Working as a Certified Nursing Assistant has many benefits, not least of which is great satisfaction in doing a job which helps others whilst building your own confidence and a career, and while the benefits come as a welcome side effect of working as a CNA, there are other aspects to the job which do not appeal to many such as long hours, tiring work and sometimes little respect from those being cared for.
The day to day life of a CNA can be both a mixture of the mundane, and the totally surprising. Most days will pass by without incidents of note, general duties being performed, lunch breaks with colleagues and going home on time. Other days though can throw a CNA seriously curvy curve balls, emergency situations requiring quick thinking and fast actions, emotional distress from patient circumstances, and sometimes violent, abusive or just plain old fashioned rudeness, whatever comes the CNA’s way must be dealt with professionally and calmly, not matter what the potential outcome, or the provocation.
Routine breaks, and a fixed time to go home cannot be part of a CNA’s job requirements, certified nursing assistants need to be flexible, and willing to give up their own time (within reason) to deal with the job as and when required. Colleagues off sick, emergencies during the day, comforting a patient etc all can cause the CNA to drop behind schedule for their days duties, but the duties don’t disappear simply because the clock says its 5pm, a CNA must be prepared to work extra time when these days come around.
Patients, generally, are very good natured. Many are going through tough times, serious illness, often terminal illness, but most will treat their carers with respect and do what they can not to cause anybody to much of a problem while being cared for. There are of course times when a CNA will encounter a patient that can be extremely upset, distressed, anxious, angry or even physically violent, these occasions (particularly violent occasions) are rare, but they can and do happen. As a CNA your response to them is always expected to be professional and understanding, which in the heat of the moment is not always easy, so knowing these things can happen beforehand, and being prepared for them, will help you have some perspective if, and when, these occurrences do happen.
Cleanliness is very important in any care environment, particularly in hospitals and old age care homes that often have patients that are very weak and susceptible to viruses and infections that can on occasion be fatal. Part of a CNA’s job will nearly always involve ensuring a clean and safe environment is maintained, for both the good of the patients and the other staff. CNA’s are not cleaners, and are not expected to be doing cleaning duties, but they are expected to do their part in ensuring all patients reside in a clean environment and to report as appropriate any areas that they feel are not being maintained as well as they should be by other departments. Cleanliness in care settings is a serious issue, and should not be taking lightly given the potential for fatalities and serious disease and virus outbreaks.
Like a job in any workplace, certified nursing assistant will be part of a team, and as part of a team will be expected to help out colleagues when required and offer their assistance when a colleague is struggling with something, be it a high stress patient situation, or the clean up of a dropped pot of coffee. The work atmosphere is usually lighthearted (while remaining professional) for the most part, with staff relaxed as they go about their business, the switch from lighthearted to intensely focused when required though is immediate, a sudden emergency will get everyone concentrated on what needs to be done, and a CNA needs to make sure they recognise this switch in attitude and adapt to the fast developing situation themselves.
Overall day to day life as a certified nursing assistant will be enjoyable, challenging and fun, and many people enjoy the work and look forward to going in to work each new day, there are times when its a tough job to do, but the rewarding nature of the role, and the sense of self satisfaction in helping others and making a difference to peoples lives is something most jobs don’t offer, and is the reason so many people have a desire to become a certified nursing assistant.