letting me know that when a co-worker needs help (so long as I'm not right in the middle of cleaning up poop, vomit, etc.) that that takes precedence over call lights. I wouldn't have know that hadn't you shared that pointer with me!

I'm just so amazed at you and the rest for giving so much to these patients, even in the midst of so many things to do in such a short amount of time. I see you all as Angels :wshgrt: ministering to the ill, diseased and sometimes forsaken. It's a blessing to read and learn from you all . . . :redpinkhe

tishirajan

212 Posts

As far as gossip goes, I just excuse myself politely and say I have to grab some linens or forgot to do something for a pt. That way you don't have to involve yourself with the gossip and you can make a hasty exit without anyone thinking you are being rude.

greeniebean

447 Posts

Specializes in Alzheimers and geriatric patients.

I actually started a thread a while back about this so instead of re typing it i'll just give you link. A lot of posters gave really good advice!

https://allnurses.com/CNA-nursing-assistants/advice-new-cnas-396787.html

Dream Girl

31 Posts

Tish, thanks for the advice on how to deal with people who are gossiping. Now I know how I can skip out of a situation like that with using some excuse to leave the gathering, and thus avoid being rude in the process.

And Mimib, thanks so much for the link on the thread you started called "Advice for New CNAs". I just printed that out and will keep referring to it. Wow, talk about a cornucopia of valid suggestions and great pointers!!

I suppose the thing that concerns me the most are the mechanical transfers with extremely obese residents. What if there aren't any co-workers available because they're busy with other residents? Should someone just wait until an aide is freed up to help? I wouldn't want to hurt myself trying to do it all by myself and, of course, wouldn't attempt doing that alone.

Another question I have is regarding violent residents. Some of the posts I've read in the other forums mentioned that some residents could become physically violent, using either their hands or blunt objects to attack people. Just how prevalent is this? And is there any way one can protect her or himself from an attack without hurting the patient?

Another thing that was mentioned in #1 of the list is the new employee that started crying because she said "it's just too gross". Was it the smell or the look of the feces that grossed her out? I thought that in NA courses they prepared students for things like cleaning BMs, changing wet pads, wiping up vomit, and other things. I suppose, too, I wonder what, if anything, you can do to block out the various smells. The thing that comes to my mind is breathing through the mouth, but perhaps that's not a good idea?

I know I have many questions, but as #1 of the list stated, one should go in with realistic expectations. I just want to be as realistically prepared as possible. Thanks again for all the pointers and suggestions! :D

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