Hi, my name is Emily and I just recently got certified as a CNA. My second day of my first job is tomorrow, and we're still on orientation so I was wondering if anyone out there could give me any advice. I'm nervous about working by myself with 9-15 patients or more. How do you handle that many people by yourself? i'll be working 2nd shift, from 3-11 .. what do you usually do throughout the day to stay organized and make sure every patient gets taken care of and fed and everything else? thanks so much.

When I worked 2nd, I always had a small notepad or piece of paper to make notes about my patients, i.e., if they had a BM, how much output they had if they had a Foley, etc. I also put a set of PJs, a brief or pull up, and their toothbrush and toothpaste together in a drawer so I could grab them when the patient was ready to go to bed. I did a mental checklist of who needed to be up first for dinner and who needed to be put to bed first. Efficiency comes with practice; you will struggle at first but give it a month, and you will find your routine.


61 Posts

I am in the sMe situation ! I'm staring my first job and I'll be 2 shift also . Many people had tried to intimidate me . By saying so many things like for example . I can loose my license if I neglect someone , even if I m just starting and do not know who needs this and that. !!! :down: I really doubt now if I can do this or not . I do not want to ruin my life by having any incidents or neglecting somebody . I'm staring next week . Although I have 4 month since I got my license and since that date I have been trying get a job . Until now . I want some advice and encouragement alsoo pleasee....í ½í±


18 Posts

What type of facility do you all work at? LTC or hospital?

IsmeAmanda, LPN

128 Posts

Has 13 years experience.

I always worked 3 to 11. Find out if first dining is for the more independent residents. Then you can plan when to get your feeders ready for dinner.

Like the person said above, in your free time between 3 and 4 get all your bed stuff ready.

On shift change, ask when the incontinent residents were last changed so you can keep a 2 hour schedule up with changing. When I see CNA's who leave people wet for 8 hrs or more I ask: how long do YOU want to sit in piss?

Look at your shower schedule and decide how many you need to do before dinner. I try to knock most of mine out before dinner. Because old people like to go to bed early. Theyre all asleep before 9pm unless they have Alz.

After they are mostly asleep, be sure to look in on them and still do rounds quietly. In my opinion this is a big time for falls.

Sammy Jankis

26 Posts

The most important tip I can give you is to create a routine. When you get there, work... do not procrastinate. Find out who your baths/showers are and get them done asap. Do not cut corners and provide quality care. If you work hard, it is possible to complete all of your tasks by the end of your shift. Good Luck!

Missingyou, CNA

718 Posts

Specializes in Long term care. Has 20 years experience.

Besides a note pad and a pen (they will be your "best friends") I carry with me small packets of A&D (or whatever the facility provides to protect residents bottoms), small trash bags, a few denture tablets and toothetts.

If I have these things on me, I don't have to go chasing after them if the resident is out...or fishing in draws trying to find them....a few seconds saved adds up and with being a new CNA, you will need EVERY SECOND!

I've said it lots of times before.....RAISE THE BED to provide care EVERY SINGLE TIME!! Bend your knees, not your back. You will be told not to because it takes too long. :bluecry1: It doesn't take much to destroy your back and once u hurt it, it will NEVER be the same.

Another important thing, you may be zipping through your resident care, but ALWAYS stop and check. Make sure bed is lowered, alarms are on...etc. If you forget one of these saftey things, then yes, you could be in some serious trouble. Take your time and think before you leave a resident and you should be fine.


11 Posts


I don't want to be a bother, but I'm waiting to start orientation at my first CNA job and will be working 2nd shift too. I was wondering how it is for you, and if you have an tips for me? I hope your work and everything has been going well!


38 Posts

Specializes in Geriatric. Has 4 years experience.

i just wanted to add to all these great advice... document, document, is important to protect yourself, esp when you see new condition e.g. new redness on the skin or new to your charge nurse or LVNs and make sure you document it, so u wont be blame if the redness becomes bed sore...if residents refuse care due to their condition e.g. alzheimer pt. or combative pt. you also have to report to your charge nurse and document it...LVNs are your best friend...and each other and you would be okay :) just do unto them as you want others do unto you :) good luck :)

I work first shift at a hospital now, but we have about 8 patients who are long-term care. I still keep paper on me, but I keep a pair of kiddie safety scissors, a roll of tape, a roll of trash bags, alcohol wipes, and sometimes a stack of gloves in my pockets. One of the other efficient things to do is to have everything lined up in the order you will use them, i.e., brief, socks, shirt, pants, shoes. It saves time by allowing you to not rifle through a pile of clothes looking for a stray sock. I will also pre-roll a Hoyer lift sling before turning the patient. Anything that cuts down on going back and forth will save you time.