What an RN should never ask of a CNA

Image: image100 Photography | Veer

Any nurse worth their weight in water knows, understand, values and appreciates the function and role every CNA plays in the delivery of our patient care. And yet, I still see RN’s treating their CNA team member horribly.

Here is the best piece of advice I can give to any RN out there when delegating to their CNA team members:

Never delegate out of sheer personal convenience.

Too many times I have seen/heard/witnessed an RN/LPN delegate a task to a CNA simply because it was inconvenient for them. We all know the stories and the urban legends of CNAs always doing the dirty work (bed baths & bedpans to name a few), while the RN/LPN walks away. I have seen them answer a call bell, then learn they need to get their hands dirty. They walk back out of the room and call/delegate the task. Are there actually people out there who believe that once they are licensed, they don’t need to get their hands dirty???


Click to the next page to continue reading!

Pages: 1 2 View All

, , , , ,

Scrubs Editor

The Scrubs Staff would love to hear your ideas for stories! Please submit your articles or story ideas to us here.

Post a Comment

You must or register to post a comment.

141 Responses to What an RN should never ask of a CNA

  1. John

    The best nurses I know started their healthcare careers as CNA’s. I was a “NA” before the “C” was required, I remember the treatment we got. My CNA’s are my most valuable tool!

    • Sean Dent

      @John, I was never an aide (CNA), but I agree with your concept absolutely.

    • Teresa

      Thank you so much for writing this. I am a CNA in nursing school and I am often insulted by the way im treated by most of the floor nurses. Ive been yelled at in front of patients for not being in two places at once while the nurse sat and gossipped at the station! I vow as a nurse I will treat my CNAs like gold..because they are a very important part of patient care!

      • Sean Dent

        @Teresa Hang in there! So glad you understand the value of the CNAs.

      • kygal67

        i hope you remember where you came from those nurses that were cna’s are the worst for treating cna’s bad

        • TD

          Titles should not make a difference. That said as an RN I’ve helped with floor care only to see CNAs waltz out on time and Im still trying to catch up my assigned duties. 😕
          Goes both ways. Too many people take their phone to way too often.

  2. I had this LPN stick her head in a room as I had just come back from showering an obese patient and was drenched in sweat and water tell me to be sure to put powder under her fat rolls. She spent more time telling me what powder to use and where to put it then to actually take the 10 seconds to do it herself. She also wanted to change the sme person’s sacral bandage after a brief change but since I could not safely change the person’s brief myself I asked for her assistance. She pondered helping me but left and said she would just do it when I had found another cna (who was busy with her own hall mind you).

    • Sean Dent

      @anon Thanks for sharing your story. So sorry.

    • carmenroxasalmero

      I worked as an LVN wound care nurse and I couldn’t have done my job without the assistance of the CNAs. I also learned to turn patients by myself because I never felt that finishing my job was more important than any CNA’s and having them stop what they were doing just so they could help me finish my job first. God bless the CNAs!

  3. Evelyn

    I am in complete agreement. I could not do what I do without them. A good CNA is worth their weight in gold. I also was an NA then an LVN before I became an RN.

  4. Alana RN

    I was a CNA, LPN and now an RN and my nurses’s aids are my eyes and ears. They see and hear things before I do sometimes without them my job is twice as hard. Don’t ask an aid to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself. God bless all CNA’s. :))

    • Sean Dent

      @Alana Well said!

    • northwestpa

      When you use words or phrases such as “my nurses aides” it just confirms what this article is all about. Poor choice of words.

  5. Alana RN

    I was a CNA, LPN and now and RN and my CNA’s are my eyes and ears. They see and hear things most times before I do and without them my job would be twice as hard. Don’t ever ask a CNA to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself. Just saying…

  6. colleen miller cna

    thank you for supporting us cna’s .almost all of us including myself pride ourself’s in the work we do.

  7. Kim

    I greatly appreciate and thank you for writing about CNA’s and the work we do! Too many times I have witnessed RNs who do not understand that we are here to “enable” you to do your jobs more efficiently, not to make it “easier”……..there’s a difference between the two. I hope more will read what you have written and incorporate it into their daily functions!

    • Sean Dent

      @Kim You are very welcome. “are here to “enable” you to do your jobs more efficiently, not to make it “easier” – well said!

  8. suzi

    I have seen many an RN treat LPN’s this way too!

    As a matter of fact, it is the main reason I am working from LPN to RN now.
    I am tired of Rn’s treating me like dirt and having to prove their “power”. I hope to set a good example when I get my RN & all my former
    CNA’s said they would be glad to work for me.

    • Sean Dent

      @Suzi as a current RN I look forward to you starting your new role! Hang in there! And thank you.

    • sjfantini

      Remember, they don’t work for you but with you.

    • UndrCvrNurse007

      Not THIS Lpn!! I refused to be talked down to, because that’s not the way it should be and not called for. I’ve put many disrespectful RN’s in their place and reminded them that we are supposed to be on the same team! It’s all in what you put up with and how you conduct yourself! There are something you just shouldn’t put up with…

  9. annonymous

    @sean- thank you for your compassion. Sadly my experince as a cna at the ltc location aforementioned has convinced me that I will not be a floor nurse (I love the elderly). There was so much negativity amongst the staff, a SERIOUS lack of management, and frankly just a depressing environment because most of the residents got the bare minimum treatment. It’s a shame too because I really love the elderly and was really looking forward to improvong the resident’s quality of lives. Also in my clincal experiences I feel like floor nursing is chaotic, disorganized, fatally flawed, and… Hostile. After I have my RN I will probably just continue my education and eventually work in administration or policy.

    • kjkamk

      I can tell you that not all places are like that and there are some places who give quality and quantity of care to their patients. I have worked in negative environments and we turned it around as the staff. I heard a lecturer challenge a group of college freshman who were complaining about the government, their city, their state, etc. “They suck!” She turned it around on them and said “Maybe YOU suck!” All depends on your perspective.

      • orlyroseCNA_SVN

        I currently work at a convalescent hospital I like my job. I don’t like my bosses there are some charge nurses I don’t particularly care for. I plan to go for my rn after my lvn and I just keep thinking about how I won’t have to get treated like crap by my bosses. The rn’s at my work are super nice thankfully. But that job is highly underpaid and we get thrown under the bus so much (had a patient throw me under when I did nothing wrong) I’m amazed at how hard cna’s work for that. I’m going to love my cna’s when I’m an rn and lvn. GOOOOOO CNA’S <3!!!!!!!

    • zlatajagoda

      They need your compassion. Please don’t let some negative nellies push you to administration if that’s not your true passion. The elderly get the short end of the stick so often.

      • Mary Anderson

        I absolutely love this article. I’m a CNA on a med/surg floor but before working at the hospital I worked at a nursing home, in the Alzheimer’s unit. I worked with RN’s and LVN’s and the nurses who actually treated their CNA’s like garbage were the LVN’s. The RN that I worked with and LOVED taught me a lot of stuff and actually started her health care career as a CNA in the same exact nursing home I was starting mine at. The nurses and doctors I work with now on a daily basis appreciate their CNA’s. Several of them have went to my supervisor and asked to get me clone. The hospital I am at only has one night CNA and that’s me so when a department gets to have me that night they really appreciate it. I’m willing to bend over backwards for my nurses if they treat me with respect and are willing to help me when I need the help. I’m the type of CNA who ask the nurse to help me with every little thing, in fact I like to pick their brains and learn more so I can make their job easier and also use the information thet gave me for future reference when I go back into school.I understand in some instances CNA’s always want the nurses help and such because lets face it, some people are only in the healthcare field because of money. The majority of us that isn’t the answer. I know now though that most nurses cherish their aides. I was actually scolded at by a nurse because I said I’m just a cna. She told me otherwise. CNA’s you are appreciated!!! Don’t let a few bad apples make you feel terrible.

  10. Sean Dent

    @anon I’m sorry to hear about your negative experiences. I CAN tell you that we make our own experiences with each step in our career. I hope you find what you are looking for. Best of luck.

  11. Abby

    I wonder why cna s get paid so little for doing more work than anyone else? I was a cna in a ltc and got laid off at the beginning of the recession. I had been the last one hired. I had to move states so that I would be able to start my two years of certification over. I still have not found a job. The only one job that I was offered was for $7 an hour. That’s less than minimum wage and they were only offering me six hours a week. I am in school for my rn, just started, and I have tio take odd-jobs just to slip by. My certification is expiring in a month and then I’ll have nothing

  12. Nurse Rene

    Great article Sean!
    I, too, started out as a “Nurses’ Aide’ and worked my way through a 2-yr. RN program. The one thing I would add is: Never Ask Someone to do What You Are Not Willing to do Yourself!
    Honestly, I have, on quite few occasions picked keeping my unit’s CNA OVER an RN who did not know the ‘territory’.
    A good experienced CNA is invaluable to the rest of us!

    • kare44

      You shouldn’t have to ‘pick’ one or the other…that to me is unprofessional behavior. In units where there’s an unspoken culture or ‘territory’ and you either fit in or you don’t are detrimental and completely unfair to the person being ostracized…I’ve seen experienced nurses and others display that behavior and I’ve lost a lot of respect for the gossipy kind of people that pick on the select few that are different. That energy could be spent helping the person acclimate or actually having the maturity to keep them informed of how they can improve

  13. Candace

    Thank you so much for this post!
    There are so many times that I dread going into work because I just know my busy day will only be worsened by a nurse who is too afraid of hard work.
    I am very thankful to be an aide and when I finally graduate nursing school I will appreciate and respect every CNA I work with.

  14. trinak88

    As a CNA, we can pretty much tell if our nurse has been an aide or not. I had one nurse tell me that “it was not in her job description to be nice to the aides or to make their jobs easier.” Needless to say everyone hates her, and she is always wondering why she cant find anyone to help her do her work.

  15. Linda D

    I could not agree with you more. I spent a great deal of my nursing career teaching nursing assistant courses. The folks who come to this job are not looking for a huge paycheck. They care for patients out of personal love and kindness, and choose this area of nursing because they honestly care about people. My advice to all nurses is to embrace these angels, and NEVER ask them to do anything that you (nurse) would not be willing to push up your sleeves and do yourself. They can be your most wonderful asset, or your biggest adversary. You choose!

    • kjkamk

      Absolutely. Never ask someone to do what you would not do.

  16. tloomisrn

    When I worked in the hospital, our CNA’s were the backbone of our team. I would have never survived some of my shifts without their help and dedication to our patients.

  17. estela40

    I have had the privilege of having the best CNAs, but they respond best when you treat them as human being. many are just lazy but still respond if you let them know what is expected of them during your shift.

  18. kjkamk

    TRUE. It sounds like you also worked on the other side of the equation, as did I. I literally have heard people say “I’m an RN, that’s not my job.” to which I reply – “Yes it is! Did you not read your job description? ‘and ANY other duties as assigned.'”

  19. DanidelionRN

    I think that while an RN should not be just avoiding helping people because it’s CNA work… CNAs should also not assume that a nurse who delegates something to them, is doing so for that reason, either. I have worked as a CNA, and now I am an RN, and on occasion, when I have been walking down the hallway on my way to attend to something, I will poke my head in where someone’s call light was on, to see what they needed, and then flag down an aid, if they needed to be toileted, etc; because while CNAs do a lot of work, and I can do parts of their job…. they cannot do mine. At the end of the day, I am responsible for a lot more dimensions of care than the CNAs under me are, and making sure that my patients get their meds and their treatments, and their new orders processed and their families notified of important changes, etc, is more important than me doing part of the CNA’s job, unless I have free time to help them, and am not otherwise occupied. I’ve been a CNA, and I know what it’s like- and that’s why I also know that it’s not impossible work. I’ll help if an aide asks directly, but often, I stay late charting in the first place, because i didn’t even have time to sit to chart during my shift- so no, I don’t have time to do what I delegated to you.

    • kare44

      Thank you for voicing the truth!!! These comments about ‘don’t do what you’re not willing to do yourself’ is not the problem. It’s a time issue. I’ll see people sitting at the station giving me attitude every time I ask for help or disappear because they don’t want to work. I guess I’m at fault in the sense that I expect my co-workers to work as hard as I do and I am always running around. Just because an rn is living in the pt’s room doesn’t mean they have the time to complete every task. The same can be said for a cna. Of course, there’s always the amazing outliers- RNs and cnas who have the energy to work hard

    • neon2212

      Management neglected to ask me in the interview if I could turn your 781 pound patient by myself so, no, delegating me this task is negligent on your part. If your CNA asks for assistance DO IT because your license is the one in total charge of patient care.

    • rnowakowski

      I agree! If I am passing meds, or doing an admission, or on my way to do a lengthy wound treatment, I will have the aide put someone on a bed pan, or get ice water. Also, I will not stop charting to answer a call bell if there is an aide at the nursing station not busy. That being said, I do answer call bells, and not just for my patients. I do collect trays, and toilet people, and clean up vomit. Never having been an aide, I can admit that it is not strong point. I have a lot of respect for aides because want they do is often unappreciated. I think if everyone works as a team it makes the shift easier for all.

  20. kmillersocal

    Thank you for taking the time out to write this! I was an NA in the late 80’s, a CNA in the early 90’s. I took an 18 year break from nursing for many reasons of which one was the way I was treated. Now I am an LVN and start school again in the Fall for my RN.

    Just out of personal observations, some of the best nurses started as NA/CNA’s.

    I think LVN/RN’s can all agree that we would be lost without the strength and compassionate care provided to our patients by of our CNA’s.

    Hugs to all CNA’s xxxxx

  21. Nurse Rene

    WOW, Sean! You hit a Grand Slam with this one! Congrats!

  22. shellystemm

    I have CNA,Rn’s & LPN’s working in my home and had an LPN look at the CNA and snap her fingers said clean up on isle 5. I was horrified she had said that to the person that has more hands on with me and spends 6hrs./ day with me to her 45 min / day. I made it very clear that she was no better than my CNA!!! You all are very valueable to me and my care. THANK YOU!!!

  23. Pingback: What Nurses Shouldn't Ask CNT's To Do - Just Us Nurses is a forum created by nurses, for nurses. Discover the benefits of an online nursing community! Tell us about your nursing career or nursing school experiences.

  24. emt88

    I appreciate this article being posted. I am not a CNA- I am an EMT Intermediate. I essentially have all the qualifications of a Paramedic except there are several cardiac medications I cannot give.. however, I am enrolled in Nursing school and working in a local Trauma/ER as a Patient Care Tech. The majority of the nurses treat the tech like they are ignorant. I have many times brought to the attention of the primary nurse a significant vital sign change or change in mentation of a patient, only to be looked at like I am inappropriately overstepping a boundary by advocating in the patients best interest. I have witnessed a nurse chart a respiratory rate of “18” for an adult patient who I witnessed breathing close to “38” times a minute- when I asked her about it she went on to give me education on how DKA patients often breath fast… This is something I already knew and the unwanted advice did nothing to clear up the question of why she was falsely documenting a vital sign on a patient who was – as she said – in DKA and hyperventilating. The majority of the other ER techs are phlebotomist or CNAs that are cross trained to start IVs, draw blood, perform EKGs etc and I see them getting treated worse than me. I have seen even the strongest nurses trick these other techs into doing things that clinically should not be delegated- because the nurse didn’t want to get up and quit texting on her phone. I agree with other CNAs who have posted- this gives me an exact indication of the type of RN I never want to be. It is sadly a large majority of the nursing staff, not just one or two and not just one one shift. It is unacceptable and I wish more nurses were aware and recognized this as an issue. Some of us have clinical background- I am licensed on an ambulance to assess, treat, medicate, diagnose, intubate and trasnport any patient of any age – trauma or medical. I have worked more codes in the past 8 years than some veteran RNS have in their entire career. It has been a very eye opening experience to see how I am treated and I appreciate the rare oppourtunity I have to see it from this position so that I can have even more respect for the CNAs when I become an RN. Because, like many nurses mentioned on here- when the going gets tough- the CNA is who keeps you afloat and typically knows what you need before you know you need it!!! Thank you for posting this issue!

    • nwrn

      As an RN, I loved my CNA’s and ER techs. They were team players and I could not have been a strong PCU nurse without them. I often bought them lattes from our coffee stand, and whenever appropriate I would openly acknowledge their contributions. Give credit where credit is due, CNA’s are worth their weight in gold. Our strongest CNA’s often got my “Go to nursing school!” lecture!

  25. Judy Smith

    I worked as a CNA in a hospital, but quit my job because I was treated like crap by 3 of the nurses I worked under. Have my own business taking care of people in their homes and going to school to get my nursing degree. I wil never treat my CNA’s the way I was treated.

    • neon2212

      Judy, what type of licensing did you need to do to start this home healthcare business? I’m very interested in doing the same. Thank you!

  26. lizguy

    As a three yr CAN in my pre-core, I appreciate the chatizement of not “just the aide”. I. Have had the priveledge of working with 30< vetran nurses who wouldn't tolerate me calling myself "just the aide"
    I also have worked with rookie nurses who had the education, but the fear of being hands on. There is a huge difference between the nurse who says they know what to do, and the nurse who walks away having done it. :)

  27. lphillips0027

    I appreciate all aides whether NA’s or CNA’s. I was NA for 3 years prior to becoming an RN and being appreciated went a long way! Thank you’d go even further! So for all the aides out there. THANK YOU!

  28. Pattimelt

    My daughter is a CNA on a bone marrow transplant floor. She works hard and loves her patients and her nurses and they love her. However, it is hard to make a living being a cna. She has been with this hospital since March 2011 and got her first raise in August 2012 and it was 13 cents an hour even though her review was excellent. She was crushed because she loves what she does and loves the one on one patient care. It is sad that the jobs that are so important pay so little. I told her she needs to go to nursing school but she said the nurses do lots of paperwork and do not get to spend as much time with the patients. They are on the phone with the doctors and such. She was crushed. Thank you cnas for all you do! Where would hospitals be without you!

  29. jetalynne

    After working in a nursing home on a division where I could have up to 28 patients, I really understood how important my CNAs were! Often times my division would be short an aide and I would be left with 2 CNAs and myself, along with the Med Tech who was busy passing meds on 2 divisions…not once did I ever just sit around and delegate simple tasks that I could do myself to my aides! Every aide I worked with thanked me for helping them with stuff, and always told me how none of the other nurses would even dare to help with some of the simplest things! I was just appalled! I have only been a nurse for about a year now, but never will I just leave my CNAs hanging, I couldn’t do my job without them!

  30. kreinarn

    I started my career as a CNA, then went on to be a SN in both the floor and ICU environment. I remember thinking that when I graduated I never wanted to be treated the way I was treated or be thought of as lazy. I got my RN in 2009 and have worked as at 2 different locations at an ICU. One was a step down/ ICU unit in one with an acute side and a subside. Out of the 7 CNAs in that hospital unit only 2 helped out. One actually would verbally abuse both nurses and patients but due to the union they were a part of nothing could be done I was told. While one of my patients arrested and I was at this bedside on the subside that night, my other patient called several times only to have the calls hung up. As a result this patient called 911 and managed to fall attempting to get the bedpan. All the while, the CNA was reading for school at the nurses’ station and I was pushing meds in another room slowly coding my other patient. I filed a complaint and soon after left the job. I felt it was unsafe to have no help. In my current job, I experience the same situation. I bathe my own patients, QC my glucometers, stock my supplies and linen, call for environmental services when needed, and get my own EKGs and lab draws. There is only one CNA on our unit that will actually help. Most of the time the charge nurse will help with turns or we ask each other out of fear that we will a) get verbally abused b) it will not get done. I guess my point is that it happens in both spectrums depending on where you work. My experience the last 4 years with CNAs has been negative to say the least.

  31. melodyrhyme2005

    I have read most of the comments posted and agree, Just like the RN is the eyes and ears of the MD, CNA’s are the eyes and ears of us RN”s and are at the foundation of good patient care. I am a pretty new RN and have been working in a LTC facility for the past 10 months. Taking care of 20 to 23 patients sometimes makes you feel like only a pill pusher, allowing you not as much time to do the vital assessments as you would like. I do try and help out my CNA’s when I have the time. (and sometimes when I dont because the resident is in immideate danger – which makes for those “crazy shifts” that all nurses just LOVE…) On VERY rare occasions am I able to take the two 15 minute breaks and sometimes do not get my 30 minute dinner break because I would rather see my family rather than stay 1 hour or an hour and a half after my shift ends ( especially when my shifts supposed to end at 10 pm at night and my stop time is at 1130pm at night, with a daughter that gets up at 0630). This is part of the RN world that many do not think about. Sometimes it feels like the paperwork never ends and those 8 to 12 patients you have to write a narritive on ( usually a paragragh and a half to two paragraphs, if you REALLY want to CYOB from legal liability) are never going to get done. Or the 3 lab draws, 10 head to toe assessments/10 Vital Signs, and the 5 skin assessments you have to get done before you med pass for 20 to 23 residents( Including the 6 residents with Accu Checks and coverage) starts 2 hours into your shift. Then starts the 2 hour med pass , which this WILL take you 2 hours if you are very dilligent about your pass, with those 6 resident you give insulin to. This is half of my 8 hour shift. Then you MAY get an hour of calmness to start charting on your residents, which take approximately 8 minutes a piece if you go into the specificity you are supposed to on why they need our care, what assessment, intervention and evaluations you did to help that resident( Indispensible for getting reimbursed for care from private pay/medicaid for resident care). Easily an hour and 1/2 work of paperwork. Then another med pass starts and if you work 2-10 that means another 23 people to pass pills on, which may take an hour and a half if your lucky with another round of 6 accu checks and coverage.By the time your done with this workload, you have an hour and a half to fit in your 30 dinner and to finish charting on 4 – 6 more residents. Leaving you approximately 15 to 20 minutes in the shift as “down time”….of course, you havent cleaned off your med cart, restocked it or replaced meds and write down on a pharmacy reorder sheet which meds you need….damn, there goes another 15 minutes….This countdown doesnt even include when you have an admit, someone falls, or someone needs immideate intervention which can happen at any moment on ANY shift. Helping aides is important,but I hope they remember in turn an RN”s usual schedule and what all he/she HAS to complete during thier shift for the team that only they can do as an RN and come in under the dreaded OVERTIME for the company. Sometimes RN’s feel undervalued and scathed upon because we HAVE to delegate those things that a CNA can help us with….myself and the other 2 to 4 nurses on the floor are the only ones who can complete our assessment or provide the interventions needed by the patient….and they have their own patients as well. In my point of view its not really about how much nurses help out their CNA’s, but how much the TEAM is willing to lean on eachother to get the things done that need to be done. Just remember the RN has ALOT on her plate as well and is under ALOT of pressure.

  32. Steve_RN

    I appreciate our CNA’s greatly, they are awesome, efficient and keep our unit rocking!

  33. bailsto

    I was a CNA and I am now a LPN I value my CNA’s and they know it….they are totally under appreciated and a much valued part of the team…thank you for all you do

  34. amatherwin

    I am an RN but I don’t treat my CNA/LNA that way. They are an important part of the patient care team and I do appreciate them.

  35. judontmesswithme

    I work in nursing homes and I love CNAs. I just wanted to voice my appreciation for them. I also worked at a hospital and appreciated my Patient Care Technicians!

  36. jennren

    I’m really glad to see so many nurses really appreciate their CNA’s. I’m working as a CNA while going to VN school and plan to continue on to RN. I’ve heard many nursing students say they want to be a nurse so they don’t have to do the dirty work. I have been quick to remind them they don’t want to become the nurse we CNA’s hate to work with. Ultimately the patients are the ones that suffer when the nursing staff doesn’t work as a team.

  37. Amused66

    I’m sorry to say, but as far as LTC is concerned your words fall on deaf ears. I’ve worked in several different LTC facilities,and it was always the same attitude with different surroundings. In fact the overall degrading treatment of CNA’s led me to further my education. I’m a PCT and a CPT, and I left LTC to work in CCU at a nearby hospital. I’ll never forget my days working in LTC, and I appreciate the fact that we work as a team in CCU. The worst floors at the hospital don’t compare the utter lack of human compassion I experienced in LTC. We were treated as lesser human beings not worthy of any dignity whatsoever. The only thing worse than the treatment we received, on a daily basis, was the pay. I’ll never understand why CNA’s continue to subject themselves to such belittling standards when they could earn just as much (with some once of respect) anywhere else. I truly feel sorry for them, because they have the most difficult and demanding job. I’ll never forget what a supervising nurse said to us one day. The nurse was explaining a major change on our unit and one of the CNA’s said, “well I think,” and the nurse cut her off and said, “you’re not paid to think!” Personally, I’d like to believe we’re all capable of thinking and contributing to the better care of our patients. I always said if I became a nurse I would never treat CNA’s, PCA’s as below myself. I went back to college and in my second year pre-nursing I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was high honors and had to drop A&P (medical leave) with a 98 average :( It’s life, but I’m thankful for the support from the wonderful nurses in CCU, because we are a team!

    • mikafr28

      I’m a cna working at a nursing home… It’s one of the worse jobs ever. We are underpaid and overworked!!! Administration doesn’t care about quality or quantity so they underpay us and leave us to work the halls by ourselves. I feel they show us how what they think of us with how they treat us. We are treated like we are the bottom of the barrel, lowest of the low from residents family, residents themselves, housekeeping, dietary, and nurses. Yes majority of us love our residents but sometimes that’s not enough to keep doing your job and doing it well. A lot of us are ashamed to even say that we are CNA’s because they look at us like we are uneducated fools….depressing

  38. Marybeary

    Have they been to the hospitals in Upstate ny LOL that happens so much

  39. madyxo

    This may sound horrible to some, but I feel it justifies part of the stigma of nurses vs cna. Being someone who went straight for their RN, I do not understand what a day in the life of a cna as simply just a cna is like. But I can tell you what I am taught in school, which no cna would fully understand unless they completely go through nursing school for their RN. RN’s are TAUGHT to delegate tasks and use their LPNs and CNAs…and don’t get mad at me for saying that, just simply read a text book or the NCLEX itself. So I believe that was already instilled in an RN coming onto the floor. Am I saying I agree with overworking or mistreating a CNA..NO..but if a CNA does not understand how we’ve been taught to think and that a huge part of our schooling is managing and delegating tasks…then they see it as being “that” nurse.

    • Tosha01

      I am sorry you feel this way! I have been a CNA for several years, and being that you may have been “taught” but maybe it the approach. I will bust my back for an RN that respects me, but for a nurse that has attitude, I am there to do a job and helping that nurse is out if the questions. I worked in hospice for 5 years. In that time I learned that when you are out in the field and there isn’t a nurse for miles my eyes and the nurses education is what kept my patients from dieing in pain. It’s a team effort not a dictatorship!

  40. Jennnnnifer

    This is a very sore subject in my experience, so I’m going to put in my 2 cents. I agree that a good cna is worth their weight in gold, but I’ve met very few good cnas in my 14 years of nursing thus far. Most cnas are lazy, mouthy, and worthless. I have witnessed more neglect than I care to mention but im going to share my stories(which most of you im sure can relate to). I have caught cnas putting depends on residents before dinner and leave them on till 930pm and strip them off them right before shift change….this way they dont have to change any beds all evening…no regard for the residents comfort or skin integrity….afterall, they dont have to do the documentation, notifications, and treatment for a wound. They are too busy to change a bed but have time for their multiple smoke breaks. Then there are the residents that are difficult to feed or are slow to eat…cnas often try to rush these people and if they arent successful, they just take them back to their room….so they can get them in bed so they can go on break…afterall, they dont have to notify the doctor, family, and nutritionalist of their weight loss. We all know of difficult, unruly residents….the ones that are a nightmare to deal with in the middle of the night….if they are asleep, you know the cna isnt going to change them in the middle of the night because then how would they be able to sit at the nurses station all night gossiping with the other cna or take their smoke breaks. Ive caught cnas rigging call lights to not work when pressed by a needy resident. Another good one….not turning on a residents bed alarm because they move around in bed too much causing the alatm to sound frequently…afterall,they dont have to do the incident form, call the doctor and family, do the transfer paperwork if they are injured, and tranfer them to the hospital….BUT if the alarm goes off too often, they may have to sit with that resident and miss a smoke break. I could go on all day but I think ive made my point. I was never a cna but im not afraid to clean up a soiled resident, give a shower, feed residents, sit and do a one on one so cnas can check on others, etc. I dont mind helping IF I have time, but when 6am rolls around and I have meds to finish or charting to do, will the cna be there helping? NOPE. I once had a difficult cna that later went to nursing school….a couple months after she began working as a nurse, she called me and simply said “I get it now”. Until you have walked in a nurses shoes, you have NO clue what it is we do. I am currently taking a break from nursing, not because of my patients, notbecause of the stress, but because im burnt out on crappy cnas. To get my respect, they have to earn it…..and few have ever done so. One last thing, I have reported cnas for all the things I spoke about….but there is a shortage of cnas, so to the clueless administration, a warm body is better than nobody.

    • TGayle

      Wow, Never walked in our shoes. when there 15 to 1 CNA or more with bad rounds no team work no help rushed times for everything, plus what the RN needs done Vit. and ect. that they need by a certain time, I have seen a lot of what u said. sorry it’s there, but how do u see an 6-2 CNA doing: vit. 1st rounds, 1st meal, documentation, showers, 2nd rounds, bed changes, vit., 2nd meal, documentation, 3rd rounds, stock, empty barrels, then last log documentation. and the call lights are going off you have to pass water, ice, snacks, take persons out for smoking. All by 2P.M. for next shift? I in hopes you did not forget anything that can get you wrote up from by 2nd shift. And all the time being yelled at and belittled. Most CNA’s don’t get lunch, u know the good ones that work till their backs hurt so much. sometimes all that CNA get is that five minute smoke vs. that 30 min lunch. I said this because for 4yrs I worked like that, trying to make it right, it was a few of us but no matter how hard we worked there were complaints. till one day I could do no more. I get it you all have paperwork and meds. I get it I always have. But do you all get 15 16 or 17 patients to one CNA plus showers meals ect. do you all get it. I think we all understand for sure that everyone sees their job over demanding but if everyone could find two ways to help each other each shift I feel it would lead to far better understanding. There are 6 RN’s I would do anything for no matter what because they get it.

    • eawatson

      As an aide, I have witnessed as much abuse and neglect of residents by nurses as I have of other aides abusing and neglecting residents. It’s a tough world out there, and the only way to provide quality care is to work as a team. It’s an unfortunate reality. I’ve also been in the situation of reporting aides and nurses to administration to see no results…to that, I suggest moving on to a positive environment that fosters a harmonious and appropriate work place with no b.s. They do exist, I promise.

    • katykate

      Yes, it is a two way street and I’m glad that you expressed your side and I agree
      However, some CNA’s do work hard and try to help the patients.
      But, as you said, it is far to few who do their best.
      And now having a family member dying in a SNF I can tell you that I”m very stressed from seeing how careless they are with my dad – from not having the call light in reach, to not having the bed low and not having the bed alarm on.
      But then some will be great with giving him a bath and bringing him food.
      Some just don’t care about safety issues and neither do the RN’s, the D.O.N. nor the administrator.
      I can tell you that this is the most horrible experience of my life and my dad has had some falls due to neglect.
      Then, if he falls and get back on medicare the corporation get double the money.
      Talk about perverse incentives.

    • Tosha01

      CNA’S can only be as good as their Nurse. Maybe it’s your leadership skills… I’m not disagreeing that there aren’t “bad” aides, trying being the other aide on the floor with them and picking up their slack! But for the things that you have said about “most” aides… An amazing RN once told me that as a nurse she could only be as good as her aides. I busted my butt for that nurse!

  41. K8graceg

    Ok, I get what you are saying here. And if you ask anyone I work with they would tell you that I’m the first to volunteer to help and I almost never say no to a CNA when they ask me to help. I try to always approach this situation by saying “Hey, can you help me clean up so and so?” But here’s the thing. I typically have 4-5 patients, and that is a ton of work. I pass meds about every. 2 hours. Then I have alll the other treatments and respiratory needs of my patients. Not to mention extensive wound care. I work 12 hour shifts, which typically turn into 13 hour shifts. I run from the second I get there, till the second in leave. I have at least 10 pages to chart on each patient. So, while you condemn a nurse for not helping you with your job, I want to remind you that you can’t do mine. While I stay late almost every single night, rest assured that I have never seen a CNA stay late. Now if you are talking about a Nurse telling the CNA to clean someone up and then standing around doing nothing, I agree that is totally wrong. But I see this attitude all the time, like its never ok for a nurse to say I can’t, I’m busy. But like I said, how can you expect me to always help you with your job, when you can never do mine? I feel I have the right to say this, because I usually always try to help. But the next time you get mad at a nurse for not being able to help, please consider what else is on her plate. How late is she going to have to stay tonight, while you go home on time? Just sayin………..

  42. TGayle

    Glad to have read this today, I have been an CNA for 10yrs. and just here some months ago due to very poor treatment of a states CNA’s I decided to go to school to become and RN, although it’s hard I have been pushing through my 1st semester (at it’s end). I saw this then I remembered what pushed me to school, RN’s that care, listen, and work with their counter parts is what I want to become. I have loved being a CNA all these yrs. until I moved to this state I left another path that I went to school for, because I found peace in this, it made me happy and I felt good about what I was doing and It helped me to grow into the person I am today, full of love, zest for life, and compassion. I have learned things from my work and care for patients that I couldn’t have learned any other place. So thank you for that excerpt it means the world to me.

  43. RN_Enigma

    I learned very early on as a student nurse to treat CNAs w/ respect. They often know more about a resident/patient than you do b/c they often have more interaction w/ them.

    I find that especially true now that I’m a nurse in long-term care. I consider my CNA co-workers as valuable team-mates & resources. My CNAs have been working far longer than I have in long-term care, so I include them when I’m trying to decide what course of action to take when treating my residents. Because I include them, I’ve learned a lot. And I’m not above taking residents to the bathroom or cleaning them up, or even changing soiled briefs in bed. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty at all…except w/ mucus. I can’t handle mucus. LOL I love my CNAs. :)

    • OregonCNA

      Thank you for calling CNAs your co-workers. That means a great deal to me and I’m sure to many other CNAs. Often times we are not thought of as co-workers, just someone to do the dirty work. I understand all the paperwork, medications, treatments and everything else you do that I’m not trained to do, that’s why I try my best to ask other CNAs for help before I ask an RN. But there are times when it’s not possible. I help out the RNs I work with as much as I possibly can because I know how overworked they are too. So being called a co-worker does more to a relationship than you might think.

      • didi

        What’s next you’ll be asking the Md’s and Pa’s to get bedpans tooo? You people are just pissed that your not more than aides. We can’t all be Md’s

        • cnacaregiver


          That is very unprofessional and very rude!

          I am a CNA and don’t appreciate that nasty comment!

          I used to do ltc 3rd shift, 18-20:1 ratio 3-4 get ups by 7am, have those residents clean, beds clean and to keep 1st shift gwtget ups in bed.
          Oh I also took out dirty linen, trash, vitals, etc.. charting took me the whole shift due to non stop call lights that I always had to answer. I always worked alone because no one wanted to help including the RN’s.

  44. rnjen123

    As charge nurse on a midnight shift I can’t tell you how many of our CNA give me a hard time when they actually have to work. When you have to ask them to get up from Facebook watch out. How dare I give them an admit they were too busy eating and gossiping. And asking them to help out in a room that’s not theirs, again watch out.
    My favorite was walking up on a NCA complaining loudly to others that I wouldn’t give my patient pain medication. Well lets see her BP was 80/40. They can’t do my job. And to say rn’s don’t get their hands dirty is plain stupid. I’ve NEVER seen a NCA stay late although I stay late almost every shift. So no I don’t have time to do their job. Saying that I will and do help; always. But I’m not doing their job. I work on an extremely busy unit and we’re short rn’s. I never see an rn sitting but the NCA have plenty of time.
    Now we do have some good NCA’s and I never question them. If they say their busy I know they are and just do it myself.
    for me to analyze the latest set of blood work is way more important than helping clean up a patient. The rn’s on our floor always help one another even if its NOT their patient. The NCA’S need to do this too.

    • amtjim

      I have had an RN walk into a bathroom as I was doing a bowel program and hand me a piece of paper that said “our patient in room ### has had a bm and needs to be changed” After the second time in the same week he did this to me, we had words and he now takes care of the issue himself.

      • katykate

        I’m confused! I thought that you are getting paid to assist the R.N.
        And if another patient is next in line to be assisted than what is wrong with that.

        • BrittaLei13

          With all due respect KatyKate, that’s not the issue. Doing my job is never an issue because healthcare is my calling and I enjoy caring for my patients. In the amount of time it takes to wander around the unit and look for the CNA who is indeed doing their job (and not on Facebook), the patient could have been made more comfortable and been cleaned by nurse. I’ve had nurses tell me that a patient was a total care patient when cleaning the patient took less than ten minutes because, lo and behold, the patient could roll themselves. There are good CNAs and bad CNAs. Just as there are good RNs and bad RNs. Are you a good nurse or a bad nurse? You decide.

  45. lorlor21

    I have been an RN for several years, I believe in treating everyone the way you would like to be treated. I respect my CNA’s and they respect me. I started my healthcare profession s a CNA which makes me understand the battles of a CNA. I do understand that there are some RN’s who are infected with the RN-itis and the LPN-itis; they think they earn the right to throw their power around. I want to tell them that without. Good conscientious aid they cannot complete their work efficiently. However, on the other hand, we do have some sorry aids out there who refuse to take directions and perform sloppy work. This makes it bad for all the hardworking aids out there. Keep your heads up high and continue to take pride in what you do, YOU ROCK.

  46. runningnurse

    I believe that ALL LPNs and RNs should be CNAs first. It shows the value of teamwork, how hard NAs work, how to treat others.
    Walk a mile in their shoes……….really. I couldn’t do it without my CNAs!!

  47. moe

    Have been a CNA for 20 years, and have worked with every type of nurse there is. I can almost always accurately tell the RN’s who started as CNA’s vs those who did not. I am constantly asked in the hospital, “Are you going to go back to school to get your RN?” My answer is no, I LOVE my job as a CNA. Am so very thankful for the nurses and doctors that recognize the butt busting work I do, and treat me as an equal, not as a minion! Nurses need to know we as CNA’s can make your life so much easier if we are treated with the respect we deserve, and we will give you that respect in return. I will respect you either way, but it makes it a lot easier to do when I am treated like a human being!!

  48. starswilldiex

    Thank you for this. Many RNs do not appreciate CNAs. Especially found this to be true in working LTC. Working in a hospital the RNs were much more helpful & appreciative. In the LTC I work in, it depends but many do not. I’ve noticed it a lot more since my injury in 2011 and being on light duty. Before I just was so busy it didn’t matter. Honestly the culture needs to change and that needs to happen at each and every facility. I think it also wouldn’t hurt to have a continuing education credit about the issue or even make it a part of the RN program.

  49. katykate

    R.N.’s and LVN’s, of course need to be polite and respectful but most are too busy doing their tasks to take care of everything and that is why their are CNA’s to help them.
    And CNA’s have been treated badly I’m sure but they still need to take care of the patients and to be sure that all safety precautions are in place such as bed in low position, call light in reach, and , if needed, that the bed alarm is on or the floor mat alarm etc.

  50. toricoco

    Thank you for this article, it is so very true. I have been a C.N.A for over 6 years now and I can say that I have worked with a lot of nurses that would rather walk around the unit looking for you than give a patient water…. with that said I have met some Amazon nurses that would bend over back words to help their aids and I would do anything for them. My problems with how C.N.A ‘s ate treated are not mainly the nurses to be honest its the pay and our patient ratio. For one we are higher educated than a highschool diploma so why is it that everywhere seems to want to pay us minimum or a dollar over minimum wage. It is not something you can live on and I don’t understand why there is such a pay gap. Hospitals Here pay $9/ hour $11 if you don’t take benefits how does anyone think that’s acceptable especially when we usually have between 12-25 patients. We get thrown up on,messed on, wet , dirty, you name it and if were doing our job right we don’t always have time to even sit for lunch. The funny thing is I love what I do and how I get to spend more one on one time with my patients, I don’t want to be a nurse but because of how they pay us and treat us it is very difficult to make C.N.A and actual career only a stepping stone.

  51. flubz

    I have been a CNA since my first semester of nursing school. I have been very fortunate to work with fantastic nurses who value me and my coworkers as their first line of defense. They respect us and give us all the information we need to care for our patients. There are a couple of them who look down on us, but the good ones more than make up for it.

    The floor I work on is a rather small geri-psych unit. I know as a recent grad, I probably won’t find a job in a place like this. But, I really hope that wherever I end up, I have CNA’s like me and my coworkers. We really love our patients and we work hard to care for them. And our nursing staff is always available to help us out if we need an extra set of hands.

    When I become a licensed nurse, I will never leave my CNA’s to flounder. I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed with patients as a CNA, and I never want to make someone else feel that way. There is nothing worse than needing help and not having anyone available to help you. Like many of you have said, you have to worry about yourself as well as the patient. I’m not even a nurse yet and my back and knees are already messed up.

    As a current CNA and soon to be RN, I know how valuable our team members are.

  52. Mb1870

    I have been a cna for 20 years now, and ltc facilities are the worst for treating staff poorly. I remember when an lpn would walk from rm 130 to rm 101 just to tell me rm 130 needed a glass of water, while my gloves are dirty giving a shower. Ive done this long enough now If a nrs rn lpn or a house super comes looking for me to do something like putting a pt on the toilet or get ice or empty a fc from a room they just exited I will respond in kind ” you just came out of there and its not in your scope of practice to do it?” if you have to hunt me down trust me im not setting at the nrs station talking Im busy w/pt care. When nrs’ finally adopt the attitude that primary care is in their scope of practice It will start getting better for pt and cna team work makes things go so much smoother….after all they are all our pts.

    • notjustacna

      AMEN! I completely and totally agree with you! I get the same where I work as a CNA.

  53. Granny RN

    For me, the 2nd Rule of Nursing has always been: Never ask anyone to do something that you would not do.

    I have, on many occasions when given the choice, elected to keep my CNA (who was able to anticipate and come close to reading my mind better than most RNs!) rather than ‘trade’ her for a floor nurse who was not critical care competent, could not take ‘vents’ or ‘drips’ and just would not be as effective as my ‘regular’ CNA.

    I started as a Nurses’ Aide-with a pink dress uniform, beige pantyhose and white Clinic shoes. I still have the highest respect for good Nursing Assistants.

  54. Ole walrus

    When I went to nursing school, about half of the class were cna before. During our first clinicals I could not have made it without their help and experience. I had no clue! My long retired nurse mother told me that cna were like Sargents in the army, the eyes and ears for the officers, and that I should listen to them. They were resources that should not be wasted. At my first job in ltc , I loved my aides and they took great care of both the pt and me the poor first year nurse…..

  55. Craziest Ever

    Thankfully I’m in a position where i as a CNA tell CNAs and Nurses what to do. Its amazing how much a nurse forgets that a CNA remembers and vice versa. I believe that CNAs are a great part of the Interdisciplinary team. They get the patient clean, moving and feeling better. Often times, patients get tired of medication reminders and criticism on their diets. They often seek companionship and a friend who isn’t all about clinical.

  56. didi

    First of all I am sick and tired of hearing and seeing this NONSENSE!!!!! Why the hell should a Rn get their hands dirty???? Imagine this spending all that time studying4 longggg ass years and I mean studying ….and now you want us to do aide work?????what was the sense in going to school if all we do is aide work, while they kick back and hate on us?? This is getting ridiculous what is the amount of time they spend getting their certificate maybe 3 weeks – 3 months tops compared to our years !!!!!
    You better go sit down with that bs.

    • northwestpa

      I pray with every ounce of my being you are NEVER my nurse.

    • scrubbyyy

      Wow didi …really? I’m not sure where you have learned this ethic in nursing but my guess is you skipped over the commonalities of nursing concept and comprehension. I agree that nursing school was challenging but the reward is receiving a higher education and a better understanding of concepts that you can apply to make this world we live in a better place. Every single person that works out there in the medical field is a crucial part of the health care team. The RN, LPN, CNA, Med Tech, and residential worker each have their role to play in order to make the team successful. As a nurse of 24 years I have learned this role of thumb, “never ask someone to do something that you won’t do yourself”. I worked along side of the CNA’s many times and they worked along side of me. I would bounce questions off of them to get their opinion. If I disagreed with them, I would explain why I disagreed with them and they in return would explain why they disagreed with me. Open discussion and feedback is what makes this system work, Commonalities of nursing 101. No matter what your education level is, each person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. There are many RN’s, LPN’s, and CNA’s that I have looked up to throughout the years because they had experience and an amazing knowledge base that made me the nurse I am today. Let’s be honest didi, when we got out of nursing school, the real world of nursing was a culture shock. No longer were we just taking care of 1-5 patients. We were now responsible for many patients. Without the team, we would have most assuredly failed. When you are a licensed nurse you are required to treat all within your care and healthcare team with dignity and respect. My grandmother always said “don’t cut off your nose to spite your face” and this my dear colleague is exactly what you’re doing. Best of luck to you didi! My hope is that you will expand your knowledge base by listening and getting to know your healthcare team a little better. It will make you a better nurse, I promise.

  57. jeveritt80

    I am an RN and I ask CNAs to do certain tasks, not because I believe they are beneath me to do (Actually I enjoy patient care) but because I have other patients that may need pain medication or to be suctioned. Both these tasks are something I can not delegated to the CNA. Through my shift I am constantly prioritizing what needs to be done and some tasks keep being pushed further down the list. I have to document everything I do and chart my assessments. I worked as a CNA before becoming an RN and I always interpreted the time the nurse was at the desk as she was not doing anything. After becoming a RN I have learned of the incredible work load that a RN carries. To go to the bathroom is a luxury and I rarely can take a break because of the workload and after being gone for 13 hours I need to get home to my family and put out fires there. My employer also gets very upset with overtime so in embarrassment that I could not finish my work I often check out and complete my work for free because I need my job. I do not think I am better than you. We are a team working for the better of the patient. However, I am the one in charge and must manage my help and direct them to where they are needed. I have been treated so rudely for simply asking someone to do there job. I too would love to leave work on time. I am sure my employer is not paying for help to sit around and chat. They expect us to work and I expect that from my CNAs. I try to give 100% at work and I expect the same from everyone that works with me. I have had some CNAs become upset when I would not “medicate” a resident for behaviors prior to asking that CNAs to take the resident to the bathroom and give them a snack. We can not use medication as a restraint. On the same hand I have had quiet nights when I have taken residents to the bathroom and allowed my CNAs to continue sitting at the desk because I could see that you were frustrated or tired. I think the old adage of walk a mile in my shoes goes a long way here.

    • Kathy g

      You said it beautifully. You as the nurse hold the responsibility on your shoulders. They cannot do what we do. A good aide/nurse team is priceless. I am now retired and miss my aides! Some even call me, and most are on Facebook!

  58. Kellie Dobson

    I see nurses not even answer the call lights and wait for us to. Even if we are already lined up with other tasks. I hate when people leave the call lights going or a nurse having the audacity to tell the patient to turn their light on instead of just helping the patient. These days nurses believe the shouldn’t get their hands dirty and hand off all tasks that don’t include a wound or medicine to the CNA. We take the rep for everything. And it sucks. I meet so many nurses now that haven’t even spent one day as a CNA. They don’t appreciate where nursing starts.

  59. Kathy g

    In hospitals and nursing homes, nurses and CNAS usually have assigned tasks. In the hospital our aides were techs who did fsbs, drew am labs, and did vital signs. So in the morning when they were doing blood draws, it fell on the nurses to answer lights and do hygiene care at times.we all worked as a team, which was the idea! At the nursing home, aides answer lights and tell the nurse if pain meds, treatments, etc are needed. Aides do all the physical care like beds, baths, weights, getting people up. As a nurse I was usually kept busy by the long med passes, documentation, reordering, admissions, and general nurse work. BUT–if an aide needed my help, I locked the cart, put my gloves on, and dug right in (sorry). I trusted my aides and they returned that trust. And that is how it should be!

  60. UndrCvrNurse007

    I have personally seen RN’s fired because of their treatment of CNA’s and other staff members. Remember you have a voice too, hopefully as a CNA you should know your worth! Most facilities, especially nursing homes, couldn’t function properly without CNA’s and Lpn’s. So, to ALL CNA’s who feel under appreciated or even abused, SPEAK UP! You don’t have to take it!!

    • notjustacna

      Sadly, at the Nursing Home I work at – it doesn’t help at all to speak up. They just think you are a complainer. Nothing gets done.

  61. Cyndy Cunningham

    HUGE and important member of the team…..I only delegate when I have to do something that my CNA is not able to do (talk with a Doc, pass meds, speak with family, check orders, etc.) Been doing this for 37 years, just that way, it has worked out very well for me…..that’s why I’m STILL at the bedside. My CNA’s are very good to me and they look out for me, too!!! I’m very grateful for them!!!

  62. mallen98

    I agree that CNAS are our eyes and ears. And I am grateful for them everyday, I started as an aide. I am a nurse that firmly believes in helping. I’m not afraid to take someone to the restroom, walk someone or even bathe a resident. But I also believe that CNA s also need to respect the nurses and do their job correctly. There are some aides that are there simply for a paycheck and are horrible at their job. I’m a person who cares deeply for my residents and believe that they deserve great care, and they don’t always get it. I have worked with aides that will walk away from a situation Bc the nurse is there but that nurse has also not gotten report for her shift and is now an hr behind on her duties as well. It’s a two way street, if I respect you and treat you well, then I expect the same from you.

  63. orlyrose

    Currently and lvn student. Have my cna certificate. I love all the cna’s I’ve worked with I make sure the cna’s who work at the facilities don’t see me as a boss but a team member if they struggle with a patient I help out. Or just offer to finish the task on my own and they can attend to their other patients. I want them to feel like they mean something to someone. Being a CNA is a thankless job. My lvns that were my supervisors elsewhere where I have worked loved me because I bothered them to change dressings on patients or if they ever had anything new I went and told them so they could fix it. Most of the time they would wait til the last 10 minutes on my shift to ask to see it. I would have to stay after and help then the payroll would get mad at me for putting in for overtime.

  64. Mrs. Tankman

    Thankful my nursing school addressed this in our curriculum. We as RNs are ultimately responsible for all aspects of patient care. CNAs are in the clinical setting to assist us, not to be dumped on. To be an effective team leader you must lead by example and be willing to get your hands dirty when the situation calls for it. Upsets me when I see nurses, and management,that are not willing to do this. A treatment team means we are all in this together.

  65. Squick

    I started out as a housekeeper, then an NA in a nursing home, then became a CNA, and finally went back to school at 31 y/o and became an RN. I practiced for 20 years before retiring and now disabled. I think all nurses should be a CNA first. My rule was always, always patient first, and never ask a CNA to do something I wasn’t prepared to assist with or do myself. Healthcare is a family, and the good nurses know that the CNA is at the core. If you’re one, pat yourself on the back! You do a great job, and you deserve credit and appreciation for all you do – and take. Thank you so much for all your care!

  66. nr027

    I am a BSN-RN in other country and while not yet an RN here in USA, I applied as Patient Care Assistant which I believed is same as CNA. I saw high tech equipment and on how patient are being cared which is really good but I also noticed that nurses interacts with patients less compared with Patient Care Assistants, I saw them facing on computers more. PCA do more of the nursing cares to patients, personal interactions are there, patients feel the care more. If ever I will experience or encounter RNs who will yell on me…I won’t be bothered, I will just smile knowing myself as a good nurse and as a person. I won’t let anybody ruin my day and affect my way of caring to my patients. I hope In the hospital where I am now, I won’t see such kind of nurses because the organization have emphasized teamwork, good attitude, and cultural competence.

  67. Charita Bonds

    I have been a cna for 15 years. The nurses may have a lot to do but remember we as the aides are still your eyes and ears otherwise you would not know anything. Period. Ok so you do admissions etc etc. You still are not doing the hard work. You are not getting punched, slapped, hit, feces thrown at you etc. And not all aides are bad. I have met really bad nurses. In fact before becoming a nurse become an aide first. We are the unsung heros.

  68. kygal67

    if its not the norm then i most work at the worst place cause the nurses would rather die than to put someone on a bed pan had one nurse tell me that she didnt go to nursing school to put people on bed pans cna are treated more slaves its not like it use to be when i first started the new group of nurses are really bad

  69. Jamjars

    Currently a NA waiting to start my degree in Nursing. 90% of the nurses I currently work with are fantastic, but there are ones that still delegate the ‘dirty’ jobs.
    I got told on shift the other night by the nurse I was working with that he’ll ‘speak to me if he deems it necessary’. This was after I made him aware that one of our patients BP was 80/50 and then proceeded to leave the ward whenever the call bell went off.
    All I can say is, I’ll never treat my NAs once i’m qualified the way i’ve been treated by some of my nurses!

  70. julez_cna

    Incredible! Im so glad there are nurses out there that recognize CNA’s are that important, Everyone says we are the backbone of healthcare, but we get treated with so much disrespect. Some nurses I’ve worked with have walked from one end of the unit to the next looking for a nursing assistant to get a patient a glass of water. Once while I was on break, An RN took a pt off a bed pan (leaving the dirty linens under the pt) when I got back on the unit she told ne she didn’t have time so she left the dirty linen under the patient, and then asked me to take care of it. I went and reported this top my manager and he told me at least the nurse helped! …
    When the unit is one nurse short the administration buys lunch… one evening I was the only CNA on a 37 bed unit, an AND came to check on me at about 930pm! Just to say thanks! (I was very grateful)

    These things really do happen but its my prayer that CNA’s get treated with more respect some day.

  71. ConnieLou

    I was a Nurse’s Aide way back when we could hang a bag of NS for our nurse, and do dressing changes!! Yes, it’s been a couple of years (40 when 2015 rolls around), and it was those very things that, while being taught how to do them correctly, my spark of interest was created to go to school for nursing! Through the years, by being an NA first, I could feel empathy for those aides who supported me, and make sure they were well respected by our team.

  72. Katie90

    I was a CNA when I was in nursing school. I worked in the emergency room and it was very hard work with little appreciation. I’ve been a nurse for four years and I just love having a good CNA. You nurses aides are the backbone of the shift. I hate seeing another nurse being rude to the CNAs. We’re all in this business for the same reason which is to take care of the patients. Thanks for all you do CNAs!

  73. John Ripa

    As a current CNA student I’m glad to see the majority of nurses can see the value of the CNA, we are told we are the eyes and ears of the nurses we work with, we spend the most time with the patient, etc. As I prepare to enter real world of CNA and look forward to continuing my medical education with the goal of becoming an RN I can only hope the nurses I come in contact with will be as helpful and supportive as the comments here.

  74. Brian

    You know how many nurses right now are laughing at this article.Ive been a CNA for 10 years,and ive seen nurses treating us like crap every day.This article isn’t going to change anything.

  75. Edna E. Carradine

    Thank you for this letter It’s good to know you are appreciated , I have been a NA before we had to be certified i have been in the medical or healthcare field for 35 plus years ,I have also been a medical Assistant.I appreciate when my patient tell me how much they value my work and patient’s that say thank you when i do something for them. I have work in the hospital and also the nusing home as a second job. And my thought on the why they staff is we are human beings not work horses 1 CNA for 20 plus patient’s is just not right , you have 3 to 4 RN’s and they have 5 to 6 patient’s and they complain if they have 6more than that I love my job caring for people ,I could not have stayed at a job just for the sake of I have to work , I worked at one hospital for 27 years until hurricane katrina in 2005 when I reyurned home applied for a hospital and have been there 8 years and can’t wait to retire at 63 years of age watching these younger woman come in with cutting corners they can have it my work is done. So when i retire and my 3 year old grandson go to school maybe i’ll volunteer my time at a nursing home. And thanks for all the wonderful comments about CNA’s.
    Their are some nurses that help and to them I say thank you.

  76. Sandy Daigle

    I HAVE NEVER TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF A CNA WE ALWAYS WORKED TOGETHER AS A TEAM WE WOULD MAKE ROUNDS AS A TEAM GETTING vital signs assessing weighing giving meds turning cleaning the patient and the room and while i was charting and doing mars for the next day we would take turns answering lights we would make rounds every 2 hours turning and cleaning patients its so much easier taking care of your patients working as a team!!!

  77. BrittaLei13

    Thank you, Sean, for writing a wonderful article. I hope more nurses read this.
    I have been a CNA (I then II) for 12 years and am finally starting school for my RN. I will never forget where I came from. It’s too ingrained. I became an ER Tech (CNA II plus Unit Clerk!) on the job. I still see my fair share of new nurses(usually the young ones and usually BSNs who never worked before/in college period, let alone as a CNA[no offense to the few awesome new BSN grads out there who have!]) dry heave at the thought of poop and then badger me into cleaning it up or threaten to tell charge when I tell them I’m in the middle of something else, usually involving lost consent forms and a surgeon in panic mode, or elbow deep in another procedure or cleanup. It’s either getting worse the older I get or the younger the nurses get! I’m not sure which. When I’m a nurse, I solemnly swear I will treat my CNAs like the awesome people they are. And if I have to ask them to do something, I’ll tell them why I can’t do it. I’ve saved a couple of butts in my day; I hope I can earn the same support I give the nurses who don’t treat me like shite.

  78. Collette Rammelsberg


  79. Angie_b384@yahoo.com

    Think about how you would feel

  80. MaryD321

    OK this is not going to be popular but let me start out by saying I’m an RN that started as a CNA.I do wound care in a LTC facility.If I go to change a sacral ulcer dressing and the resident had a BM or soaked brief,I go tell the CNA and tell them i’ll come back when the patient is cleaned up.Sometimes they get mad at me but I look at it as setting boundaries. I just don’t have the time to do 30 or more treatments and paperwork and change patients briefs.Plus I can do their job but they can’t do mine.I spend hours and hours documenting wounds and practically never get out on time.Plus it is their job to clean residents every 2 hours.The reason I am finding the patients dirty is that they are not keeping up with it the way they are supposed to.I just don’t agree with the fact that since I am the one who found the patient dirty I’m the one that’s supposed to clean them.No. I am supposed to change dressing measure wounds document and analize if treatment is working. I have to document each wound sometimes in up to 5 different places .I have to prepare weekly reports for managment.And believe me if I were to do it its not like the would kiss my toes or anything.Yea they get mad at me but does administration want to pay me overtime so I can help the CNAs? Sorry but I am not going to do your job and my job too! If a patient needed pain medication I would let the charge nurse know.If the have questions about their stay or billing,I would let social worker know.If they need to have their brief changed I let their CNA know. That’s what they get paid to do amongst other things.

  81. notjustacna

    I would like to know what you think of this tactic done by a Nursing Home. The Charge Nurse puts a “post it note” inside the “diaper” brief of a Resident – who cannot talk and can’t take the note out. She does this to see when the CNA changes said “diaper”. On the note it states to bring said note back to the Charge Nurse. I myself would like to know if this is truly legal! I think it is taking away the Resident’s dignity and also very insulting to the CNA. If the Charge Nurse wants to see if the Resident has been changed – she should GET HER HANDS DIRTY AND TAKE THE RESIDENT TO HIS / HER ROOM to change that Resident herself! By doing that she can see how wet / if wet / the Resident is. Just a sickening, disgusting practice.

  82. Blmills15

    Thank you and amen!
    -proud CNA for 7 years
    -newly licensed pn

  83. joannak

    Sean Thanks for writing this. I have work with you and you are a fantastic nurse. There are some nurses that forget what total patient care is. It is a team work effort to make the patients have a good experience during a bad time in their life. I started as a CNA in a nursing home and went to the hospital. I left the hospital setting to go to a doctors office. I still get to use alot of my skills from working the ER and telemetry floor. Working as a CNA is a stressful mind and body drain job. One thing i always said when the LPN classes came thru or a new RN out of school “Your aide will make or break you” We are there for the patients not just the paycheck. It is a teamwork effort. Thanks again for this article sincerely. You probably don’t remember but I was “Jo from 3MT /huc”

  84. jzj01@hotmail.com

    I do not agree with this article. First of all I consider the CNAs nurses right along with the LPNs. I do think we all have very different roles. I think that there needs to be way more CNAs on the floors and their pay should be much higher. Then the other nurses can do what they are trained to do. The problem is and has always been understaffing in relation to the numbers of patients and the needs of the patients.

    Let’s not forget that the other nurses work under our licenses often and we should be able to delegate tasks that others can do because most nurses are swamped with work, even when they look like the are doing nothing.

  85. Fp

    I think there are many people in the health profession not just nurses that can maybe pass on something they probably should have done, I respected and treated staff fairly when I was in the hospital I worked really hard and got my hands dirty. I found I wasn’t appreciated for it and the more I did the more was expected. I knew my patients very well but soon burnt out when I was tackling the nursing tasks that could not be delegated and also toileting, washing feeding, observations. I eventually left… I agree that everyone should be respected for their role but that works both ways, I wasn’t treated well as a newly qualified young nurse, and was so worried about not helping with washing toileting in case I was classed as a lazy nurse. And if nurses have time to go on their phones I would like to know where this is because From my experience nurses don’t have time to even sit down

  86. lizaj925

    Thank you so much for that I’m a CNA and i make it my top priority to get to know my patients that way if something unusual is going on i can report it all the nurses I’ve worked with will ask us is this a normal behavior for that patient we know because we deal with them up close and personal. Again,thank you


  87. kkraenzle

    Working as a CNA at the time, I had a nursing student delegate the task of brushing a patient’s hair. I said okay and went into the patients room. The nursing student then followed me into the patients room and watched over my shoulder as I brushed the patients hair. I was is such disbelief that she asked me to do the task when she had the time to watch me do it.

  88. nocturnal nurse

    In response to what to never ask of a cna,I truly love and appreciate my aides❤ we have worked nights together for sixteen years . I acknowledge they are are my eyes as they report any changes in our residents, whether it be behavioral changes, skin issues as they do their night time rounds, throughout my 28 years as a nurse I have assisted lifting people in and out of bed, given boosts, provided incontinent care, toileted and provided 1:1 care for many of my residents that have Alzheimer’s disease, that being said I weigh the help could be reciprocated. I alone am responsible for nursing summaries, chart checks, vital signs, neuro checks, treatments, medication administration, calibration of the glucometer, checking the temps of the refrigerator’s, taking inventory on the crash carts, monthly edits,CHANGE OVER, yuck 😝, drug order, note and post doctors orders, nursing notes ! Oh dear I could go on and on… We haven’t chosen the easiest of professions and the accolades are few and far between esp. 11-7 shift, pat yourselves on the back peeps and give yourself a raise..peace ✌

  89. Cher83

    I am a CNA in nursing school and I appreciate this so much. Some times the attitude of a nurse make me not want to become an RN.


    After reading the comments I think everyone needs to understand that all sides need to stop trying to decide if it is the RN or the CNA or PCT that has the problem. We are not the problem. It is the greed from the top down that is the problem. We are all overworked, under paid and overwhelmed. STOP putting up with high patient ratio’s. DEMAND better working conditions. STOP putting charting ahead of patient care. If all you have time to do is chart because you have too many patients you are really not helping. When you go to work and the charge nurse tries to give you more patients than is ethically and physically possible for you to handle you MUST refuse and ask that the registry be called to send in reinforcements. If you continue on the course that has become normal and accepted imagine how we will feel when we need care.
    I am not just saying this to say it. I did this and things changed at the place I work. You are all better than you are being treated and deserve to have safe and healthy working conditions. The patients we care for deserve to have happy, healthy and positive people caring for them.

  91. Yatrn1

    So either you haven’t been doing this very long or you work in fantasy land. If you have real trained CNA’s they would be offended if you did their job, most patients are not stupid. They know the difference between RN and CANA. So your busy doing their job along with your own? Why bother giving them a job? We can do their job but they can’t do ours. So you can get overwhelmed while their chilling out. Makes no sense.

  92. Yatrn1

    I can’t tell you how many times I have had to search high and low to find a PCT to help do their job. They exert more energy trying to get out of work. I have had people call me that worked with me and ask me do you know where so and so is, the very PCT I’ve been searching for, and I would tell them no I can’t find them only for my coworker nurse to tell me they are at the mall, and then lie and get offended when you confront them. This type of behavior is like wild fire, then other people will do it because management won’t discipline. I will be in charge with 6-7 of my own patients, be responsible for room assignment, help with critical care situations, run codes, deal with family crap, deal with doctors, try to replace or find staff by calling anyone and everyone and beg to come in and leave 2 hours after everyone else in comparison to a PCT WHO may have 7-10 patients and most can feed themselves, help get out of bed to potty and think I feel bad for them? I’m too busy getting my own butt kicked around.

    • Yatrn1

      In my unit we would loose 40-45 nurses a year, over and over.. and still can’t keep nurses even with management change, main reason is because the PCT’S tell the nurses what they are going to do and not do and management does nothing. They would rather throw good money in the trash than to throw trash in the trash. So I haven’t seen nurses rough up PCTS but I have wittiness the other way around.