CNA's in ICU?

  1. What are some normal tasks that CNA's perform in a ICU unit? I have seen ads for CNA's to work in ICU unit's here in Oregon however it seems they might just be Vital sign and bath aides. I already do that in LTC so im looking for something where there is a high capacity to learn. I know men in general do well in high stress enviorments or so I hear.

    Any info would be great!!
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    About FutureRNMichael

    Joined: Apr '03; Posts: 198; Likes: 1


  3. by   shoelace
    Our CNA's do typically CNA stuff: finger sticks, foleys, baths, answering lights, helping us turn and clean up patients.

    However, if you want to someday work in ICU, being an aide would be a great experience. You'll learn how to move patients that are covered in tubes and hooked up to a ventilator, arterial and venous lines, etc.

    You'll also be exposed to emergencies and be able to watch how to handle them. You can start looking at EKG's.

    There is some structure and routine, but not what there is in long-term care. You have to be flexible and learn to prioritize (We had one CNA who practically insisted on stocking rooms before he'd help us turn/clean our patients... he didn't last long.)

    Hope that helped. :-)
  4. by   Mazzi
    I agree with Shoelace. If high stress job is what you think you would like then get all the low stree benefits by doing CNA work. I started out CNA in Med/Surg floor then progressed to ICU. The nurses were great at teaching and instructing. Turning pts. with all the tubes and lines is tricky. I started to learn how to read the monitors. Years later I decided to go to get my RN and I could not believe how alot of what I learned in ICU as CNA came back to me. I was one up on fellow students.
  5. by   1 Leg Lance
    This is exactly the route I am taking...
    Took CNA training this summer, talked an AD into letting me into the ICU as a new CNA (I promised to go quitely if everyone didn't think I was doing a good job after 2 weeks). And I start RN school this March.
    I have learned soooooo much that I never would have if I had been on a med/surg floor. I made it clear when I started that I wanted to work as a RN in ICU and I would learn anything & everything anyone wanted to teach me.
    We are a busy ICU with lots of variety, I get to see it all from bone marrow to CVVH to nec afas. (flesh eating stuff) and the RN's have been really good about walking me through everything they do.
    The hospital had already signed me off on phelb. so I can do all the lab draws I want, I have learned IV sticks (can only watch but hey I get to hear all the tricks), help with drsng chngs from op sites to full on heavy duty open wound irrig., foley placement, taping et tubes, help with ng placement/tape chgns, setup and watching monitors/ just goes on and on.
    Of course there is helping with baths, stocking and cleaning, but hey at least I will know how to take care of myself and where everything is at.
    I am sure this is the unit I will work in (I am in a hospt sponsered Rn program & the AD's have assured a job) so I joke that I am on a 2 yr orientation
    I absolutely recommend this route to anyone who wants to work in an ICU as a RN, you get lots of time to learn and if you work with good people they will accept your mistakes as a new grad much easier
    1 leg lance
  6. by   tsgarman
    At the ICU I work in we do not have CNA's, but nurse techs. They help do the usual give baths, fingersticks, turning ect. But they also help with procedures examples ( setting up for CVC's, swans, chest tubes, and other procedures you do in an ICU). The techs also go to codes and are the ones who do the compressions durign a code. There has been talk about getting rid of our techs and I sure hope that doesn't happen. They our an assest to our unit. For one a lot of us nurses do not know how to set up for procedures and having a tech do it for you helps keep things running smoothly.
  7. by   AmiK25
    I think CNA duties in the ICU really depend on the unit. In our unit, the CNA's help with turns, baths, transport, and stocking the unit. They are not allowed to do vitals, fingersticks, I/O, or really any other patient care/procedure. Even though they are a huge helped to us and are exposed to the ICU environment, I am not sure how helpful a CNA position in our unit is to a person who is working as a CNA while in nursing school. At least in our unit, it is better to work as a student nurse extern b/c you are allowed/expected to learn and do much more patient care! Anyway, I know all units are different but I just wanted to give you an additional perspective...some units are very restrictive as to what a CNA may do.
  8. by   IamRN
    Originally posted by shoelace
    (We had one CNA who practically insisted on stocking rooms before he'd help us turn/clean our patients... he didn't last long.)
    I think that person go thired on in the unit I now work! :chuckle least we are pretty well stocked! It has gotten to the point that I don't even notice if he is there or not, since he really doesn't help us acomplish any patient care.
  9. by   germain
    I work as a float CNA in the hospital here, and the ICU is my favorite place to float. The nurses are attentive to their patients and here, at least, are the friendliest nurses. Its also the place I learn the most. I turn patients, do lots of cleaning, feed, bathe etc, typical cna stuff witht eh twist of much sicker patients, lots of tubes and wires, patients more likely to be very confused and restrained.
  10. by   zambezi
    We have one CNA in our unit, though only on day shift. One recently has just passed the monitor tech class which I am sure is helpful if they don't have an MT or need coverage while the MT goes to lunch and it is busy. Other than that she stocks the unit, sets up the heart rooms (for post op heart surgery), helps with turning, feeding, etc...not sure if she does fingersticks, etc.