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4th night on the job and I cried all the way home


I'm a new STNA (just got my license on September 15), and am working for a local Rehab/LTC facility. I have never worked in healthcare before, so this is a total career change. I am still training because I requested more orientation, which they did give me. Anyway, I am really paranoid about flipping someone out of bed while turning them to change them or reposition them- it's going to take time. They had me check and change one of the "easy" residents by myself last night, and I was a total failure. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. I had to have the Unit Manager come and help me because my trainer was nowhere to be seen. I just felt like a complete idiot. I cried all the way home. Just a vent I guess- I hope it gets easier....

Aww sorry to hear that! I have no advice for you as I have not gotten my first CNA job yet, but I am sure it will get better. I think it will take a lot of practice before you feel comfortable. I am also anxious about how it will be on my first day, as I also have no experience in healthcare. You have a lot of courage to do something new and I am sure this will be old hat in no time!

Things will get better as time goes on. Just remember that every day you head home after working a shift without quitting, is a shift you will get paid for, bills you can pay, and things you can buy. Hang in there.

Just give it time. You will learn each day and feel better about it. Everyone has to learn and we all have good and bad days!

Trust me I was the same way when I started, too. I cried and got really nervous and everything. Also my co-workers were not very nice (or seemed that way at the time) and often let me in situations I wasn't ready for. Being a CNA took months for me to get the hang of. Gradually I picked things up. As I got better my coworkers got nicer and I realized that they weren't being mean before, that because they had an extra burden of me to train + not enough time to finished anything, they were just extra stressed. Give it a lot of time, and just do your best. I have been a CNA for almost two years now and I still have things to learn.

It's a tough job. Difficult at first, but you get used to it and it'll be better as you gain more experience. I would suggest, rather than being focused on what can go wrong, focus on what you need to do in order to do it the right way. All the steps we learned in the class make it nerve racking...make sure you remember the important ones for sure, but don't worry if you don't fold the washcloth right or get your linen out of order... Client safety first.

Thanks for all of the encouraging responses. I know now why the turn over rate is so high. LOL But I am no quitter. Taking care of people is my new career, so I've got to stick it out and learn as much as I can.

fuzzywuzzy, CNA

Specializes in LTC. Has 3 years experience.

Everybody has a hard time starting out, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. If you're afraid to roll people off the bed, then don't roll them away from you. Roll them toward you, then walk around to the other side of the bed and roll them toward you again.


Specializes in LTC.

I struggled a lot too in the beginning. It took quite a bit of time before I really felt like I knew what I was doing and I still have days where I'm not so sure. I had to ask for help with a difficult shower the other day because the resident still scares the crap out of me even though I've been working with her for months. Take it one day at a time. It will get better. You just have to be patient, which I know is easier said than done.

Thanks for all of the encouraging responses. I know now why the turn over rate is so high. LOL But I am no quitter. Taking care of people is my new career, so I've got to stick it out and learn as much as I can.

Edited by rachelhCNA


Specializes in geriatrics, dementia, ortho. Has 2 years experience.

Something that helped me out a lot when I was afraid of hurting the residents was that I had my husband let me practice moving him around at home. It sounds silly, but I put a towel down on the bed (since we don't keep waterproof bed pads around at home, lol) and had him lie on it, and used it to roll him all around until I got a good sense of how hard I had to push and pull to move him well. Then I asked him to be more stiff and locked up, and did it again. It's nice to practice on someone who isn't actually limited in mobility, and who can tell you (nicely) if you do something too hard or whatever. Ask a friend or boyfriend or whatever, and put in a half hour at home. I promise it's worth it!


Specializes in public health. Has 5 years experience.

Don't feel depressed. Remember you went through the appropriate training and testing so you should be able to perform the tasks if you stick to what you were taught. Ask for help whenever you transfer a patient. You can ask a nurse, other CNAs, or your trainer, whoever is there. You are new to this so I am sure everyone will understand. Be confident, you are there to help those people and you were given the training and tools to help. The job is hard, no question about that. But it's your choice, right? So tough it up.

I'm a little concerned that your trainer wasn't there. But other than that, practice practice practice. There really is no other way to learn this stuff other than being thrown in. Have you asked one of the other CNAs or nurses for help? Sometimes it helps to be honest and say "I don't have a lot of experience doing this, would you mind shadowing me or showing it to me one more time?" Most nurses and CNAs would rather you do it right. If they aren't training you properly and won't help you, find a new place to work, because that's a recipe for getting cited for something.

It's very difficult at first. There's so much that you have to know in order to feel competent at this job, but with time and practice you'll be an expert. I'm a pretty fast learner and have a medical background (I'm a medical transcriptionist) but I had a very difficult time getting the hang of this job. I'm still a newbie, only been working as a CNA at this LTC facility since August, and I still seem to learn more with each shift.


Specializes in LTC, Memory loss, PDN. Has 23 years experience.

My heart beating out of my chest, sweat running down my forehead and joining the puddle of urine on the floor. I've been in this room for ten minutes and the mess has only gotten bigger. Finally, after thirty minutes, the 5 minute job is sort of completed. I only did one thing right during my first week -I didn't give up. Today, I promise you I can run with the best.