Should I, can I do this?

Students CNA/MA


Hello everyone. I'm Fran. I'm a 39 year old divorced woman with no job skills. I was a homemaker for 20 years. Now I'm working 25 hours a week at a fast food job. I am living with my 19 year old daughter and her husband.

I want to be able to support myself. I will never be able to do that in fast food. I spent the last three years in college doing my nursing prereqs. I was accepted into nursing school, but I did not go due to my life crisis.

The nurses aides working in nursing homes in my town start out making 9.00 an hour. They work at least forty hours a week and can get overtime. A girl I know is making 500 dollars a week.

I am tired of wearing a hat and an apron. I am tired of working with teenagers. I am contributing nothing to the world at this job.

I want to be able to get my own apartment and get my little girl. I could do this if I become a nurses aid.

Now the downside. I weight 300 pounds. I don't know if I will be strong enough or fast enough. I don't know if I can stomach the dirty work. I don't want to pay 900 dollars for the course and then find out I am not capable of doing the job. How do I find out if this is for me?

fuzzywuzzy, CNA

1,816 Posts

Specializes in LTC.

As you said, your fast food job sucks. An aide job will most likely be better, and even if it isn't, it can't be any worse- you'll at least be making more money. Might as well go for it. All you have to lose is $900, which I sure as h*ll wouldn't want to spend for nothing, so I'd look into financial assistance for the class. Contact the dept of labor or ask the school about scholarships.

You can probably stomach a lot more of the dirty work than you think. We all can. And you don't have to worry about not being strong enough- most CNAs, including myself, are small young women. We do get more muscle tone by working, but it's not the same as "working out." Personally if I'm doing anything that requires muscle I throw my whole body into it, not just my arms.

The only thing I'd be concerned about is your weight. What is your activity level now? Working as an aide, you spend 8 hours walking around, usually at a pretty good clip. You probably don't move around that much- I know I didn't. Nobody has time to run around 8 hours a day unless it's at a job. So you'd probably lose a few pounds doing that, but will you have trouble walking all day? Bending/crouching down a lot? Scurrying from room to room? Pulling people up in bed and rolling them over? Stepping over tons of crap in tiny rooms jammed with equipment? If you think you can handle 2 or 3 weeks of that you'll probably get used to it and be fine after that. It's that initial adjustment that you have to worry about.


80 Posts

Specializes in assisted living & memory care.

i am on the hevier side and i do just fine. my feet hurt sometimes, but that is normal when you have lifted some very heavy people through the day. when i started doing this work i didnt have any issues, not a single burn or sore muscle. when you stand on your feet for 8 hours a day like i did as a cashier, its a lot easier walking around for 8 hours.

you can use anything to your advantage. if you want something go for it!!! do not let anything hold you back. life is simply too short!

you will do fine with the smells, you will be surprised at how strong you are, and you will gain time managment.also i suggest getting a good pair of sturdy shoes, they really make a difference! new balance's are nice.

anyways good luck and i hope you follow your dreams. :) ~melissa


212 Posts

You can do it! I weighed 250 lbs when I started as a CNA and I now weigh 170 lbs. I thought that since I was getting a good work out during my shift I would start bringing in a healthy lunch each day and the lbs melted off. Just invest in a really good pair of shoes as mncna08 suggested. It will take a week or so to get used to standing and moving around quickly but after that it's routine and you will feel so much better since you're getting a good workout.:)

Financial assistance is a great option. Some facilities even offer the CNA program in exchange for about 6 months of work.

The dirty work is not that bad. You can handle it if you have kids. You will also find that the good you do far outweighs the not so pleasant aspects.

You're never to old to follow your dreams! I'm going into nursing school in the fall and I'm 41. Just put your mind to it and tell yourself you are doing it for a better life for you and your daughter. It's amazing how motivated you can be when your doing it for the one you love.

Good luck! You can do it!!!:anpom:


134 Posts

Look into ROP ( Regional occupation centers, you can find info through school districts.) or vocational education programs...They are the cheapest. Also consider this, some CNA's work living in a person's home. That means a free place to stay!!. You go girl, anythings better than fast food.


97 Posts

Specializes in acute.

GO FOR IT: GO FOR IT: GO FOR IT: You may think you are to heavy but I weigh 170 and I have seen ladies that are heavier than me. When they start they are a little out of breath but the week they lose a pound or to their faces just lite up! and nothing to to with the job. I am 50 this month and I only have micro left in my pre-reqs for nursing school. You are never to old if your soul is in Nursing. I remember one of my friends said a long time ago. Why, would you go into NURSING, I said I have known since I was a child, when the scent on band-aids and rubbing alchol and the smell in hospitals made me feel safe. Either you are destined to be in the health-care family or not. You will be surprised what self-esteem and the smile on your soul that you will feel if you follow that scent.

I am not at all putting down working in fast food at all. I know some people that are one step into homelessness without that kind of a job; but that goes without saying, you can do this. I know because I did it working as a waitress for a long time because I had to support my quadripaligic cp child and a younger daugter on my own. I made it out, so can you!:bow::bow::bow:


97 Posts

Specializes in acute.

Oh, yeh, I forgot, SHOES are everything! if you have bad shoes it really hurts. and I live in Maine and all the LTC facilities will PAY for your course as long as you promise to work for them for at least 6 months. I do not know what it is like in other states but that is the way up here in lobster country. Please keep us up to date with your journey. I am truly interested in your decision.



124 Posts

Specializes in CNA.

Thank you everyone for your advice. I am going to call Monday and find out when the next class starts. My mother was a nurse's aide for many years. I am reading her textbook now.

I started dieting and exercising this week. My little girl made a poster for me to keep up with my progress. She even drew "before" and "after" pictures. LOL. She texts me every day to see if I am doing my exercises.

She wants to live with me. I know she needs me. I will do this for her.

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