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The Red Line of NA's Who Ask Lots of Questions


Specializes in none.

As I have been working my nursing aide job the last month or so, I have began to develop a big curiosity into what nurses actually do. I am your typical aide at the hospital who is "going to nursing school". I want to talk to the nurses about the pathophysiology, medications, risks of the patient, and what labs are being talked to with the doctor.

I am starting to get to the perfectionist point where I over-analyze and ask "stupid" questions. You wouldn't believe the looks sometimes I get or the roll of the eyes. It brought me to a simple realization: there is a fine-line between necessary question to the patient's safety and wanting more information than I need.

Nurses are at the bedside to advocate for the patient. That is what is on their mind from the minute they enter the floor until they have to leave. Often, these petty side questions I have need to be saved for nursing school and not for when I work. My primary goal for my role in the job should be to get things done in a timely manner and stay out of the way of the nurse.

Nurses, I am sure you can relate to some of your NA's "getting in your way". To NA's going to school: have you had this deep curiosity too? Others thoughts?

~PedsRN~, BSN, RN

Specializes in Acute Care Pediatrics. Has 4 years experience.

I am probably one of the weird nurses that loves techs like you. :) I find the ones that are truly interested in things are the ones that want to actually do their job and take care of the patient, just like I do. If the patients don't mind I will always let those interested help out or listen. For example, dropped an NG tube a few weeks ago and the tech was interested in how we verify placement, so I let her listen to the air bolus. :) As long as it doesn't affect patient care or isn't inappropriate, I'm all about teaching those that want to learn!

ETA: Now, don't be crazy and like ask questions when the proverbial poo is hitting the fan. I can't think enough to answer you and there is more important tasks at hand. :)


Specializes in Emergency.

I think when and how you ask is probably more important than what you ask. And also maybe who you ask. Most days, I'm like PedsRN and love to share a learning opportunity. But then some other days....

You have to pick your moment.

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

Curiosity and a hunger to learn are a good thing! You'll continue to need that as you begin your practice.

That said, a lot of it is when, how, and who you ask. Is it apparent the nurse is swamped? Probably not a good time to ask questions that are not related to *your* job function as a CNA. Simple questions that don't take long to answer about disease processes or procedures are fine. Tons of followup questions, asking about patho down to the biochemical level--that's probably best saved for patho class. And of course, there are some nurses who enjoy and are more adept at teaching than others. Seek out those ones.

Keep in mind though, that while on a shift the nurses' primary responsibility is caring for the patient, and educating the patient and family. Your primary responsibility is to assist. Like you said, some of this is best saved for school. :yes:

I encourage techs to ask questions of me. However, as PPs have said, there is a time and place for certain questions that do not directly pertain to your job as a tech.

Did you get a blood glucose on our patient that concerns you? Please, if you have any qualms about it, ask right away!

Do you want to know why I'm pushing Glucagon and its physiological effects on the body? Ask me when the patient is conscious, the RRT is over and it looks like my hair is starting to grow back.

When you're in a work environment, questions about aspects of nursing that are outside your scope as an NA ought to be reserved for times when your nurse is able to teach you without sacrificing his or her time with the patient, charting, etc.


Specializes in none.

I can't thank you guys enough for the responses. There must be a healthy balance. I crossed that line too many times, but now I learned my lesson. I can be "Curious George" selectively at the right time and with the right nurse.