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Tips For a New CNA?


Hello all,

I've just recently passed my CNA exams, I'm in FL. I challenged the exams, so I don't have much experience at all. And I've been offered a job at a local nursing home. I don't know if I will for certain get the job yet, as they have to see if I'm approved still. I know that if I get it, I'll be on 3p-11p. Does anyone have any tips? Any very specific details on how a 3-11 shift goes? I have many questions. For instance, if each resident doesn't have a chart in their room, how will I know what needs done or what the previous person did before me? How does charting work? How do I get all of the residents down to dinner? Any help would really be appreciated!

icuRNmaggie, BSN, RN

Specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU. Has 24 years experience.

Give the same care that you would want for your own Mom or Dad, Grandmother or Grandfather.

God bless and good luck. Maggie


Specializes in Emergency Room.

You'll have a period of orientation where you will learn a lot. You'll receive report from off-going CNAs on things like who had baths and other things. Also, many CNAs will also listen in during nursing report.


Specializes in OR, CVICU/CTICU.

Give the same care that you would want for your own Mom or Dad, Grandmother or Grandfather.

God bless and good luck. Maggie

^^ This. Also, make sure to ask plenty of questions during orientation. As a CNA, you're the eyes and ears of the nurse in the LTC environment. Knowing what to be careful to watch for to report to the nurse and prevent a patient/resident from deteriorating quickly is a great skill.

A side note - when I first started as a CNA, the aides I worked with were very "cliquey." Don't get caught up in the high-school drama. Stay classy.

Carry a piece of paper with you, along with a pen. If you can, carry a roll of plastic trash bags. What I did on 2nd shift was to put a pull up or brief, a set of PJs or a hospital gown, their toothbrush and tooth paste with an emesis basin or their denture cup and a denture tab, and lotion in a drawer or some place inconspicuous so that when it was time for bed, it was all ready to go and I didn't have to search for things.

You'll be getting people up for one meal, which makes the shift go much easier, but you also have to deal with sundowners, and that can be a challenge until you figure out what works with specific patients. Ask questions, and if a patient is 2x assist, *do not* go cowboy and do it yourself. Get someone in there to help you. Do everything you can to save your back; use gait belts, lift with your legs, and use proper body mechanics.

As someone else said, CNAs in LTC can be clique-y; don't get drawn into it. You're new, and it is the moral duty and responsibility of the "senior" CNAs to help you. Find where you can read the as-needed information on your assigned residents and read it. And above all, if it isn't your resident, you still need to answer their call light. Teamwork is a must and you will be more appreciated if you are a team player, but don't let people take advantage of you.

Good luck.

It's all part of a routine. You will have plenty of orientation and training to get the hang of things. Many nursing homes have "wings" that you are assigned. It is your job to take care of these people (about 8-11 residents), but as the other person said, it's always nice when someone answers a call light for someone.

Since you are coming in at 3:00, you will probably be coming in at the slow part of the day. As soon as you get there, you will get a nursing report from the last shift (basically goes over any updates with the residents). Answer any call lights. When it gets closer to dinner you will start getting your people up. Some people may already be up and you just have to walk/wheel them to the dining room. During the meal, you will most likely have assist a resident with feeding. After everyone is done, you help them back to their rooms, or if they prefer the TV room. Right after dinner, you will probably have people that want to get ready for bed already. You will be helping people get ready for bed until towards the end of the evening. There may be some down time at some point (many residents like to go down for evening activities). At the end of the shift, you will do your charting. I my workplace we chart on ADLs, BMs, and behaviors. Also you may have to chart a bath if evenings do any evening baths.

As for knowing what to do next or what to do period for a resident, the past shift or someone will tell you or it will be part of their routine. You will probably have to carry around what is called an RIS (resident information sheet) that will tell you everything you need to know about the resident.

This is just a brief overview of what goes on in the average evening shift. Everything you need to know will be taught to you on orientation. If you feel lost or need help, just ask someone. Don't think you need to do everything by yourself, because you are part of a team.

Thank you all so much! I really appreciate all of the pointers. :) I'm just stressing. I tend to over think things.