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CNAs and Nurses

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I am in CNA classes, I would like to hear of anyone elses experiences in this, escecially those starting a bit later in life.
Did you go into nursing from class, or did you work as a CNA and decide you hate the nurses who didn't go that route? Are you a nurse frustrated with the new crop of CNAs? All is welcome, (Being civil) and would help me and anyone else going this route.
I will give my opinion so far about the class, doesnt seem enough to get me ready for what I am going to face. Clinicals have not started yet, 2 weeks away, and seems not enough time. When doing our checks in the labs the teacher is looking away half the time at a different group but just takes us at our own words that we did it right, and our group is only 6 people! I also notice some students being completly afraid to ask a question, or even get the teachers attention to let them know they have a question. The Nurses are going to eat them alive.
Edit: With good reason, this job is about communiation!
post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hey there was a reply to this, but now it is gone? I did not not see any reason to remove it. I guess by being civil I mean not calling eachother names,(or calling attention to the fact my spelling is just beyond awful, I am working on that and this is a message board, so I am a bit lax in proper grammer, something I am also working on)
post #3 of 8
They will get eaten alive unless they start asking questions. When you finish a course you are expected to know what you are doing, and that means asking questions...lots and lots of questions. And remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question. The only stupidity is not asking. You go to school to learn and we all learn at different rates. Some are visual, some require hands on, and sometimes it takes explaining it a few different ways before the bell finally goes off for the person learning. Nothing to be ashamed or afraid of.

So far as in the field working. I started working as a nursing assistant 4 months into my nursing program which is when I became eligible to obtain a job as a nursing assistant (aka Health Care Aid).

Working as a Health Care Aid is back breaking work. It isn't something I personally would pursue as a career to earn my living. There is a whole lot of lifting involved and I don't know a Health Care Aid who doesn't have a back problem or some other joint and/or muscle issue, or who hasn't been off work on Worker's Compensation at some point in their life due to job related injury. No matter how careful you care, injuries can happen because despite all the planning and safety measures in the world, people are unpredictable, especially the elderly, and it only takes one wrong move to derail the best laid plans and result in a personal injury. Not to mention the long term effects of repetitive movements.

As with all jobs, there are some good and some bad employees. IMHO whether they are good or bad is a reflection of their personal work ethic, not the fact that they didn't get the proper eduction. Of course if you are going through the program and not asking questions and pretending to know what you are doing etc, you won't be very good at your job and that will reflect badly on you as a person. So again, ask questions!!!!

Once in the work field it's still not taboo to ask questions. In fact as a nurse I would prefer that my nursing assistant ask me questions rather than go off and do their own thing and do it wrong and result in an injury to them, the patient or to me. At the start of my shift I talk with the HCA about my patient assignment and let the know what they need to do for the patient IE: wash them, get them up walking, empty a catheter bag, whether the patient needs turning, assistance to walk to the bathroom, measuring the urine, collecting a specimen etc. etc.

Working in medicine is a team effort. It's not every man/woman for themselves. You all need to work together to provide an environment that is beneficial to the health of the people we are charged with looking after.

Not sure if that helped or not.
post #4 of 8
Keeping in mind that I've now been retired for 13+ years, and that i am quite, quite sure cna's do more now than they did when I was a nurse....I worked as a home health assistant years before I became a nurse. Needed a job and discovered I loved working this way...meeting interesting, elderly folks, and working in their homes.

Years later when I did go to nursing school, I worked my way through by working in a local nursing home..figured the experience would be good as it was a step above home health care.

I found it did help - though I wasn't near a chart or a med, or any responsibility as easy as a temp or bp, I was in that environment, and had the chance to watch the lpn and rn on our unit work.

If you feel this class isn't that complete, it probably isn't...you know if you feel you are being properly prepared
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat View Post
Keeping in mind that I've now been retired for 13+ years, and that i am quite, quite sure cna's do more now than they did when I was a nurse....I worked as a home health assistant years before I became a nurse. Needed a job and discovered I loved working this way...meeting interesting, elderly folks, and working in their homes.

Years later when I did go to nursing school, I worked my way through by working in a local nursing home..figured the experience would be good as it was a step above home health care.

I found it did help - though I wasn't near a chart or a med, or any responsibility as easy as a temp or bp, I was in that environment, and had the chance to watch the lpn and rn on our unit work.

If you feel this class isn't that complete, it probably isn't...you know if you feel you are being properly prepared
We are being taught vital signs, not BP, but are taught how to restrain people! Talk about messed up, and I payed a lot, I mean a lot to get into this class, with the tuition and vaccinations and books we never seem to use in class, except the outline.
The teachers are mostly RN, and are not at all happy about these new rules, regarding what is and what is not taught. I asked in lab, "So, we are learning how to restrain, which is not used anymore, but not learning how to take BP?" She agreed and there was much discusion, but it is the state that dictates what is. I now know how to make a half hitch knot but not know how to monitor a BP
post #6 of 8
That is scary May I humbly suggest you do what you can to at least go for your LPN or RN with associates degree?
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trillcat View Post
We are being taught vital signs, not BP,
Here in Manitoba our Health Care Aids have nothing to do with patient assessment other than to notify a nurse if they notice a change in a patients condition (IE: skin, breathing, cognition) or low urine output. They don't do vital signs on patients.
post #8 of 8
It depends on what sort of nursing you go into. I get the impression that if you're a CNA at a nursing home or are a home health aide, there's less pressure, but you also get more independence. If you go into a hospital, you get less independence - you're always reporting to someone, the nurses do the more important stuff, but it's higher pressure, and there's also more avenues for you to explore - the sort of hospital jobs around here for CNAs include sterile process tech, clinical asst, monitor tech, equipment tech etc.

I've finished my CNA training and am looking for work in hospitals, and am struggling - everyone wants experience. So I think you have to start in a nursing home where things are less stressful, learn the basics for 6 months or so, then go into a hospital if that's the path you want to take.

We started our prac in our third week - we were doing a Fast Track class doing 6 1/2 hour days, and the first few days of prac were crazy - we had no idea what we were doing, but we were never left alone to do anything. The ones who had shown competence in vitals were allowed to do that which was very interesting - it's a lot harder doing vitals on frail Alzheimers patients than on healthy class mates! Even their newest staff member was paired with another staff member and would stay under her supervision for a month until she was allowed to start gettign her own patients, and even then, the CNAs all worked in pairs with patients, so there was always someone around.

So anyway, it depends on what you want to do, but the ones who seem useless will probably stay in a nursing home environment where there's less stress - acute care probably isn't for them.

My only piece of advice is to get everything out of prac that you can - volunteer for everything, ask if you can try procedures you've been trained for (you should always have a member of staff there), and just get involved. In my class, there was a couple of us who stuck together and kept asking to do things and try things, and we got more and more responsibilities while we were there, and got so much more out of it than the students who just waited to get told what to do.

It's going to be gross, you are going to see things that the staff do that horrify you, your heart is going to break seeing residents with no quality of life, and with no family to come and see them.

Oh and while on prac - don't criticise any of the staff. They will take shortcuts for everything, and do it the complete opposite way from what you've been taught. If you do a skill in front of them, just say politely that you have to do it a certain way for the Red Cross exam, and is it ok if you do it that particular way. Not many places accept students, so try to keep your mouth shut, and if you see anything really negligent - just tell your teacher and let them deal with it.

I plan to do my nursing degree in a few years, and I think I will be a better nurse from having this experience - not only will it be a good way to make sure I do enjoy being in that environment, but it will give a good knowledge and appreciation of the whole nursing structure.
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