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New CNA and feel like I'm terrible at it.

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Chomp Chomp (New) New

I recently got a job as a CNA. I'm trying to get into the RN program however after being a CNA for a few months now I feel like I am terrible at my job and am questioning if nursing is the right option for me.

I work at an assisted living facility. Since I've started I had one day of orientation and was put down one of the heaviest halls. What my co-workers call it. I work the day shift and have to get residents up and ready for breakfast. Lay them down after and then up again for lunch and down one more time before the second shift comes on.

The reason why I feel like I am terrible at my job is because I'm almost always having at least one or two residents extremely late for breakfast and lunch. Finding help for my two man transfers is near impossible and I refuse to work a hoyer by myself. I've seen other CNAs do the hoyer by them self and I refuse to put the resident and myself at risk of harm. I can't get to my charting until the second shift comes on and get in trouble for staying past my shift. During my lunch breaks I cry and try to pull myself together before going back in sometimes. I feel like I'm constantly drowning.

Today a resident had an accident. It was a huge mess. This was a two person resident. I tried getting them cleaned up as much as I could by myself and was constantly on the walkie trying to get assistance. No one came. I had to find someone. While passing one residents room they yelled at me saying they were ready to get up. I let them know I would get to them once I was done with my current situation as it needed immediate assistance. Once I was done I went straight to the resident that was ready to get up. This resident asked me why I took so long. I replied saying that I had a situation that needed immediate assistance and left it at that. The resident then chewed me out because she was tired of getting up so late and told me how terrible of a CNA I was and needed to get it together. I felt so terrible. I've seen other CNAs work this hall and rock it. I'm down this hall almost all the time. I can count on one hand how many times I have not been down that hall. I do care about the residents and love the job but I feel like I am constantly drowning and the responsibilitys in the time frame I am suppose to complete is too much.

My question is: has anyone felt and struggled this way? If I hate being a CNA is going into nursing really a good option for me?

nursel56

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 33 years experience.

Hi Chomp, welcome to allnurses! There are two issues here, as I see it. First, there are large numbers of people who describe their daily job experience exactly as you do, so do not beat yourself up, especially with only a few months on the job.

People who succeed in the long term learn shortcuts pick up speed by simple repetition, experience, getting used to each resident's routine, and a supportive team. It doesn't sound like you do, but inadequate staffing is not your fault.

To the second issue, does any of this mean you should reconsider a career in nursing? Not at all. All nurses should learn the fundamentals generally delegated to CNAs, beyond that, the paths will diverge. Generally speaking, nurses have more autonomy, responsibility, variety in workplace specialty, opportunity to advance or go into leadership, just to name a few.

There are many posts containing descriptions of a typical workday in the various specialty forums here, which may help you focus on your interests.

I think your obvious concern for your residents and willingness to go the extra mile is a big plus, not a roadblock. All the best to you!

blaundee

Has 15 years experience.

My first 6 months as a CNA were rough. I Judy couldn't get my groove, and I was ready to quit. Then I met an amazing CNA, and she taught me SO MUCH. So first off-in try to find a mentor.

Next, get into a routine. Don't try to get a resident up, dressed, make their bed, befor going to the next person... what I used to do when I worked in a nursing home was as I walked down the hall right after clocking in, I'd start singing and turn on the entrance lights by the door to each room... I'd get report, then I'd go back down the hall, this time getting everyone up and dressed, and wheel them to breakfast. While they were at breakfast, one aide from each hall was with them in the dining room, and the other on the floor, stripping/making beds, etc. Once they came back from breakfast, I'd change their depends or toilet them, then either sit them in the living area or put them down for a nap, and while they were chilling, I'd get the rest of the stuff done - finish beds, give showers, etc.

blaundee

Has 15 years experience.

Then it was time to toilet everyone, get them back to lunch, bring them back, toilet again, they'd rest or have an activity... before the next shift was coming in, I'd toilet everyone again, then catch up on charting and then give report.

Have you thought about switching shifts? Morning shift is the hardest one.

I have put in a request for NOC due to personal situations happening and needing to adjust my schedule accordingly. I need the schedule shift by end of May. I was told that no positions were open for that shift at the moment but they would see what they can do when the time came.

blaundee

Has 15 years experience.

Could you get on with a nursing home instead? They ALWAYS need night shift!

blaundee

Has 15 years experience.

Plus night shift gets paid differential...

Zyprexa

Has 2 years experience.

Your assisted living sounds more like a nursing home in terms of acuity, BUT they probably staff like assisted living (20+ patients/CNA). It's really hard, I know I've been there. Don't feel like a failure because you aren't, you're new and still learning. You're also working in an extremely tough environment, staffing is horrible, teamwork is lacking, and you can't do everything at once which is frustrating. I was so green when I started in "assisted living" as a caregiver, it was my first real job and I didn't even know what DNR/Full Code meant while I was working there (yikes, I know!). The training I got was basically a tour of the facility and a little run down on each resident. I also had no idea how to change briefs or transfer patients (many were 3x my weight!). We didn't have any hoyers or lifts there. I was almost always late to bring 1-2 residents down for breakfast, and we were also the servers so the other residents had to wait to be served until we finished getting everyone ready. It totally sucked for everyone involved (except management lol). But I got through it, went to work at an actual LTC facility as a CNA, then in the hospital on a medical floor as a CNA. I made it through nursing school, and I found my CNA experience to be very helpful. Now I'm working in psych as an RN and I love it!! My advice is to look for other employment (LTC, acute care hospital), while continuing to work at your job for now.

You sound like a hard working, determined individual, and I'm sure you'll make a great nurse! Hang in there! :nurse:

Try to get hired by a hospital. The difference between that and nursing homes is like day and night. I was hired by Harborview in Seattle, WA without having any experience as a CNA and this has been an incredible experience. I did one week in a nursing home and I did not enjoy that at all.

Maaaan, this brings back some memories for me...

I had a rough start too as a CNA - it didn't help that the first facility that I worked in was incredibly clique-ish, so I never really had any help when I needed it, yet I'd never dream of leaving someone hanging. It wasn't all bad, however, and I did get the chance to learn a lot from some pretty amazing folks so I'm thankful for that experience.

As previous posters have said - try to find a mentor, someone that can give you some advice, some shortcuts etc.

Some patients will always be a bit prickly; they expect you to be there for them as soon as they call you, and sometimes it's just not possible. If you get chewed out, don't let them see that they're hurting your feelings, just remain polite, apologize for the delay and continue doing your best. People say harsh things to get a rise out of you when they're upset so don't take anything personally!

If it helps, try to keep a notepaper in your pocket so you can write out the things you've got to do that day - a checklist really helped me keep a grip on things when it got crazy sometimes.

S*** happens, literally - code browns always come at the worst possible time; just let your hall nurse, or CNA (if you share the hall with another CNA) know, if your hall CNA is free, they might even be able to help you. If not, then just take it in your stride and do what you can.

Don't give up on your dream of nursing - for the most part I absolutely despise being a CNA - I love the patient care aspect and I have an absolute riot with that, even if they're a bit prickly sometimes, or have C.diff; I love taking care of my patients and I'd bend over backwards for them, but I'm ready to move on, you know? I want to be more than a glorified housekeeper.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the being a nurse and a CNA are two completely different jobs - sure, the core of it is the same (patient care), but the duties are completely different and if you want to be a nurse, don't let a bad experience keep you away from your dream. :)

blaundee

Has 15 years experience.

Maaaan, this brings back some memories for me...

I had a rough start too as a CNA - it didn't help that the first facility that I worked in was incredibly clique-ish, so I never really had any help when I needed it, yet I'd never dream of leaving someone hanging. It wasn't all bad, however, and I did get the chance to learn a lot from some pretty amazing folks so I'm thankful for that experience.

As previous posters have said - try to find a mentor, someone that can give you some advice, some shortcuts etc.

Some patients will always be a bit prickly; they expect you to be there for them as soon as they call you, and sometimes it's just not possible. If you get chewed out, don't let them see that they're hurting your feelings, just remain polite, apologize for the delay and continue doing your best. People say harsh things to get a rise out of you when they're upset so don't take anything personally!

If it helps, try to keep a notepaper in your pocket so you can write out the things you've got to do that day - a checklist really helped me keep a grip on things when it got crazy sometimes.

S*** happens, literally - code browns always come at the worst possible time; just let your hall nurse, or CNA (if you share the hall with another CNA) know, if your hall CNA is free, they might even be able to help you. If not, then just take it in your stride and do what you can.

Don't give up on your dream of nursing - for the most part I absolutely despise being a CNA - I love the patient care aspect and I have an absolute riot with that, even if they're a bit prickly sometimes, or have C.diff; I love taking care of my patients and I'd bend over backwards for them, but I'm ready to move on, you know? I want to be more than a glorified housekeeper.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the being a nurse and a CNA are two completely different jobs - sure, the core of it is the same (patient care), but the duties are completely different and if you want to be a nurse, don't let a bad experience keep you away from your dream. :)

Oh YES! I like to have a tiny notebook in my pocket at all times to jot down things I need to remember (in a pinch, I'll use post its, then by the end of the day I have a pocket full of yellow papers LoL) and I've also found that having a basic checklist on a clipboard is extremely helpful. Just be sure to keep the checklist covered & as basic as possible - HIPPA! lol

As far as being a nurse... keep after it. Like this poster said, they're very different, which is why I'm pursuing nursing too. I love being a CNA, but I'm very interested in being able to provide wound care, etc, so on to RN I go! Just be sure to keep in mind the lessons you've learned as a CNA.