7 Things you should know before becoming a CNA

I’ve had my licensing for almost four years now. I absolutely love working as a certified nursing assistant! The job isn’t for everyone though, keep reading to decide whether or not you should start this journey. 

1. It’s exhausting work. 

I mean sure, we’re only on the floor for an average of 8 hours a day. We have to sit at some point during our shift to do our charting. But if you work morning shift, for the first three hours AT LEAST you’re running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off trying to get your 54 residents up and dressed for the day. Then once everyone is finally out of bed, it’s time to take them to the bathroom again and bring them back for lunch. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t need to take a nap after work. 

2. You will cherish the relationships you develop with your clients. 

There is no better feeling than walking into work for the day and having a resident with dementia, who can’t remember her own family, recognizes you. You become family, whether you try to or not. These people, these human beings, are trapped inside a body that doesn’t work like it used to. They are trapped inside of a nursing home, missing their family who can’t come visit everyday. A common saying in this field is, “You can tell who’s here for the money, and who’s here for the residents.” That couldn’t be more true! Instead of rushing your client to get dressed, take it a little slower. Ask how many kids they have, where they lived. Learn who they are and what they’ve been through, I promise you won’t regret it. 

3. You aren’t “supposed to” have a favorite resident, but you will. 

Have you ever met a lady who is 103 years old, half blind, half your size, and is literally the sweetest human you’ve ever met? I have. They will steal your heart, no doubt about it. You’re spending almost everyday helping your resident to literally live. You spend countless hours getting to know someone, sometimes without even realizing it.  

4. You will be under-appreciated.  

Unfortunately, certified nursing assistant’s are known as “professional ass-wipers”. Which some maybe are pros at it, but the rest of us just want to be recognized for everything we do; not just assisting someone’s grandma to the bathroom. We are depended on emotionally and physically. We hold them while they’re in tears, trying to fins a family member. We pick them up when they fall down. We become a friend when theirs have passed on. We make sure they’re getting the exercise they need to keep their ability to walk. See where i’m going with this?

5. If you have a weak stomach, it’s not the job for you. 

As humans age, we start to lose control over things like our bladder and bowels. There’s nothing anyone can do about it. Working as a CNA, you’ll be faced with some of the nastiest jobs. And I mean nasty. But while you’re cleaning up a mess, just remember why you’re cleaning it. Because the person who’s in your care simply can’t clean it themselves. They need you for that. And if you weren’t there, it wouldn’t get cleaned up. 

6. It’s a GREAT job for anyone aspiring to be an RN. 

Most facilities that i’ve worked at offer not only scholarships, but very flexible scheduling you fit around school. There is a shortage of CNA’s all over, nursing homes are almost begging for workers. If your shift is normally 2pm-10pm but you won’t be done with class until 4pm, by talking with the supervisor most places will allow you to come in late. They also offer tuition reimbursement if you continue working for their company after school. 

7. You will meet some of the most genuine people in the area…and also some of the worst. 

Remember what I said earlier? You can tell who’s there for the money and who’s there for the residents? This is where that will really shine. My first job, I worked with a lady I will never forget. She was from another country and didn’t speak the best english. Every time I went to her side to clean, she would start screaming at me (in another language) and then get even more mad when I asked her what she was saying to me. She also used to abuse the residents, but she worked noc shift so it was hard to catch her. We would all take turns working with her and kept our phones recording in our pockets so we had something to give to the state. Needless to say, she’s not a caregiver anymore. 

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton