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Working as an SNA (Surgical Nursing Assistant)

CNA/MA   (676 Views | 0 Replies)

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Hi! It's been a long time since I have posted on here, and I wanted to share my experiences on my current job as a SNA.

I have to say this is the best Nursing Assistant job I ever have. I thought I would just be cleaning beds, stocking stuff, and help take care of patients but it's more than that. I do thank God for giving me this job, as I have had 2 other possible jobs i interviewed for  but he knew what I needed. If I got accepted in those other jobs then something bad would have happened. The first job Float pool I knew I had to go to other floors and would have to had to risk getting a whole floor to myself and working nights and weekends again. The other job, which was pre-surgery in the surgery department was just like a regular cna job but with shorter hours. I even got to have a glance at it a few weeks ago. It seemed like a regular floor job. Someone I knew got the job, but I found out from a nurse that she wasn't working there anymore. So I guess things happen for a reason.

SNA is Surgical Nursing Assistant. The department I work at is Pre-holding, or EP holding. The main part of where I work at is Electrophysiology. The doctors here work on mostly heart procedures in the lab. Usually devices, abliations, afibs, aflutters, etc. Another thing is that it's a combined department with the cath lab.

Anyways, it's been an amazing experience, as I have never been in surgery as a nursing assistant; only rehab. I'd also like to point out that it's a rare thing for a CNA to be in surgery, at least where I am working at.

My job there is kind of like a normal nursing assistant, but in a different way. For instance, a normal CNA has a group of patients that has to take vitals once or every 4 hours; as I don't. The patients come for surgery and go, unless they have an emergency. There's only a number of cases for they day and week. Some people do come back for other things. Another thing is that normally for a unit there's many assistants on the floor; as I am the only one working 4 days a week. There's another SNA, but they only work once a week unless there off from school. It does suck sometimes I can't talk or relate to other people who are cnas, but it's not that bad.


My job duties there are like 25% of what normal cna jobs do. I do check blood sugars, vitals, and take patients to the bathroom. Good thing about the bathroom part is that most of the time the patients can walk by themselves and I just have to hold on to their gown. Sometimes there's urinals and bedpans, but not frequent. Before as a regular cna I had to assist patients to the bathroom; sometimes they were max or totals or even had diaper changes. Now that rarely happens. I think 2 or 3 times I had to help a nurse change diapers. I do clean as well, but it's only for surgeries. Most of the time I have to prep a patient by either shaving or wiping their skin down with special soap to prevent infection. Sometimes it does get boring and repetitive though. I also do most of the transporting picking and dropping patients back to their rooms, so I don't sit in one place all the time. It's nice to go to different parts of the hospital from time to time. Sometimes I also help cath lab transport their patients back to their rooms too.

Another thing I do sometimes Is I help set up a-lines, or arterial lines. I work with an Anesthesia Tech who is also alone doing the work by themselves. Most of the time they set up a-lines for the doctors to put in the patients to monitor their blood pressure besides the arm. It's not an easy task but I managed to set it up at least. I have also gotten to go to the labs and help sometimes turnover a case after it was finished, but I still need help in that department. 

A great thing about working there is that I work 4 days a week, get one off and work no weekends. It's almost impossible to find a job in nursing where people get weekends off. I always had to work every other weekend, days and nights and rarely had time off. Even when i was working in therapy i had to work weekends. I haven't had weekends off in a long time so I was grateful for that. I hear that few surgery departments where I work at get weekends off but most of them have weekends or on call. Another thing is that if I have time, i can watch a procedure which can be interesting. There was a day where It wasn't busy so I asked my boss if I could watch a heart procedure in another department. I did and it was incredible. I never saw an open heart procedure and I was standing for most of the time. I haven't had the chance to see another one but If I can i will.

I think the best part about my job is that I get to pull sheaths. Sheaths are what doctors use in some procedure and when they are done either a nurse or I will remove them unless the nurse has to test the blood. And I have to say I have never seen blood like I have before. When I was a CNA, I did get to draw blood, but I actually never had blood on my gloves. It's really cool as I get to do something important. I also remove the a-lines as well. It's hard sometimes because I have to disconnect the ivs and stuff and finding a pulse as well. And sometimes my fingers get numb as I have to hold either 10 or 15 minutes, depending on how big the sheaths are.


If you are a CNA looking for a job in the hospital, don't give up. Sometimes you have to go in and get yourself in. It happened to me and that's how I got my first job ever at the hospital with no experience, but I've had to learn through hardships. And if regular nursing assisting isn't your thing, there's many opportunities to look out for. I'd never thought I would be working in a surgical department where's there so many things that's different from being a regular CNA.


Also, is anyone else a SNA? If so what do you guys do in your departments? I would like to know.

Edited by NTechTruth

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