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My first CNA job starts this week---what should I expect?

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superaunt superaunt (New) New

I passed my CNA exam in November of '09 and I will be starting my first actual job as a CNA this week. During my clinical hours I had somebody with me and sharing the work load but now I'm going to be on my own. And I'm totally freaking out about it. I'm so nervous! During clinicals I could always find somebody to help and I probably asked a million questions. What will it be like? Give me some tips please!

NP Sam

Specializes in Peds OR as RN, Peds ENT as NP.

What can I say... the first day being on your own is probably the toughest. Definitely ask questions. Are you working in LTC?

Yes it is a LTC. I'm so nervous. And it doesn't help that the woman interviewing me told me that employees don't usually stay long and most cna's run screaming toward the door. Yeah she got me real motivated to come back. Lol.

NP Sam

Specializes in Peds OR as RN, Peds ENT as NP.

Yeah this profession has a high turnover rate where I work also. When you walk into the doors take a deep breath. Second, get a thorough report from the previous CNA. Ask if they are incontinent, what they can do for themselves, and ask about the patient emotionally. In other words DO THEY FIGHT!?! My first day I had three fighters and four people who required a lift. Also, I ask what time my patients were last checked. Most importantly, NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING. You will be fine:D

fuzzywuzzy, CNA

Specializes in LTC. Has 3 years experience.

You can still ask a million questions. I've never known anyone to be stingy with answers at my job. Stingy with help- yes. If you're aggravatingly slow or just don't get along with people or don't help others, they won't help you. But no one blows off a new girl with questions. There are soooo many little details in each person's routine that are easy to take for granted. I used a blank report sheet that had everyone's name and room # listed and wrote down anything and everything. The first few weeks is all about flying by the seat of your pants. After a while it starts to get easier.

You'll be slow and the other CNAs will probably give you crap at first. There will be things that you never realized you were supposed to do until it's too late and no one thought to tell you about them (like baths or vitals- find out right away who needs those done). Fitting in everything that you need to be doing for everyone can be difficult even for seasoned CNAs, so you'll probably only have time for the bare basics at first. Keep safety in mind: What is the assist level and do they use any devices to transfer with? Do they have alarms? Are the side rails correct? Is the bed lowered to the floor? Do they have floor mats? Is their call bell in reach? If they are thickened liquids, did you make sure not to leave any thin drinks in their room? Before you walk someone, are you required to check their BP and pulse? Those things are really important. If you forget to plug in a bed alarm and the person falls, or they choke on thin liquid, your butt is in trouble. If you forgot to put lotion on someone's feet, you left a messy room, you forgot mouth care, didn't reposition someone as often as you should- those are not as pressing. You definitely should be doing those things but if you miss them during the first couple weeks it's okay. You're not gonna be perfect, and dry skin is better than a broken hip. So before you leave a room make sure all the safety measures are covered.

Try and work really fast. A lot of new CNAs move at a slower pace and end up spending like 30 minutes doing care on one resident. That's great for the resident you spent all that time with, but not for all the rest of them that've been sitting in wet pants all that time. A lot of residents know how to take advantage of a new person so you'll have to come up with ways to hurry things along. With some people there's just no way of getting out of it so ask the other CNAs who those people are in if they have any tips for either dealing with the person or building their routine around that person.

As for not ******* the other CNAs off- try to get everyone up and dressed (or in bed and undressed if you work seconds), around the same time as everyone else. If you're consistently the last one finished even after you've had time to adjust to the job, people get aggravated. I don't even really know why, they just do. Also if someone asks for your help with something don't keep them waiting... that's legitimately annoying! When someone wants your help with something, that's a good time for you to ask them to reciprocate.

I think I've written enough for now lol.

eveningsky339, LPN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg.

There are three simple things you can do to make your days as a "newbie" more bearable:

1) Ask questions

2) Ask questions

3) Ask questions

If you are in any way unsure about anything at all, ask!!!!

As for the "most CNA's go screaming towards the door" bit, this is hard work! I don't think any of us have any delusions of an easy shift. Be tough, and if you really don't enjoy the place, so be it, you can find another. :cool:

fuzzywuzzy, CNA

Specializes in LTC. Has 3 years experience.

As for the "most CNA's go screaming towards the door" bit, this is hard work! I don't think any of us have any delusions of an easy shift. Be tough, and if you really don't enjoy the place, so be it, you can find another. :cool:

But do give it time. When I first started, I wanted to quit (run screaming for the door) every day. I had panic attacks on my day off just thinking about having to go back there the next day. I felt like it was never going to get any better. The best advice I got was to write down everything that was making me so miserable, then keep showing up and doing my best for one month. Then at the end of the month, to go back and read what I had written and if I still felt the same way, go ahead and quit. That gave me something to focus on. And after a month things were much better and continued to get better after that. Now I love my job.

NP Sam

Specializes in Peds OR as RN, Peds ENT as NP.

Lol at fuzzywuzzy's "wet pants" comment:lol2:. Also, if you are ever in doubt or need a self-check read the "CNA Personalities" post.;)