Before I entered nursing school I decided it would be best to work in the environment before making the commitment. I took a six week course and got my certification to become a nurse’s aide. Being an aide was one of the most eye-opening experiences for me. Never in my life would I imagine the amount of hard work and labor that goes into performing this job.
My first CNA job was in the ICU at the local hospital. I immediately took to my job. I am usually a fast learner, but I really had a passion for working with these patients. It was very important to provide these patients and their families with quality care. My duties required a load of eight critical patients in one shift.
My job was to bath, dress, assist with feeding, ambulate, and provide companionship. In addition, I would provide dressing changes, keep strict counts of intakes and outputs, and stock the rooms. It was almost next to impossible to get all of these tasks completed in an eight hour shift. I was exhausted after every shift but still enjoyed participating in patient care. In addition to the grueling work, the pay was horrible. It was dumbfounding to realize the amount of pay received for the work put in. I guess that’s life huh?
Being a student nurse, I realize how important this training was for my advancement in the program. I am more comfortable than most students performing patient care tasks, so I guess that gives me one leg up!
At many universities, it is mandatory to become a CNA before getting accepted into a nursing program. I personally think this should be the case at every school. This type of patient centered training provides a great foundation for the nursing skills taught in the universities. It prepares the student to utilize communication skills with both patients and staff, and it serves to test the student to see if they are cut out for the job of nursing. In my opinion, CNA’s have one of the toughest jobs in healthcare. They are overworked and underpaid. If you work with someone who is a CNA, tell them how much their hard work and dedication is appreciated. They will in turn be grateful for the acknowledgment of their fellow peers and feel they are truly helping to make a difference!