Jump to content

Nurse Assistants are vital to our health

Specializes in Critical Care.

I just wanted to share this story to everyone, and maybe get some sort of feedback as to your own experiences.

I used to work in a community hospital in Southern CA in a telemetry floor. Back then, we were used to have 5 patients to take care of, plus an occasional 1-2 more to cover LVNs. I worked day shifts, so it can get pretty busy especially with the fast turnover of patients. One thing I really appreciated working there was the fact that we were well staffed with adequate CNAs, getting about 4 of them with a total unit census of 30 patients. That was tremendous help for us RNs and LVNs because we can concentrate on other tasks that licensed healthcare givers are counted on to do; such as educating patients, passing meds, comprehensive documentation, double checking charts, and updating plans of care, among others. Our valuable nurse aides would take care of the patient's other essential needs that is well within their scope of practice like hygiene, nutrition, vital signs and other basic needs, even answering call lights. In the 2 years I worked there, patients were kept happy and safe, staff had good camaraderie, and no patient had a fall incident as far as I would recall.:yeah:

I recently moved to the Bay Area and have since been working in what was said to be a reputable hospital. At their telemetry unit, we get 4 patients to each RN, but we are staffed with one CNA for 27 patients... whew. If we get more than 27 patients, we get 2 nurse assistants. At nights, we often get one CNA only and if one patient requires a sitter, that CNA is assigned to that task and we are left to do primary care with all our patients. I feel that this is unsafe both for the licensed staff and the patients as well. In 6 months that I have been working there, we have had 4 falls already and a lot of complaints from the staff, but no change has occured. I feel like I got tired more easily the last 6 months compared to the 2 years where I previously worked.:banghead:

I have observed that RNs get burned out easily with this going on, affecting their patient care and performance. I have tried to look up policies or laws as to proper nurse assistant staffing here in California but unable to find any. We RNs were happy about our patient ratio laws, but if we get shortchanged with improper nurse aid staffing then patient care still gets compromised. Maybe the employers do this for logistical reasons, but then again patient safety is what its all about, isn't it?:nurse:

pagandeva2000, LPN

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

I always supported team nursing because there is enough at the table for all to partake and get fulfillment and to get paid for their talents and training. I work med-surg per diem often and I have seen floors share one PCA on both units. I worked step down last weekend and we had to share a PCA with the ICU. The girl was exhausted, and we had to halt medication administration many times to do assist her bedside care. I have no issues with cleaning poo at all. I just hated that sometimes, we had to leave the CNA to do some of what we could have helped her do. Codes would go off while we are cleaning patients and at times all hands were needed, because there would be only 2 RNs and me (on step down). Having the PCAs/CNAs available to take care of essential needs is a blessing.

Sounds familiar to our staffing, and I am exhausted all of the time. My arms and back kill me at the end of my shifts. It is not uncommon to get all total cares either. I feel like my charting and chart checks are lacking, because there is only so much time to do everything and patient care should always come first. It is so sad to walk in on a patient slumped over with food all over their gown and linens when dinner was two hours ago, and you can be sure their bottom needs to be cleaned as well. Families tend to think it is the fault of nursing, but we can only be so many places at one time.

What do you do if you have one patient going bad, the second patient climbing out of bed with the bed alarm going off, the third patient's family hopping mad because grandma is sitting in poo and they've been calling for 30 minutes trying to get her cleaned up, and your fourth patient is a total care needing attention as well? That is not an uncommon night on my floor and there is NO HELP. Some nights I could just burst into tears!

I would be more than happy to take on a couple of extra patients if I could have CNA help from an appropriately trained CNA with a kind and sweet personality....mwhahahahahah!!! I know I am dreaming.

I am a CNA and I aprreciate this thread..Too many times we do not get the recognition that we deserve and there are always nurses out there who insists on abusing thier CNA'S. I rarely hear the "thank you's "and "good job" Those who do say it I am more willing to help, those who are rude and unappreciative don't get much help from me. You can attract more bees with honey than you do vinegar. It's nurse like you who I enjoy working with. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and your praise. that makes me feel good about my profession.

Thank You

and the staffing does suck..When I worked in the hosp I worked ICU..a 36 bed SICU, MICU and CCU

combined. 2 CNA's 36 patients and 12 nurses..15 on a good night.

Sometimes it would be just the one.

On the floors there would usually be one..2 if you we were lucky.

I haven't worked in the hosp in 5 yrs. I can only imagine it's gotten worse.

I now work in a clinic

I used the be a PCT and I got burned out reallll fast. Like ginza said I hardly ever got a thank you and the nurses expected you to do all of the basic care for their patient forgetting that there were 20+ other patients and other nurses expecting the same thing. There was only one PCT on nights. Well lets just say the turnover of PCT's on that floor was bad real bad. And the bad thing is most of us were in nursing school and no one worked on that floor when they graduated because of the PCT abuse. When I finish school I will not forget how it is to be a PCT/CNA because they can really make a difference in how your shift turns out.

CNA_Timmy

Specializes in Mental Health, Surgical-Ortho.

Being the aide is the dirtiest, least paying, least appreciated job in nursing. We make the beds, wash the pts, clean the poo, wipe the rear ends, lift, position, reposition, transport, pass the trays, calculate the I&Os, round hourly (but usually more than that), answer the call lights, manage who gets vitals when (q8, q6, q4, q1), give the ennemas, empty the trash, massage the patients, comfort the patients, do the CBGs, EKGs, all the while having the nursing manager breathe down our necks about response time, and the administration pushing BS customer service skills down our throats. Let's not forget when this is all going on, the nurse (granted not all of them but a few) search you out and say "I just gave 319 her meds, and she needs to be moved to the head of the bed". Oooh no problem lets go do that right now I say... just to be followed with... "oh did you need my help with that?" why yes 319 is 423lbs i reply... nurse says "well I will have to help you in a while I am passing meds"... okay I say... three hours pass and I just get another aide to help me move 319 to the HOB. No mention of it again from the nurse. But seriously I love my job, and wouldn't trade it for anything... if I could make RN pay doing CNA work I would choose that any day over dealing with the charting, meds, and dealing with the MDs...

Virgo_RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, ED.

I used to be a CNA, so I know how back breaking the work is. But I do have to say that I work equally hard as an RN. I do my own vitals, help my patients to the bathroom, help them into the shower, with baths, with oral care, get them ice water, warm blankets, extra pillows, you name it, all in addition to my RN tasks. I ask very little of the CNAs, but it is frustrating when I do ask for something and they go on and on about how busy they are and why they can't do one simple little thing. We have one CNA that is notorious for expecting the RNs to help pass meal trays. While I don't mind helping if I have the time, if I have four diabetics, I don't have time. When the CNA can help me give my insulins, I'll be happy to help her pass meal trays.

In regards to the above post, it is appropriate to get another CNA to help you when the nurse is too busy. When I was an aide, we would tell each other which patients we needed help turning and getting out of bed, and we'd help each other out. The nurses really appreciated being freed up to do their assessments, pass their medications, do their chart checks, admissions, discharges, etc., without having to stop to do other things that the CNAs were perfectly capable of doing.

There are some CNAs that have the attitude that "it's their patient too", so the nurse should always help with turning, cleaning, getting OOB, and they refuse to go find another CNA to help. This is really irksome, as yes, it is my patient too and I'm happy to do these things when I have time, but there are many instances where just getting another CNA to help would REALLY save my bacon.

I do agree that they're vital. I wish we had more of them, then I wouldn't spend so much of my time doing things that I could delegate, and getting behind on all of my patient care in the process.

We RNs were happy about our patient ratio laws, but if we get shortchanged with improper nurse aid staffing then patient care still gets compromised. Maybe the employers do this for logistical reasons, but then again patient safety is what its all about, isn't it?:nurse:

:chuckle Patient safety is what healthcare is about??!!! That's the funniest thing I've heard all morning. Healthcare is a business to make money.

That explains why so many facilities are for-profit, including insurance companies - the care is only given because shareholders are expecting profits. If they could give their shareholders dividends without taking care of patients, they would do something else.

:chuckle Patient safety is what healthcare is about??!!! That's the funniest thing I've heard all morning. Healthcare is a business to make money.

That explains why so many facilities are for-profit, including insurance companies - the care is only given because shareholders are expecting profits. If they could give their shareholders dividends without taking care of patients, they would do something else.

so sad but it is the truth...even some of the non-profit hosp are only in it for the buck..how else is the CEO of the Hosp gonna afford that private jet of his??? Makes me sick.

it is so nice to read a thread where nurse assistants are "vital".

I wish that some of the RN's realized this. I think every RN should work at least a month as a nurse assistant before they become RN's just so they know what its like. I'm in nursing school and working as a nursing assistant has proved very educational.

On a floor I float to I will have up to 29 patients (30 requires a 2nd nursing assistant) and I will do all vitals every 4 hours, all I and O's, all call lights, wiping rears, blood glucose accuchecks, all turning, bathroom breaks, and I chart it all too. We also do hourly rounding and have to go into the room and write on a bedside chart what the pt is doing (annoying). I will work 12 hours straight and never get a break. It is backbreaking work.

If I do take a break I will come back to 5 call lights on hold. The nurses will be sitting there clipping coupons or balancing their checkbooks. I am not joking. Not saying all nurses are like this. But to appreciate your techs and assistants it would be great to help them out when you are not busy. Especially if they have a huge pt load and you have 4 pts.

i think the samething...CNA should be a rquirement before you get into nursing school

i think the samething...CNA should be a rquirement before you get into nursing school

amen I totally agree!

Virgo_RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, ED.

It was, in my NS, and I'm glad for the experience. The only downside to that is that the aides that I used to work side by side with as an aide seem to think that because I used to be a CNA, I don't need their help! I pretty much do total care because the aides are never to be found when I need them, and when I ask for help, they are quick to tell me how busy they are and why they can't do what I'm asking, assuming that I'll "understand", because I used to be an aide.

Of course, a big part of the problem is that we don't have enough aides. I think the current system of making assignments, which is dividing the unit census up evenly between aides, should be replaced with a different system. I favor assigning one aide to two to three nurses.

I can do my job without an aide, as I often do, since they don't seem to think I need their help, but I'd rather not. They are truly vital.

tachybradyRN

Specializes in ICU, Emergency Department.

At the very least, I think all nursing students should have some experience in the PCA/CNA role before graduating. I spent my summer doing an externship which was basically working as a CNA with a few other benefits, and I learned just how difficult a CNA's job can be first-hand. I also learned a lot about communicating with everyone: CNAs, RNs and MDs, and getting my job done early meant asking if the other CNAs needed help, not sitting on my rear end. I'm grateful I had that experience, I think it will make a big difference for me as an RN because it taught me to respect and be grateful for EVERYONE, especially the CNAs.

mama_d, BSN, RN

Specializes in tele, oncology.

I truly believe that you can usually tell who was a tech before they were a nurse just by their attitude. I've been saying for years that your tech can make or break your shift. I'm blessed that we have some phenomonal techs on our floor; it's meant that I can fairly consistently get home on time in the morning to get my kids off to school.

I truly believe that you can usually tell who was a tech before they were a nurse just by their attitude. I've been saying for years that your tech can make or break your shift. I'm blessed that we have some phenomonal techs on our floor; it's meant that I can fairly consistently get home on time in the morning to get my kids off to school.

ain't that the truth. I know as a CNA when I worked in the hosp. If I had a RN witrh RNitis who for some unknown reason thought she was better than the CNA and sat on her butt or hunt me down (while I was in a patients room giving a total bed bath by myslef) to get a freaking pillow for her patient. I was less willing to help her...She suffered really bad from CNA seperation anxiety !!

Virgo_RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, ED.

ain't that the truth. I know as a CNA when I worked in the hosp. If I had a RN witrh RNitis who for some unknown reason thought she was better than the CNA and sat on her butt or hunt me down (while I was in a patients room giving a total bed bath by myslef) to get a freaking pillow for her patient. I was less willing to help her...She suffered really bad from CNA seperation anxiety !!

I used to think that way when I was a CNA, and I still see CNAs doing as you describe. Now, as an RN, I can understand why some RNs hunt down CNAs for seemingly small tasks, and I have a lot more empathy for those RNs that I had not totally respected as an aide. Now, I can understand why some RNs do that sometimes, and I wish the aides would just cut us a little slack. If you are busy when an RN approaches you with a task, instead of copping an attitude, just tell her/him that you are busy at the moment, but will do said task when you are finished, and then follow through. Cooperation and respect is a two way street, and I see far too many aides behaving as if it is one way; myself included when I was an aide. I'm actually quite embarrassed when I think back.....

I used to think that way when I was a CNA, and I still see CNAs doing as you describe. Now, as an RN, I can understand why some RNs hunt down CNAs for seemingly small tasks, and I have a lot more empathy for those RNs that I had not totally respected as an aide. Now, I can understand why some RNs do that sometimes, and I wish the aides would just cut us a little slack. If you are busy when an RN approaches you with a task, instead of copping an attitude, just tell her/him that you are busy at the moment, but will do said task when you are finished, and then follow through. Cooperation and respect is a two way street, and I see far too many aides behaving as if it is one way; myself included when I was an aide. I'm actually quite embarrassed when I think back.....

i normally do..but this one particular nurse thought I should be stuck op her butt the whole shift. I worked ICU with 15 other nurses and 36 patients and i was the only CNA and i had a list of my own duties that included 10-12 complete total bed baths on vent patients.

It was not an easy task to get done when I was hunting down 5 pillows while said nurse spent 1o minutes trying to find me.

pagandeva2000, LPN

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

I used to think that way when I was a CNA, and I still see CNAs doing as you describe. Now, as an RN, I can understand why some RNs hunt down CNAs for seemingly small tasks, and I have a lot more empathy for those RNs that I had not totally respected as an aide. Now, I can understand why some RNs do that sometimes, and I wish the aides would just cut us a little slack. If you are busy when an RN approaches you with a task, instead of copping an attitude, just tell her/him that you are busy at the moment, but will do said task when you are finished, and then follow through. Cooperation and respect is a two way street, and I see far too many aides behaving as if it is one way; myself included when I was an aide. I'm actually quite embarrassed when I think back.....

I also get embarassed when I think back at some of the thoughts and comments I made to nurses when I was younger. Not doing vitals on time, forgetting to report an abnormal IMMEDIATELY, thinking that they are sitting on their butts while I'm running around doing all of the work...I remember WELL and now, I cringe when I remember some of the spots I probably placed people in...and how they perceived me as a person and collague...

mcknis

Specializes in Med Surg, ER, OR.

Nursing assisstants are an important role in the nursing profession no matter what anyone's opinion may be. I was also an aide during and before nursing school and it definitely helped. I can see others who have been aides prior to going deeper into the nurisng profession simply by their actions and care they put into their work. I truly appreciate the aides who i work with no matter their skill level because they all bring somehting a little different to the table. Some are allowed do certain skills while others are awesome with basic care and can make the best of the worst situation. Believe me, you are definitely appreciated and we are glad to have aides working with us as nurses. keep up the great work and never give up. Remember each of those pts enjoy having you around because that means someone will not let them be alone...

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×

By using the site you agree to our Privacy, Cookies, and Terms of Service Policies.

OK