Jump to content

Nursing vs. CNA physical stress

Posted

I work in an outpatient surgery center. There's usually 5 or more nurses and there's only one CNA. It's not as big or busy as a hospital but we have a lot of cases and the procedures are usually done very fast. I assist with preop and PACU. Once the patients start coming out of the OR, things usually get fast and stressful. I need to take patients out to their cars, remove dirty beds and keep the bays open for more patients, clean and put new linens, etc.

The surgeries are done in the morning. I only work about 4-6hours per shift but I feel like my body just got beaten up. The nurses do help out with certain work load when it's right in front of them, but majority of them, I do.

So, I rambled a lot. What do you think of the physical stress load for nurses vs CNA?

I'm working to go to nursing school someday, will the stress load get better? I mean nurses have bigger responsibility but I'm hoping that it's not a total body killer.

I've seen CNA's so fatigued in LTCF and PACU because there's always something happening.

I just want a sip of water and sit for a couple of minutes, but there's no time for that too.

My back is starting to hurt and it's already scaring me.

Nursing will obviously put less wear and tear on your body than being a CNA, simply because you have far less patients. More patients means more lifting, and in some environments the CNAs and techs do virtually all the lifting. That's how it was in LTC where I worked. The RNs would occasionally help but generally it was the CNAs that were lifting people in and out of WCs and on and off toilets all day. In a hospital the RNs do a little more lifting, but its still generally a fraction of what the tech does.

That's not to say being an RN is not physically punishing either, ICU nurses in particular often have to do a lot of lifting(though still a fraction of what the tech does).

Keep in mind in most environments 12 hour shifts are the rule though, so if 4-6 hours has you hurting be prepared for 12 hours.

I do not think that CNAs have it any harder then nurses. Nurses are on the feet for 12 hours a day as well running here and there. You might be doing a little more lifting extra, but nurses do have to do phsical things as well. So to answer your question will it get physically better being a nurse I'd have to say no I do not think it will. theyalso have more mental fatgue then CNAs

Some nurses I believe would love to be a CNA for a day again and get to forget all the stress they have being a nurse. Of course they would go back to doing it if they can get to keep their nurses wages as well :)

Nurses always seem to not be able to take breaks have a sip of water and be able to pee either if it is a mad house. It simply comes down to working in a health care enviroment that puts a lot ofphysical and mental stress on a body. Not that one job is better or worse then the next. They just different i the duties.

Being a CNA is much more physical toll on the body then being a nurse. Nurses endure other kinds of stress, at higher rates than CNA. I have been both. Being a CNA can be backbreaking work. I had shifts where I cared for 14 pt without sitting down the entire 13 hours. As a nurse at least I get to sit down once in a while to chart or make phone calls. However, I'm much more stressed out as a nurse. Just my .02.

The physical strain for a CNA is generally greater than an RN. However, a 12 hour nursing shift is probably as physically demanding, if not more so, than a 6 hour CNA shift. Also, the RN does nearly all the patient care without a CNA in some departments such as ICU.

If you're having physical trouble as a CNA on 6 hour shifts, life will not improve when you're working 12 hours as an RN.

You need to implement some lifestyle changes before your back is permanently injured. I do yoga before work in order to stretch everything out, and do simple stretches whenever I can during the shift. Keeping those hammies loose will help a ton. Also, do some core work outs on your days off. I treat the yoga and core work as part of my job. I don't even say I'm going to work out, but that I'm simply going to work.

Your back is like any other tool, except you can't replace it like you can replace your clogs or stethoscope.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

What do you think of the physical stress load for nurses vs CNA? I'm working to go to nursing school someday, will the stress load get better?
Nurses are paid for the things we know, not the things we do. Therefore, nursing is not as physically taxing on the body as CNA work.

However, some areas of nursing are more physical than others. For instance, critical care units tend to involve total care, which involves the nurse doing everything from turning, repositioning, toileting, bed linen changes, transfers and so forth. Orthopedic units tend to be burdened with heavy patients as well.

duskyjewel

Specializes in hospice.

My organization is cutting back on CNA usage, meaning the nurses do our job in addition to theirs. I've seen several posts here saying other orgs are doing the same. That distinction might not exist meaningfully for too much longer, Commuter.

I feel kinda bad for nurses who've had things added to their job descriptions based on the idea that they have CNAs, and are now losing or experiencing reduced availability of those CNAs, yet still have all those duties to attend to.

Edited by duskyjewel

SeattleJess

Specializes in None yet..

Being a CNA is much more physical toll on the body then being a nurse. Nurses endure other kinds of stress, at higher rates than CNA. I have been both. Being a CNA can be backbreaking work. I had shifts where I cared for 14 pt without sitting down the entire 13 hours. As a nurse at least I get to sit down once in a while to chart or make phone calls. However, I'm much more stressed out as a nurse. Just my .02.

You .02 is worth a million! Thanks.

Paws2people

Has 13 years experience.

The grass is always greener on the other side.

mf1211

Has 1 years experience.

I currently work as a CNA on an inpatient physical rehabilitation unit. I typically have 7-8 patients per 12 hour shift, while the RN's have 5 at most. I totally understand why I have more, but I do have to say that being a CNA is much more physical work than being an RN. While we are both on our feet for the majority of the day, the responsibilities of a CNA require more physical activity, simple as that. I do have the awesome RN's that will help me out and transfer a pt to the commode if I am in a pinch, but that is not what they were hired to do. Both CNA's and RN's have to chart hourly rounds, but the RN's mental stress is likely much higher. As long as both parties make it obvious that they appreciate each other and make an effort to help one another out when possible, I'm okay with having the physically harder part (for now!)

Straight No Chaser, ASN, LPN

Specializes in Sub-Acute. Has 5 years experience.

Here's the thing.....

You don't need to have a nursing degree to lift, give bed baths, transfer, or toilet patients, so a CNA is always going to have a much more physical job than a nurse. Nurses also have to do all the above things, but in addition to other responsibilities that aren't physically demanding.

BOTH jobs are physically demanding in certain settings, but being a CNA is more-so than being a nurse, for sure.

Just as a side note....please don't let anyone tell you that the duties of a CNA are not also the duties of a nurse, because they absolutely are. When there is no CNA, the nurse must do it all.