Understaffed and overwhelmed


So it's an off-told story: long term care CNA here, understaffed to the point of exhaustion. Within the past 2 weeks, we've lost our 2 regular FT weekly 3-11 aides on my unit, meaning its just me and 2 others taking care of nearly 50 residents. Yes, that means 16-17 residents each. And yet we are still expected to get a full set of vitals on each, pass ice and snacks, do rounds every 2-3 hours, and oh yeah, do 2 showers each. What charting? The charting we get written up over if not completed? Yeah, that charting too. Not to mention manage get ups for dinner, and get our own 30 minute lunch and 2 15-minute breaks. I did the math and tried to schedule for all the above and it only affords 2 full rounds, which isn't me doing my job. Heaven forbid we have the daily emotional meltdown, a fall, or anything else that impedes our progress.

Well they've started with the $50 bonus for CNAs coming in to pick up 3-11. Last week saw the DON and nurse supervisor helping me pass snacks and put people to bed. Dinner, which usually is from 5:30-6:30 ended around 8.

It's beyond ridiculous. I'm starting to have trouble sleeping over it. My plan was to do this until school in August, when I start getting my KMA (medication aide) training. I want to go from CNA to KMA to LPN and finally RN. However at my facility, they have started mandating everyone from activities to the van driver get their CNA so we always have back up. Enter even more essential people leaving....right as we prepare to open to visitors on July 15. Now I'm gonna have angry family yelling at me because mom hasn't showered all week and dad is lying in what looks like the poop version of a chalk outline at a murder scene. Should I go back to Target or temp in an office somewhere? I'm at wits end. And yes, we actually met with two ppl from corporate within the last month to try and keep people from leaving and make things better. The people still left. Things aren't any better.

Are they calling agency staff to come in and help you out? It sounds like corporate is aware of the problems but are not calling in nursing agencies for help. Perhaps it is time to call and make an anonymous report to your state's board of nursing? If the state comes in then corporate might then choose to start calling in agency staff to help out.

We're privately owned so they don't use staffing agencies. Apparently, years ago, when they were public, they did. Anyway, in the midst of this, we have our first 3 positive covid cases, all staff. I got tested yesterday, will know results Friday, and will be again tested with the rest of staff Friday. The ADON said we will be tested every 3-5 days. It's uncomfortable but I don't mind if it's any reassurance I'm helping keep my family, friends and residents safer. The kicker too is that patient zero, or CNA Zero as it were, was just hired from a home where something like 40 people tested positive and 12 residents died. This, after the DON recently begged me not to quit because, " We just hired 4 new aides and they're going through orientation now". SMH.

Tenebrae, BSN, RN

Specializes in Mental Health, Gerontology, Palliative. Has 9 years experience.

That work load is mental

I would be looking for another job IMO. Management in places like that do not support their staff, and will throw them under the bus should the need arise

CapeCodMermaid, RN

Specializes in Gerontology, Med surg, Home Health. Has 30 years experience.

The work load in LTC, especially for the CNAs won't change until something drastic happens. My facility has good staffing and luckily we've remained Covid free, but I've been in other facilities where the staffing was 2 aides for 40 residents on a dementia unit. TWO! Write to your governor, your congressman, who ever you can think of . Sooner or laterk they are going to have to listen.

Thanks so much for the support and advice. We just had a meeting with admin and corporate about plans to make things better. They did hire a few more aides, who are in orientation, and there is one nurse supervisor who has been helping with lights in the interim. It's just too much for anybody, and I guess I needed that validation from someone who's been there. I'm getting my KMA this fall and hopefully it will be a little better as a medication aide.


Specializes in CNA and nursing student. Has 2 years experience.

I feel for you. I'm working as a new CNA in a longterm care/nursing home environment, just over the Summer until nursing school starts... With all my patients on full droplet precautions (covid-related), and needing full vital sets, I only have time for 2 rounds of brief changes, and that's on a good day. We are understaffed because of COVID, and I leave work just feeling anxious and guilty about the quality of care I am giving people. I'm really struggling right now.