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Stressed, brand new CNA. Am I going to make it? :(

CNA/MA   (9,565 Views 23 Comments)
by Comfortably_Numb Comfortably_Numb (New Member) New Member

1,670 Visitors; 42 Posts

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I'm a new CNA fresh out of school (became certified March 20th) and I started my first CNA job at the beginning of April. This was my second full week and my first week off orientation. I wonder if I am going to survive this job.

I work in a LTC facility in my town and I'm a float. I work morning shift (6am-2pm). I feel like I'm never going to catch on to this job. I'm still slow and not as efficient as the experienced aides, but I don't realize at the time what I am doing wrong and what's slowing me down.

For the past few days I've ended up crying at work because of the stress. I spent a good 4 or 5 days in a row on one floor while I was on orientation, but I'm a float now. I feel stupid and incompetent and I feel like I am slowing others down. I have no problem whatsoever assisting or helping someone do something, but I am just slow, inefficient, and sometimes clumsy. For example, there are some residents that have bolsters in their beds. I have a very difficult time turning them to change their briefs because if the bolsters are there, there isn't much room for me to turn them. I've tried pushing them up but that doesn't always work - some of the residents are very heavy, some are very fragile, and I'm a small woman and I am not very strong. I'm also afraid of hurting some of the residents if I turn them.

I want to be an asset to whatever floor I work on.. I'm a cooperative person and I don't mind working hard, but I just finished my second full week and I'm still not "getting it" as fast as I hoped I would. I've told some of my co-workers how I felt and they said I need to give it time, and they were in my shoes at one point. One girl gave me a hug today when I broke down crying in the bathroom. I feel fortunate to have co-workers that reassure me and all, but at the same time I can't help but wonder if deep down they want to smack me for being so dumb.

One of the biggest reasons I became a CNA was to help me decide if I should finish off my nursing degree (half of a BSN completed) or just go into another field of medicine like medical imaging (ultrasound, x-ray). If I am this stressed out as an aide there is no way in hell I will be able to make it as a nurse with 10x the responsibilities and workload. So it looks like ultrasound for me, but I wonder if I'm going to survive this job in the meantime. :(

How long has it taken some of you to be fast and comfortable with your job? I feel like that is an unachievable goal for me. Sometimes I just want to quit, but I'm 22 years old and I need to be doing something with my life.

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6,765 Visitors; 411 Posts

People learn to do things at their own pace. When I first started I thought I wasn't going to get it and I did make mistakes, but I never let it get to me because, obviously, I was new and it was going to take a while to get a handle on things. And that was okay! As time went by, I learned a little bit more each day and now I'm very confident. You need to stop being so hard on yourself and stop comparing yourself to others. Do the best you can do and promise to do better the next time.

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fuzzywuzzy has 3 years experience as a CNA and specializes in LTC.

16,934 Visitors; 1,816 Posts

Don't quit. Pour out all your feelings on paper and put it away for a month. Then read it again. If things are still that bad, quit. But chances are, you'll be doing better. Like the PP said, people learn at their own pace. Some can jump right in and do a great job right away. I did not have that experience! It took me at least a month of feeling like an idiot after orientation, then things slowly started falling into place and I felt more comfortable around my coworkers too (I can identify with the suspicion that they all hate you- I felt the same way. I still feel that way sometimes). But now I love my job. As far as the slowness goes, just speed up! It's that simple. Remind yourself periodically to MOVE FASTER. It worked for me. I kept catching myself dawdling... putting lotion on slowly or something. Moving faster, walking faster, and having all your supplies ready really does help. And watch the clock. If you enter the room of a resident and leave 15 minutes later that means you can get 8 residents done in 2 hours and that's a reasonable amount of time.

The bed bolsters where I work come off. Maybe yours are part of the mattress? Either way, it helps to pull the person toward you on the pad and cross their legs before you turn them. And if you put one hand on their thigh and one hand on their back instead of just pulling on one of their buttocks it shouldn't hurt them.

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1 Article; 8,453 Visitors; 160 Posts

Its only been two weeks. Give it some time. No one starts out on anything perfectly for the first time. And its very challenging to have to take care of different people with different circumstances. In six months you will probably be laughing at how hard you were on yourself. You cannot quit when things get tough. If you cant handle the difficulties of this, how can you be able to go through nursing school? The thing is, you CAN handle it. Just take it one baby step at a time. If its a few months or a year from now and you realize that its too much, then maybe reconsider your career desicion. But its too early now to tell. Your so lucky to have wonderful co workers. Some first time CNA's not only had to deal with the difficulties of handling the job, but also the other CNA's who talked down to them or made fun of them. Hang in there. Do not quit!! You can do it. As long as you see yourself getting a little better every shift, then you will be ok. And soon you will be an awesome CNA on her way to becoming a nurse. But quitting is NOT an option. Good luck.

If God brought you to it, God will bring you through it.

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1,670 Visitors; 42 Posts

Thank you all for the responses, they helped a lot.

I am going to give this place a try for a few more months at least.. if I am still miserable I can always try a different setting like Home Health or a hospital. That is the beauty of this field - you can work in different areas and settings and I keep forgetting about that.

I also think I'm getting ahead of myself and dismissing nursing as a career option just because I'm stressed out in LTC. I've been reading this thread and it's really helping me gain some perspective.. (If I hate being a CNA, will I hate nursing? https://allnurses.com/general-nursing-student/if-i-hate-264588-page3.html)

I just feel like if I dread my job as a CNA I will surely hate being an RN where I have so much more responsibility. I have to keep remembering that I don't have to work in LTC as a nurse. I can work in a hospital. I can work on an ICU unit where I only have a few patients. For the past year or so I've been pondering this career choice on and off... sometimes I think I should do it because it's always caught my interest, sometimes I think it's too stressful and that I'm not smart enough to handle it and that it will lead to a miserable existence for me. I don't know what to think.. maybe I should try shadowing an RN or work in more settings as a CNA before I make up my mind.

Whatever I end up doing as a career it will definitely be in healthcare.. it's the only thing in life that has ever caught my eye. I just don't know if I am cut out to be a nurse.

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ImMrBill3, RN has 2 years experience and specializes in ICU, Home Health Care, End of Life, LTC.

3,215 Visitors; 116 Posts

Take heart, I worked as a CNA in home care and in LTC. When I started both I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. I had a patient who wouldn't let me do anything and then was angry that I hadn't done enough to deserve getting paid, his family felt really bad and kept trying to give me cash! I was beside myself, they felt offended when I insisted on refusing. I adjusted after a couple of months and grew to love the job. I went to ltc and was lost again. My coworkers could handle changing and turning 30 patients in 2 hours. I was having trouble doing half that. I had great coworkers and we switched to a team system for a while and I got much better. I got to know the residents and was able to have improved skin and mobility for several. I became appreciated and respected. I am now a senior in a BSN program and can hardly wait to get to work in Acute Care where I know I will once again be lost for a while. Just stay at it and give some thought to the reasons you are in this field.

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1,670 Visitors; 42 Posts

I just wonder how I'm ever gonna do it.. I'm dreading this upcoming week and I'm honestly starting to ask myself how anyone can love this job. :(

I like helping other people, but I'm not sure if that outweighs the stress I'm going through. It's not the job duties themselves that bother me - it's feeling stupid and incompetent and wondering if it'll ever get better. I'm hoping that it gets better for me week by week and that a month from now I feel completely different.. but right now it's something I force myself to do day by day.

I feel like I would be happier being a mindless drone in a cubicle working a horridly boring job with no human contact all day than be going through this. It would be boring but at least the stress would be gone. :(

To all of your nurses and aides out there that do what you do every day (and do it well), my hat goes off to you. Seriously.

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504 Visitors; 1 Post

Hi there!

I've been reading this board for about two weeks now.

I've just finished my first week of CNA classes.

I registered because I wanted to post here and offer some hugs.

It seems like according to your first post that maybe you have

self esteem issues, and perhaps you are just too hard on yourself?

I'm like that alot too.... and I get stressed and feel great pressure and anxiety,

and it's really all due to myself and how I feel about myself.

You've done a wonderful job from what I have read. You've made it through the

certification and have been doing your job for a few weeks.... you're just doubting yourself...

I'm afraid though that if you decide to quit that you'll feel even worse..

Some people just take longer at doing things. I'm more detailed about stuff so I always take longer, but I do things very well.

Would it help you any if you just did your job and stopped worrying about what others think? Perhaps you're your worst critic?

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fuzzywuzzy has 3 years experience as a CNA and specializes in LTC.

16,934 Visitors; 1,816 Posts

Not to sound trite or anything, but things WILL get better. You can do this. I can relate to everything you've described in your posts so far- the incredible stress, not knowing what you're doing wrong but feeling like you're not doing anything right, feeling paralyzed by suspicion that everyone thinks you're doing a horrible job and being being absolutely convinced that you're not cut out for the job and will be a bad CNA forever... that's something I definitely went through. I pretty much had an anxiety attack that lasted for like 2 months. It sucked. But things got better.

You said it's not the duties that intimidate you, but feeling stupid and incompetent- do you know WHY you feel like that? Is it because you finish your work last, you think you ask too many questions, you're never sure what to do next...? Being able to pinpoint what brings negative feelings out should help.

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810 Visitors; 9 Posts

You need to remind yourself... the only stupid question is an unasked question. Things will all start to fall into place soon enough for you! Keep the faith.

I have had receptionists at the docs office be in tears, stating they just couldnt keep up the pace. I would continue to give them the weekly/ sometimes daily pep talks: Do not worry about the other coworkers. Sometimes everyone forgets that they were indead new to the field at one point in their lives. One day it will all click and fall into place.

So you spent an extra 5-10 min with the patient... you got the task accomplished, and that person had an extra few minutes of being able to talk to someone other than the wall.

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1,084 Visitors; 22 Posts

Hang in there! The fact that you are stating your concerns shows that you really care about your job. You appear to be striving for improvement and that says volumes about your character and perserverance. I applaud you! You are going to make an excellent CNA and I believe you will be successful at whatever you choose to pursue.

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839 Visitors; 11 Posts

I felt the same way my first week. Then the second week, I was so stressed that I too was going to quit and just give it all up. However, I stood it out, and before the end of the second week, my first weekend I was forced into carrying a 17 pt assignment and I did it.

You are lucky that you have good co workers, mine sucked arse.

Hang in there, it takes time to get your own routine down. Good Luck.

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