Night shift, CNAs and homework


Where I work there are 5 of the 10 CNAs who regularly work night shift that are going on to school. These CNAs bring their homework on a regular basis to do during work hours when things are slow or on break. If they are fortunate enough to have down time during the shift and all other work is completed I see no problem with doing homework. Some other nurses that I work with feel differently and have not allowed homework to be done on their floors.

This is becoming more of an issue due to one of the CNAs now trying to hide out during the shift to do her homework when she should be on the floor. Yes, she has been spoken to regarding this but it seemed to have little to no effect. There has also been other problems with taking turns answering call lights during "homework time". Again addressed and issue is resolved for now. I should probably add that I work in a long term care facility.

How is the homework issue handled at your facility? Should they be allowed to do homework on the floor or only on break, opinions please!


6 Posts

I work night shift and bring my homework every night! It's part of why I work nights. Sure some nights are crazy busy, but we have a lot of down time. If patients are taken care of, I don't see a problem with it.


63 Posts

Specializes in LTC. Has 1 years experience.

I work NOC for LTC, and I honestly don't think I would have a problem with CENA's doing their homework as long as they're available when they're needed and are completing their usual tasks. I would expect them to use some common sense and know that if it's a busy night, it's not a night to do homework. But, again, if it's a slow night I wouldn't have a problem at all.

And, I know that other nurses operate differently on their floors/shifts. I expect my CENA's to respect the other nurse's wishes while they're on the shift, just as much as they respect mine. When you're the nurse on duty, you're the supervisor for the shift. So, different rules/procedures apply to each nurse and their way of working. Where I work, the CENA's know this and usually understand this (I emphasize "usually".. hehe). I don't think this would be an issue management would really handle, it would more then likely turn into a NO HOMEWORK thing. So, it'd probably be in the CENA's best interest to just respect whatever nurse is on duty and do their homework on their breaks if they have to. In all reality, they are being paid to care for the residents, not to do their homework. :) Hope this helps!

Specializes in ER, progressive care. Has 7 years experience.

Only on break, or if you are sitting, but the care of the patient is still priority.

dudette10, MSN, RN

1 Article; 3,530 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Academics. Has 12 years experience.

I don't care, as long as I don't get an eye roll, a deep sigh, or some other indicator of attitude when I ask for help.


861 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg. Has 4 years experience.

I don't see why anyone cares. As long as the patients are being taken care of, who does it hurt if people do homework during their down time? I'm not sure why the nurses in the OP have the ability to dictate what the CNAs do and don't do when they aren't busy. Isn't that up to the manager?

CT Pixie, BSN, RN

3,723 Posts

Has 10 years experience.

I have no issues with the CNA's doing homework during our "down" time. As others have said as long as the patients are being taken care of, call bells are answered promptly and the need/request of the person using the call bell is taken care of, I'm ok with them doing homework.

I work 3-11p so our down time doesn't happen until after last rounds. So none of the CNA's really expect to do a lot of homework but they do bring in their notes, books etc to read and study from.

Our ADON is on the floor until around 8p-9p and sees it and neither her nor the DON have any issues with staff doing homework or reading during the down time. Actually I've found the ADON sitting with one of the CNA's trying to explain something the CNA didn't understand.

I'd rather see someone reading or doing something that furthers their knowledge base in respect to medicine/the body etc, than to be sitting there reading a rag like the Inquirer or some gossip magazine.


18 Posts

I've worked eve/night double shifts and night shift before, and either I was just slow or really meticulous when doing my rounds, but I did not have a lot of down time. Some nights, just after completing the 1st set of rounds, it would be time to start the next set. Plus, some of the stuff I did not get done at the beginning of the shift such as washing wheelchairs, passing ice, etc., I would be catching up later in the shift. Now as for the CNA who is hiding out to do homework, and has been spoken to on this issue, a write-up should be done the next time. Some aides, you give them an inch, they will take a mile.


157 Posts

If they can do their work and a little homework on the side, I see no issue with that... I worked overnights as a CNA through nursing school for the exact reason. However, I did work with some people in similar positions that would do their homework OVER their work, and I had definite issues with that. They have to be able to manage their responsibilities and know when they need to be working.


129 Posts

Has 13 years experience.

When I worked 3rd shift at the hospital it was no problem. We had PLENTY of down time. At the time I was working as a phlebotomist and begged for extra training to do something to keep me busy but they felt that a phlebotomist couldn't do anything but draw blood. :lol2: As long as I was not sleep (which I was many nights) they had no problem with it. I posted myself up against the phone, drop off window and order entry system so if anything was needed I was right there to get it done.

Now in the reference lab enviroment that is not possible. There is always something to do. I do utilize the printers though.....:D.

I curious to know....are you 100% that there is NOTHING for them to do? Is every last resident sleep? Nobody needs changing? All resident rooms are sparkly clean? All shelves fully stocked? I would be concerned about labor hours.


259 Posts

Has 4 years experience.

IMHO, there is never NOT enough work to keep our aides/techs busy. I work ICU so a nurse somewhere can always use an extra hand with bed baths, BM clean up, trash emptying, etc. We have open visiting hours and our unit is locked, so they could be answering phones and unlocking doors. We are always low on supplies so they SHOULD be stocking and running to central supply for things when they are needed. We always have patients who are trying to get out of bed r/t confusion or ETOH and our hospital does not "staff" sitters, so our aides could be helping keep a better eye on those patients. In short, I am one of those nurses who hates seeing anyone (aides or nurses) doing homework or playing on a cell phone when I know (and so do they) that there really is enough work to keep us all busy. We are not paid to be doing our own work, we are paid for patient care; and a large part of adequate patient care revolves around things I mentioned above.


18 Posts

Awesome post, Nursetastic!!! You would be cool to work with:)