Hi, I'm Stephanie, 23, just became a CNA. My mom has been a nurse (LPN then RN) for 12 years, and was a CNA before that. She has spent her entire career in Geriatrics, first LTC facility then home health.
When I decided to take a CNA course, it was mostly to get out of telemarketing and try out the field of nursing. I thought that I'd like it, but vowed not to spend a lot of time in Geriatrics, like my mom. I figured I'd put my year in, then go to a hospital. When I started the class, my instructor said she'd tried a lot of different specialities, but found her passion in Geriatrics. Inwardly, I thought she might be crazy. I can see stability in Geriatrics.. but passion? No way.
Then I started clinicals. My first love was a little blind lady. She had MRSA and was in isolation. So I dutifully put on my PPE and hung out with her while she ate, letting her know what food was what and where her fork was. She always wanted an extra cookie, and I always went out of my way, donned my extensive PPE, just to check on her every couple of hours. She was pretty lonely, being in isolation. My last clinical day she was no longer isolated, and looked so amazing. It was great to see her like that.
My second love was a lady who I never saw outside of the dining room. I was never working with the CNA who was assigned to her, but she really needed a lot of encouragement to eat, so each clinical day I took the time to sit with her for a few minutes and chat with her, encouraging her to take a bite every now and again. Each bite was a little victory.
Another lady, who I never really got the chance to work with or bond with, I still found amazing. Her whole room was covered with her art, and she had a canvas set up to paint. When I complimented her on my favorite, which was a trapeze artist, she told me that she used to be a trapeze artist in her younger years. She was pretty old, but still quite able-bodied. I guess all that exercise paid off!
Each day when I went home, I worried about the residents. When I finished clinicals, I was surprised to find myself sad about not being able to work there, since it was over an hour away.
After clinicals, I applied to 8 different facilites, including LTC and ALF, but no hospitals. I took the first job I got offered, at an ALF in an alzheimer's/dementia unit. Now I work with 24 elderly residents who will never remember my name. Each day is a first impression. My favorite will ask me every day where I'm from, why I moved to IL, if I'm married. Another will ask me hourly why she's there, how she got there, how old she is. Each time she'll be surprised. There is another gentleman that I shower every morning, and I can tell what kind of day he's going to have by how well he can tie his shoes. Some days it's heartbreaking. Every day, it's rewarding.
Would I still like to try different specialties when I become an RN? Sure. Am I just biding my time in Geriatrics until I have enough experience for a hospital, definitely not. I love my residents, and will be terribly sad to leave them. (So much that I've considered trying to work there when I become an RN, lol.)
Anyway, I guess I'm just trying, at length, to echo what azcna said. Don't write off geriatrics until you've tried it. You might be surprised.