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Thread: What's up with the sexism with CNA's

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    What's up with the sexism with CNA's

    I moved 8 months ago and was an EMT-I in an ER. The EMT did not transfer states and with the different protocols I don't think it would be a path I want to go back into.

    I took my CNA and have been working in LTC for 6 months.

    I work night shift on an “end of life” wing; all most hospice. We have 25 beds 3 CNA's, 1 LPN, and 1 RN. Can you say over staffed?

    Every day the other CNA's need help. Most of the time it is lifting someone, or they have someone that wants to talk, but “they don't have time”. They know that it put's me into a spot that I have to help, but at the same time why do I need to hold another CNA's hand.

    We are “no lift” and if you do have to lift a RN must witness the lift. Every night at least 5 times I get asked to help move someone. I don't understand if it's the slings that are to heavy or is it something to do with “up” is lift and “down” is lower.

    Last night one of the other CNA's told a resident that I would discuss the bible with him. I will discuss anything, but I refuse to discuss religion with anyone. I don't even talk about the bible with my residents, but I will sit there, listen, and will read them a few verses if they want.
    When she asked for help I had one of my residents in the tub soaking and I was sitting with him talking about the theory of electrical generation. When she told me he wanted to talk about the bible I about slapped the ___ out of her. After spending 20 minutes with the resident I find the CNA standing out side smoking than went right to the break room.

    There is one CNA that gets freaked out every time one of her residents die and is about useless the rest of the shift. I don't get why she's working on a wing that is all most hospice.

    I have talked to my RN's about this a few times, but they just tell me to bit my lip and help when asked.
    I did talk to my unit manager about this once and she said she would talk to them.
    Is this normal and something I just need to live with?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    After reading your post, I got the sense that there was more than gender discrimination going on. First, having worked for many years in numerous health care settings, I can assure you that men will always be asked to help lift even if there is equipment and policy in place to discourage that. I think it has more to do with social wiring than laziness and just accept that it is going to happen. I really don't mind.

    Now about those lazy coworkers who call you to do something and then go outside to smoke, you do have a few options. If this is a chronic, well established practice of one or two you can speak to them directly if you are good at non-confrontational communication. This is the harder thing to do but has the potential to be more effective for fixing the problem but make sure that your own work habits are impeccable because there will be an attempt at retaliation and you don't want to be guilty of the same or another infraction. The other option is to continue to speak to the charge nurse reporting just the facts without personal attack but be careful to not become a chronic complainer. This is a problem everywhere and sometimes it's easier in the long run to just focus on getting the work done.

    I'm not sure you realize this but the other part of your post reveals something very positive about you specifically, that you have the ability to handle very stressful or challenging situations. You write that you are asked to attend to patients who want to talk about deeply personal or controversial things which you do, but it frustrates you that you are always put into that situation. Why do YOU get asked? Whether or not you enjoy the conversations is not as important as the fact that you go to the patients' bedside and talk with them. Institutionalized people are starved for quality interaction. Although superficial chit-chat goes on while their personal needs are being met, many are missing meaningful conversation. Discussion about career work, politics and family is important and is generally "safe" territory for most people, but among the elderly, matters of eternity, God, and "what happens when you die" are foremost on their mind and when the subject comes up, others duck and hide and you get called in. Having someone who is willing to talk about these things is rare. Caring for people at the end of life has the potential to be one of the most stressful occupations. People who do it well are highly empathic, intuitive and secure and because of this, are able to provide the needed support to not only the dying but family as well. This highly specialized profession seems to be a natural fit for you but understand that it isn't for everyone in fact, among all of the health professions, Hospice and EOL care attract very few.

    You put your personal convictions aside, identify the needs of another person, and carry out whatever is required. Even when it pushes your buttons, stretches your boundaries or taps into some deep fear or weakness, you do it. These are characteristics of an emotionally evolved, mature, deeply caring person. Consider it a gift you give to the people whose care is entrusted to you and continue being the excellent nursing professional that you seem to be. No doubt there are people you work with who admire you for what you do and consider the possibility that the most critical could really jealous of you. Please don't under-estimate the value of what you offer because it comes easy to you and try not to judge others who for one reason or another, cannot take that "emotionally charged step" you take all the time. Try to be patient and even supportive of your coworkers who struggle with it and maybe consider mentoring. The ones you write about who turf the hard stuff to you or sit around while you pick up the slack will always be there so try to not let them get you down because they're just there for the paycheck and instead, turn your attention to those patients AND coworkers who rely on you. Also, think about personal growth and enrichment like continuing your education because it is a better use of your time and will prevent toxic build up of anger and resentment. I think you have a lot to offer.

    Stay in touch,

    Last edited by Ricu; 07-05-2013 at 08:19 AM.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Thank you Ricu.

    Before I posted that I had 2 deaths out of the 9 residents I had. That was the same night I got pushed into someone wanting to talk religion. I know that made me irritable.

    I feel that a good part of it is gender and part is work ethics. This morning I had a meeting with my unit manager and the RN that I work with the most. A few cobwebs were pushed out of the wood work. The unit manager pulled out a bunch of letters from family members of the residents I have taken care of. It helped me out a lot seeing the feed back from families.

    I'm careful about complaining to my nurses, but when I feel that helping others affects the work with my residents I do speak up. I keep a log at work about what I do with each resident and give it to my RN when the page fills up or she comes to get it from me every couple of hours. The CNA's don't chart where I'm at. It is very evident from my notes when I get pulled away from my residents. Last thing I would ever want is for my nurses to stop trusting me and for them to start marking my linens like they do to my coworkers.

    My mother raised us with old school work ethics and I know that makes a difference. I'm not good working with lazy or people that do not give 99% at work every day. Your right about EOL care not for a lot of people. I'm getting an intern starting tonight and I just hope he/she is going to be able to handle the 40 hours that they will spend with me.

    Talking with residents is something a lot of people can not or will not take to the time to do. Your defiantly right about politics and religion being the things not to talk about. I have not had a resident yet that wanted to talk about politics. There are a lot of times that I read up on subjects so I'm able to talk about the things residents want to talk about.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    "You put your personal convictions aside, identify the needs of another person, and carry out whatever is required. Even when it pushes your buttons, stretches your boundaries or taps into some deep fear or weakness, you do it. These are characteristics of an emotionally evolved, mature, deeply caring person. " - I really agree with this! hope to hear you're getting there.

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