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Respect of co-workers

After graduation, I have an RN position lined up in ICU. In the meantime, I am working as a CNA there to become familiar w/ the routine etc... I am concerned that when my title shifts from CNA to RN I won't have the respect of some of the staff, particularly the CNA's that are training me now! Do you have suggestions on how to avoid problems of transitioning?!

live4today, RN

Specializes in Community Health Nurse.

Hello Big Red Arch

Welcome aboard! :) My suggestion is to just be yourself, and give the best of yourself you can possibly give professionally and personally. A title doesn't make a person...a person's attitude about himself/herself...about life...and their approach to life is what makes a person either succeed at who and what they are, or be defeated in the process of their trying to be who and what they are.

Social skills go along way! Successfully passing exams gets us the grade...applying what we learn along with a winning uplifted spirit and attitude will help us climb mountains! I wish you the best! :nurse:

jnette, ASN, EMT-I

Has 10 years experience. Specializes in Hemodialysis, Home Health.

I can understand your concerns... Am currently dealing with the transition myself... from Tech to RN. I believe what Cheerfuldoer said above is exactly right. Be yourself, be who you always were.

Things will take some time, there's always a little "professional envy" to deal with in the beginning. But go about your business and be all that you can be, don't make others' problems your problems. In time, they'll adjust, too.

I found it helps also to ask questions of your peers.. they've been in their positions longer, and it shows you're genuinely interested in their input and advice. Treat the CNAs with every bit as much respect and friendship as before. TEAMWORK always wins.

Wish you the best ! :)


Can you give me some information concerning what it has been like being a CNA in the ICU. I live in Utah and plan on entering the U of U's BSN program in the Fall of '04. I am taking the pre-reqs this Fall. In the meantime I am taking a CNA course this summer and then hope to find a job in an ICU while attending school. The reason I am so interested in the ICU, is I would like to go on and get my CRNA...so ICU experience is a pre-req.

What is your daily routine like? What are you responsible for? etc...

Any information would be much appreciated.

On answering your question:

I had a similar experience in a different field. I was just 'one of the guys'. Until one day I got promoted to being a supervisor. These are the problems I ran into.

1) Seperating yourself from your old job while still keeping a good working relationship with those you work with. I now had more responsiblitly and was a supervisor yet everyone wanted me to still work in the same capacity as before. You need to use good people skills and still respect everyone you work with, but at the same time let them know that you have new responsibilities, expectations, etc...

2) Class envy. You will always have those few who will want to stab you in the back for what you have accomplished. Keep a close eye on these types, yet treat them with the same respect you always have.

3) You are now one of 'them'. Your old coworkers may not tell you all the same things that they used to tell you (eg. calling in sick, slacking off, mistakes, etc.)

Now all these occured in another field of work, not Nursing. So things may be different for your situation.

ShortFuse_LPN, LPN

Has 20 years experience.

I want to say in advance.....I do not mean to offend anyone...this is only my opinion!

To me, respect is earned. Not granted simply by a title someone holds. Treat the CNAs as equals and respect them. They, in turn, will respect you. :)

ceecel.dee, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, ER, L&D, ICU, OR, Educator.

I think that you will find the transition period a bit uncomfortable at times. Just know that some will show a little attitude, and you will be prepared to deal with it as the professional you are studying to become. Do not cry...do not bite back...show genuine appreciation for any and all help...smile and be willing and eager to embrace your new role...show respect to everyone on the team.

Your transition is only a brief period in the time you will be a RN. Learn from it.

You'll do great! Being a CNA first is quite a big help! :kiss

I remember being in a similar situation not too long ago, and I learned alot from the CNA's in terms of what not to do after I become an RN. Training to be a CNA you're going to pick up from them what kinds of things RN's do that tick them off. Listen to what these CNA's are saying, and when you become an RN try not to do those things that tick them off and you'll make a smoother transition.

I agree with respect being earned. It has nothing to do with title (well a little bit), but the most respected individuals I know aren't necessarily the highest on the hierachy.

Think about what deems respect and be sure to incoporate that into your practice, and I am sure you will be just fine.


What I tend to see more often than not, is a new nurse who has been a CNA separates themselves. I commonly hear the term--"the aides" said disdainfully by a couple of our new nurses who were nurse aides themselves less than a year ago.

I went through this transition as well, and it took a little time before I was really comfortable with it. It is a change for everyone you work with.

Like everyone else has said. Treat others with respect, do a good job, and others will respect you.

Good Luck.

jschut, BSN, RN

Has 20 years experience.

I really had no trouble with most of the CNA's, except one, in particular, who still doesn't think she has to help with anything the nurse says. NOT JUST ME... any NURSE!

But I did get fed up with her and her shenanigans, and went and talked to my boss, who helped smooth things over for awhile.

The other nurses have been a pretty good help with the transition, telling me how to handle this certain aide....

Good luck to you, and don't put on airs....show them you are willing to help, and listen to their concerns. You'll be fine.

I think what you're doing is excellent, you'll appreciate the true value of you assistants when you become a RN, having been one! plus, the staff will know you, and this may even help you identify a few future RN preceptors who you'll mesh with. IF so, request them... seems to have some win-win's in it!

Chaya, ASN, RN

Has 15 years experience. Specializes in Rehab, Med Surg, Home Care.

Been there, done that. Do allow some transition time. One thing that I think helped me is being able to understand what is required of the CNA's from their perspective. A really aware and observant CNA can alert you to so many problems before they become big problems; I try to let the aides I work with know how much I depend on their critical thinking, powers of observation and familiarity with the patients. I think I would rather work short a nurse than short an aide!


Has 20 years experience. Specializes in Pediatric Rehabilitation.

Welcome to the board, Big!! I started out in Central Supply, moved to Purchasing and then to Unit Secretary while finishing nursing school. Accepted a position on the same floor where I was a secretary. Take my word, you'll have respect. Everytime they need something that falls into the scope of your old job, they'll call on you..lol. Respect comes by how you do your job and how you handle yourself, not by what position you've held in the past. Just don't forget where you came from and you'll be just fine!

Good luck!

I do not have this problem as I am not an aide, but just realized that this COULD be a problem. I have a friend who is doing his focused practicums in an ICU where he is also a CNA. He is finding that the staff is still treating his as a CNA instead of as someone they should be mentoring. I have not talked to him since he has complained about this and hopefully the situation has resolved itself. Good luck to you.


Has 20 years experience.

Respect is earned. You have to earn your wings as an RN the same way you did as a CNA. It is not automatic or a given.

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