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Thread: The stressed out life of a CNA

  1. #1
    Super Moderator cougarnurse's Avatar
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    The stressed out life of a CNA

    Thought you all would like to read and reflect on this story:

    The stressed out life of a nursing assistant | delmarvanow.com | The Daily Times

    This morning I got a call from a supervisor of a nursing facility. This supervisor was beyond frustration. Stressed, disappointed and between a rock and a hard place. The supervisor had three nursing assistants call out of work for the day shift on a Saturday. Unfortunately, more people call off work on the weekends than on weekdays.

    We see this scenario often. Nursing assistants take a six-week or six-month course (depending on the program) learning how to care for patients, take their vitals, bathe them, assist in feeding, assist in walking and mobility, respond to call bells when patients have needs. They are on the go all of the time. When they go through training, when they research the field of nursing assistant, when they decide they would like to work with patients, they should know that this is a difficult, fast-paced, and often thankless job. They provide a majority of the direct patient care. They probably have more interaction with each patient than others in their facility. So why do they call off?

    Many nursing assistants are professionals, showing up when scheduled with smiles on their faces ready to help and serve their patients. Many don't realize how much emotional strength it takes to be a good nursing assistant. They see patients die. Patients that they become attached to and care for pass away or move on to another facility. They are responsible for intimate care of the elderly and infirm. Some are very reliable, always showing up. However, many have not mastered the emotional strength to deal with the work.

    We have been hearing of the nursing shortage for quite some time. We need to look also at the nursing assistant shortage. When I go into a facility, I can usually tell who is a nurse or a nursing assistant. The nursing assistants look tired. They look worried. Some move slowly. Some have been nursing assistants for over 20 years and their 'get up and go' got up and went out the door.

    How can this issue be improved? First of all, I believe that when a person decides to go into this or any field, they should really take a look at what it involves. They need to mirror another nursing assistant for at least a day if not a week to see all that it involves. Secondly, they need to know they are going to see very sick people. Especially in a long-term care facility, the patients are at the end of their lives. They are not reacting to the fact that they are sick or aged well and may not be the pleasant ones they were when they were healthy. They are sad that this is where they are, and the nursing assistant who is with them each day has to be able to deal with this emotional issue.

    Another issue is the reliability factor. Many haven't held a job for a long period of time before going into this field. Were they calling off work in their former job? How often did they call off? How well do you know the person you hired?

    What is the answer? I believe there are several. First: proper training. Not just a six-week course showing them how to do the job. There should be ongoing training in how to deal with stresses in their job, both at work and at home.

    When they call off, instead of ignoring them, or reprimanding them, find out why they called off. Many won't tell you. Get them talking. Find out if it is the schedule is too tough. Find out if it was the fact that yesterday they had so many patients and they are exhausted. Find out if it's outside issues.

    Schedule regular training classes for them. Keep them interested in their job. Keep them motivated to do a good job and reward them. The economy is tight. We all are working harder with fewer resources. Don't forget to give these hard-working people incentives to show up to work on time, and each scheduled day. Give them education, training, even if it's one hour monthly of new things to help them deal with their stressful job. Give them opportunities to take care of personal business.

    Find out why weekends are hard for them. Did they stay up too late on Friday night? Do they have family or church obligations on the weekends?

    Help your nursing assistants be successful. Remember they are going to take care of you, too, someday.

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    Re: The stressed out life of a CNA

    Thank you for pointing this out. The reason CNA's call in a lot is for one, they don't make any money. It is a dead end job because if you want promotion you have to have time and money to go to school for at least a couple of years. Also a lot of CNA's go into the field thinking that they are actually going to take care of the elderly or the sick. They start work and find out that they don't really have very much time to take good care of the residents, they are short staffed half of the time anyway because the less money spent means a bonus for the administrator, they are constantly on the go while everyone else in the building is basically sitting down and it gets to feel like your soul purpose for being there is to wipe s.... The way these jobs are set up need to change. For one thing any other job that requires you to work with human bodily waist pays quite well and usually offers a good benifit package. Not cna jobs however. These jobs are probably the closest thing to slave labor there is in America. Not only this CNA's have to put up with the emotional problems of the nurses when they decide they are having a bad day and need to take it out on someone. It is a cr.. job that some are stuck into. Most facilities will not even celebrate the CNA holiday but, they will for the nurses. That is like a slap in the face when the CNA's are doing the majority of the one on one care of the residents.

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    Nursing assistants do have a full work load and are under appreciated and underpaid. The job requires a lot of stress on thier bodies and thier spirit. Extra efforts to keep CNA's showing up on time and motivated is a good idea and beneficial. Incenatives and educational oppertunities may play a role in the decision for a CNA to stay on board or jump ship. Remember, nurses are part of a medical team and nursing assisstants play an important role in patient care. Be a team player and contribute to increasing the morale of the workplace and provide support and encouragement to those who are carrying the load.

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    Nursing assistants are underpaid and under appriciated. By providing incenatives and educational oppertunities, perhaps more CNA's would find the field worthwhile. It may be the leading factor if an aide decides to stay aboard or jump ship. Remember, nurses are part of a medical team and CNA's play a key role as the patients primary caregiver. They are the eyes and ears for the nurse when the nurse is unavailable. They need reminded that thier job is important and that they are appriciated.

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    Super Moderator cougarnurse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cc student View Post
    Nursing assistants are underpaid and under appriciated. By providing incenatives and educational oppertunities, perhaps more CNA's would find the field worthwhile. It may be the leading factor if an aide decides to stay aboard or jump ship. Remember, nurses are part of a medical team and CNA's play a key role as the patients primary caregiver. They are the eyes and ears for the nurse when the nurse is unavailable. They need reminded that thier job is important and that they are appriciated.
    Oh, I agree with you! I have worked with many good CNA's, with a few 'slugs' thrown in for a balance.

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    Member Extraordinaire hppygr8ful's Avatar
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    In the job I currently have - we use unlicensed assitive personelle also known as direct care staff to provide care to our consumers. Some of them are very good but others are a nightmare. Constantly on their phones texting and talking, Not performing their duties, infighting among eachother. Not following Dr.s orders, calling off calling sick etc.....

    When they are hired they are told it's a minimum wage job working under stressful and challanging conditions. The wages and workload are not downplayed so when someonr accepts the job they know full well what it entails. If you don't like the job quit - it's that simple. I have gone to bat for good staff to get them perks and raises but when one of my clients goes into seizures because she's dehydrated or another get a whopping UTI because the staff won't follow simple hygiene instructions then they need to go. Yesturday I had to unclog a toilet in one of my facilities because the house staff refused to do it. (Now that's full service nursing) When I try to instruct them they say "I don't get paid enough to do that" My inclination is to tell them "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out." but I am a professional
    so I will soldier on.

    Anyway minimum wage here is $8.00 an hour and I know that when you pay bananas you get monkeys but sheesh......

    Peace

    Hppy

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    Super Moderator cougarnurse's Avatar
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    Hppy, I have told the staff, 'You see ME doing the stuff, don't you?' As for unclogging toilets, I am not a plumber, but I am sure they'd do it at their own house for crisesakes!

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    Hey in some area's CNA's actually make more then paramedics who work private ambulance companies. They certainly don't have the same level of liabilty and they don't have to work 24 hour shifts. Still, being a CNA is not a "career" oriented line of work. It "can" be an intro to health care for some, but if they use good judgement then they will see it is NOT the place to spend a lifetime of employment. Thats an opinion of course...

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    Junior Member EMTHOUSE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trimedic37 View Post
    Hey in some area's CNA's actually make more then paramedics who work private ambulance companies. They certainly don't have the same level of liabilty and they don't have to work 24 hour shifts. Still, being a CNA is not a "career" oriented line of work. It "can" be an intro to health care for some, but if they use good judgement then they will see it is NOT the place to spend a lifetime of employment. Thats an opinion of course...
    I get your opinion, emt's make shit and cna's make shit. Atleast up in MASS they do. Now to call a cna's job not a "career" well I would agree if it was the run of the mill nursing home where grandma and grandpa need help getting there clothes on, fine. In a hostipal cna's do alot more. That's more of a career, some people arent blessed with the sliver spoon (like me) to go to nursing school. Say what you want nursing school is expensive. I understand theres loans,grants,pell grants all sorts of goverment money out there to get to nursing school. Im a diffrent color and come from a middle class family. It's the truth. To say cna isnt a "career" you mite as well say emt isnt a "career" just a glorified taxi driver. So where does that leave me? Id be a nurse by now if I had the money to go to school.

  10. #10
    Member Extraordinaire hppygr8ful's Avatar
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    Expense of school

    Quote Originally Posted by EMTHOUSE View Post
    Id be a nurse by now if I had the money to go to school.
    True education of any kind is expensive but so worth the investment. My dad used to say that education is the only thing no one can ever take away from you is education. When I went to nusring school I did it at a community college where the tuition was quite reasonable. Books were expensive but there are ways to find affordable texts as well.

    Bottom line of you want to be an RN stick to your dream. Look for alternatives that make it affordable. But getting your RN right now isn't the shoe in to a better career that it used to be. In the current economy many new grads are taking up to two years to land their forst job and wages in general are virtually guaranteed to decrease as health care reform goes into action. (if it's not repealed we'll all be making less than $20.00 and hour when the govt takes over our paychecks).

    Peace

    Hppy

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