I don't think it is fair for techs to be treated in this manner either.
I worked in an ICU when I was in school for a short while... same senario. Run your butt off for 12 hours while the nurses scream at you to do more. I ran around three pods, like crazy, trying to do stuff that was technically outside a NA scope of practice because I was a "Student assistant". When I would ask for RN assistance (because I was tech, right?) I got crappy and snarky replies. I left after 4 months of that crap, and did not sign up for many shifts the last month or so because the whole enviroment there was just BAD. I felt liable and I was not going to work on THEIR licenses. An ICU that was supposed to have three techs, they would send the other two to other areas and leave me to run like a chicken with my head cut off to do all three areas... and the nurses would get ticked that I wouldn't be doing everything for them (right down to their blood glucoses... many of which came due all at the same time. If I am not there, there is a good reason... do it yourself!). Oh, and I had to play "unit clerk" too... it was total BS. Night shift had to do the vent patient baths, total care, and most of the nurses refused to assist with that as well, so you didn't get any assistance turning total care patients with many lines (which I think is a total liability), and often they would sit there and read magazines and play on the computer... and of course, they would have some excuse as to why they could not assist.
There were so many reasons as to why they sooo abused their techs. I think that being an ICU nurse is very difficult and is a highly skilled position... when they went to work, they went to WORK. But I swear, some of them were really mean to their techs and they really abused them as well, not putting a hand in when they could have. Maybe it was just the culture of the unit at the time. It was a long time ago, and i have heard things have changed.
Then as a new grad, I worked on pediatrics. Total opposite. The nurses doing absolutely everything for their patients, and not asking for enough help from the techs. This often lead to the nurses being overwhelmed and often late to clock out, etc. The techs were lazy, mouthy, and were entitled as well... not all of them, we had two that were WONDERFUL, but we had some that were just OBNOXIOUS. And of course, the worst one would TRAIN the new ones and she would say "I make the nurses do X X and X and if they ask me to do it I tell them to do it themselves" (can you see my jaw dropping?!). General stuff like that, and not wanting to go and get up off the internet. And getting upset if you're like... I just came out of XX room, he is vomiting, I need to get some medication for him, can you take him this emesis basin? Totally out of line. Different hospital too.
The whole role thing between the CNA and licensed staff is a hard and blurred line in some places when it comes to providing direct care. I try to take the whole "we are a team" and we work together approach. When I worked oncology and pallative care, generally, everyone got along together GREAT and we had no problems... we had clearly defined roles, knew what we were to do during a shift, but we all worked like we were equals and a team (if that makes sense). Where I see problems is where people try to shove responsibilities off on one another and try to take advantage of each other... and thats when the heartache starts!! No one should be overworked while another person sits on their booty and reads magazines all day... if you don't get a break, I don't get a break... if you don't get lunch, I don't get lunch. We work as a team!