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Is anyone a CNA?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm up for a career change. I've been working in business doing project management type stuff and currently doing a Bachelor of Business, but I've always had a desire to be a nurse, and I've finally decided to act on it. So I'm going to finish my BBus, then do a Masters in Nursing to become an RN when we move back to Australia.

In the meantime, I'm going to do a CNA course from January, and hopefully get a job at Stanford Hospital as a CNA so I can get exposure to hospital life and see what I'm getting myself in for. I realise I'll be doing the more menial tasks, but that's ok

Is or has anyone else been a CNA? What do you think of it?
post #2 of 17
I worked as a nursing assistant while going to nursing school.

It's an ok job. Very physically hard though. Lots of lifting, bending, pushing, shoving, carrying etc. My back was killing me all of the time. The up side of it is that the job doesn't have any serious responsibility so far as the patient is concerned, because that falls on the nurse assigned to the room. It's the type of job that you either love or hate, but it doesn't really pay all that well either.

My advice to you if you want to get into nursing would be to actually start taking required classes for nursing now, and then transfer the credits over when you move back to Australia.

Can I ask why you are wanting to get a Master's in nursing? You only need that if you want to do paper pushing jobs in management and they don't have anything to do with bedside nursing and TBH, there is so much politics in those types of jobs that the patients become secondary to everything.

I would suggest going for a bachelor of science in nursing. The degree will allow you to do bedside nursing and also take positions in lower level management positions, that are still focused on patient care.

If you want to find out what hospital work is all about, why not volunteer at a local hospital so that you can get a feel for it?
post #3 of 17
I worked as a CNA and still do, Right now Im working as a home health CNA I love it. I worked at the Hospital as a CNA and at the Nursing Home its like Linda said, it is a very physically demanding job especially in the hospitals and nursing homes. Its not so bad in Home Health because I only have one patient and Im private care. My patient can do most everything herself. I also enjoy the one on one aspect of it. Its a closer bond then what you get in the nursing home and in the hospital and it is less of a physical demand.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
I worked as a nursing assistant while going to nursing school.

It's an ok job. Very physically hard though. Lots of lifting, bending, pushing, shoving, carrying etc. My back was killing me all of the time. The up side of it is that the job doesn't have any serious responsibility so far as the patient is concerned, because that falls on the nurse assigned to the room. It's the type of job that you either love or hate, but it doesn't really pay all that well either.

My advice to you if you want to get into nursing would be to actually start taking required classes for nursing now, and then transfer the credits over when you move back to Australia.

Can I ask why you are wanting to get a Master's in nursing? You only need that if you want to do paper pushing jobs in management and they don't have anything to do with bedside nursing and TBH, there is so much politics in those types of jobs that the patients become secondary to everything.

I would suggest going for a bachelor of science in nursing. The degree will allow you to do bedside nursing and also take positions in lower level management positions, that are still focused on patient care.

If you want to find out what hospital work is all about, why not volunteer at a local hospital so that you can get a feel for it?
I've looked into doing nursing here and it's so much more expensive than in Australia (we have government assistance for higher education), and I still want to finish my Business degree. I also figured out that I can either plug away at nursing subjects part time here, and still have the same amount of time to go if I finished my business degree, then did Nursing full time when we get home. This way I end up with 2 degrees and some practical experience.

In Australia, it's not a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, it's a Bachelor of Nursing, or in my case if you already have a degree and university level Biology (which I will), I can do a Masters in Nursing which qualifies me to be an RN (ie. I end up with the same whether I do a Bachelors or Masters).

To me, that makes more sense, and I'd rather actually work as a CNA and earn some money and be right in there rather than volunteer. I think I'd be be ok with the work, and the lower pay doesn't worry me, I expect that.
post #5 of 17
My fiancee is a CNA. She works at a head trauma center, and she really enjoys it. She works on a behavioral rehab floor, so her residents can be very challenging. It's a physically demanding job, and it can be kind of gross (if you're skeezed by bodily functions).

The good thing, though, at least around here, is that you have almost unlimited hours, so you can always pick up more if you want them. It pays all right, also.
post #6 of 17
I was an aide in a nursing home and, as the others have said, it is a physically demanding job. I got to the point that I just couldn't handle the physical aspect of it anymore. I think became a home health aide, but was given several clients who needed a lot of physical help so I wasn't much better off.
Being an aide is a very demanding job, but is extremely rewarding. I often wish I was still able to do it. The pay wasn't great, but I felt as if I was making a real difference in people's lives.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Can I ask why you are wanting to get a Master's in nursing? You only need that if you want to do paper pushing jobs in management and they don't have anything to do with bedside nursing and TBH, there is so much politics in those types of jobs that the patients become secondary to everything.
Just adding for the benefit of all reading the thread, that getting at least a bachelors can be a good thing as far as I've been told. I was told when starting nursing school (changed majors, decided I liked the science of nursing more than the patient care) was that you really only need a bachelors or above if you want to be a supervisor. So my a few of the girls in my classes were saying they didn't see a need to go that far with their schooling. So I told them how it saved my Aunt's career.

She was injured by a new door that hadn't been installed properly while transporting a patient. (The door fell on her; permanently injuring her back.) She's had back surgery and spends time in therapy every week and this injury is probably 15 years old by now. Her degree allowed her to get into the management level and stay in the nursing field and floor that she loves (critical care). She says if she hadn't had it; she'd have had to really change her career. I know she does a lot of paperwork; but her hospital is pretty short staffed so sometimes she has no choice but to help with the hands on care.

I think trying out the field by becoming a CNA is a good idea too. It'll give you a good idea of what the field is like. I know my best friend has said that if she knew what a nursing job would really be like; she'd have chosen another major.
post #8 of 17
MoochNNoodles wrote
<<Just adding for the benefit of all reading the thread, that getting at least a bachelors can be a good thing as far as I've been told. I was told when starting nursing school (changed majors, decided I liked the science of nursing more than the patient care) was that you really only need a bachelors or above if you want to be a supervisor. So my a few of the girls in my classes were saying they didn't see a need to go that far with their schooling. So I told them how it saved my Aunt's career. >>

I've heard that too. I'm on my second round of prerequisites to get into a nursing program. Long story- but the short version is- I didn't pass Pharmacology (by a whole 21 pts), was told I had to drop out then re-apply, starting all over again w/Fundamentals (and I passed that class). I wasn't 100% satisfied with the cc I was at- didn't think there was enough clinical exp- so I decided that if I was going to have to wait anyhow- I'd just take the 3 extra courses and apply for a hospital program (where you get 2x as much clinical exp).

I don't know if I'm going to go past the RN diploma I'll get. I have been going to school for SO LONG (I was only taking 1 course at a time b/c of kids, expense etc), and I am so tired of school, that I may just take the RN and do that the rest of my life.

Cheryl
post #9 of 17
I'm glad that I got my CNA before I became a nurse. It taught me a lot of the fundamentals of nursing. It also helps me to appreciate CNAs, because I know how hard their job is and think they deserve a lot of respect for it.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the thoughts! In Australia, you can only be a Registered Nurse if you have a Bachelor or Masters in Nursing. I do want the option to go into nursing management in the future, but that's a LONG way down the track. I think starting as a CNA, then doing the Masters and working as an RN for a while will give me a good base to go into management if I do decide to do that.
post #11 of 17
I think you'll be a good nurse Sarah. You don't strike me as the type of person who shies away from hard work. And your own experiences as a patient can help you when your on the other end too.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoochNNoodles View Post
I think you'll be a good nurse Sarah. You don't strike me as the type of person who shies away from hard work. And your own experiences as a patient can help you when your on the other end too.
Exactly, on all counts. If I'm ever sick, I'd love to have someone like you on my side!
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
I got to use my patient experiences the other day... I was accompanying a pregnant friend to a blood test as she freaks out at blood tests. The docs were worried she had appendicitis and wanted to check her white blood cell count as they couldn't tell anything from an ultrasound.

The nurse doing the blood test took the form and said "have you fasted", and my friend said that she'd been drinking lots of fluids. The lady was saying she had to have been fasting for the last 4 hours, and she would have to come back on Monday. My friend started to walk off and I said "wait, they're just checking for appendicitis", and the nurse said that yes it was a 4 hour fasting test. I wouldn't take no for an answer and said "no no no, she's getting a CBC that doesn't require you to fast, you're probably looking at the 4 hour glucose test for pregnant ladies which is NOT what she's getting, so please recheck it and give her the blood test now"

Sure enough, she'd gotten confused as below CBC which was ticked it said 4 hour fasting, which was for the glucose test which was below that. I was amazed that the nurse couldn't figure that out herself! It made me feel good anyway
post #14 of 17
I am a CNA, and currently going to school to be an LVN. I am working trough a registry as a temp, since I don't have enougn time to work full time, or part time even lol Just weekends, and certain days of the week. So i work at a bunch of different places.
post #15 of 17
I am a cna and I think that by becoming a cna first it gives you a better insight to what the aides that work under you are going through. I think the aides are the backbone of the nursing field if it wasn't for us then the nurses would be in a mess. I have been debating going back to school but at the same time I have been an aide for a while and I think I am a bit burned out so I need to change fields for a while but I always find my way back to nursing. The thing about nursing is it has to be something you feel called to do if you want to be a good nurse because it is not a job you can do just for the money. Its not just physically demanding but mentally and emotionally as well. And you have alot on your shoulders even as an aide if I fell to tell a nurse something is wrong with a patient or I fell to give a resident the proper care I could possibly cause someone to die so you have to be thinking about what you are doing at all times when at work. You do alot of lifting and pulling and some patients aren't so nice either.

Just this past friday while at work one of the patients walked upto me and backhanded me for no reason, he has alzheimers, and I had to remain calm and react in a way that reduced the tension. And the hardest thing is when you have someone who is in their right mind and they tell stories on you and they are ugly to you. I actually asked a patient to stop being ugly to me on friday because she was being very rude. And its just part of the job. I do think from reading your posts that you have the kindness nessacary for the job so if you think you are called to do this then please do.
post #16 of 17
Good for you!

I had to fast for 12 hours for a cholesterol test. I went to the lab. I got there at 8:10am and by the time they called me it was 30 minutes later.

The lab tech told me they only draw blood for cholesterol before 8:30am and that I have to come back another day.

I told her that I was not coming back another day, that I had fasted for 12 hours for this test, and that I was going to have the test. I didn't care what their lab policy about blood drawing time was and that it was a stupid policy. They drew my blood.
post #17 of 17
My sister is a nurse on the Neurosurgery ward and is now one of the charge nurses. She loves it.

My best friend's sister is a nurse in Adelaide - recently I learned she earns $100 an hour! Holy Macaroni!! She does work very long hours and only has time to eat and sleep - and there isn't that much to do in Adelaide but it is good for her as she is paying her house off rather quickly and will be back in NZ soon.
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