Hi guys, welcome to this insightful read on CNA struggles.
This article promises to show you what all certified nursing assistants go through on short and long-term bases and how you can avoid or tackle it.
Specifically, we’ll uncover areas such as:
- What are CNA Struggles
- CNA work Challenges
- Disadvantages of being a CNA
- Possible Solutions to Work Problems
- Real-life CNA Struggle Stories
Let’s take the lid off the shield and have a wonderful read!
What are CNA Struggles?
Most people enter the CNA field because they care about others and want to help them.
This is a valid reason because compassion and empathy can help you become a better CNA and perform your duties more effectively and increase your job happiness.
However, anyone beginning out as a CNA may face various difficulties that they must overcome.
In healthcare, the term “CNA struggle” represents a commonplace frustrating circumstance or setback, which is akin to the complaint of first-world difficulties that CNAs typically encounter when working in hospitals.
CNA Career Challenges
Certified nursing assistants, like any other job, encounter challenges.
The difference is that CNAs provide direct patient care, so any issues they confront affect them and the patients they are caring for.
Here are some of the challenges CNAs can encounter in the course of their job.
Some of the patients you work with may be problematic, especially when you are in a new job.
Since you will be caring for them in the most intimate of ways, you will need to work hard to gain their trust and create a connection with them.
On the other hand, some patients can be particularly tough due to their medical conditions, temperament, or age, and this can be emotionally draining for a CNA.
Long Hour Shifts
A CNA’s job can be hard in various ways, one of which is the lengthy shifts, which can last anywhere from 7 to 13 hours, depending on the patient’s needs.
This can drain a lot of energy from such a physically demanding job, and many people would find it difficult to cope in this medical field.
Problems with Other CNAs
It’s typical to encounter some hostility from staff members at the same level as you when you first start as a CNA, as they may feel superior.
You should make an effort to increase communication and convert this into a friendly competition.
You can even have problems with senior nurses who try to make you the scapegoat for their mistakes.
There’s also a possibility of a new CNA getting on your nerves.
Juggling Different CNA Jobs
A CNA is responsible for various tasks that fall under the umbrella of patient care.
They must monitor and record vital signs, moods, dietary intake, and emotions, clean up after patients, and assist them with basic daily duties.
Because of the wide range of activities, a CNA must be extremely structured, cool, and calm.
Otherwise, things can quickly spiral out of control.
Physically Demanding Work
A CNA’s job can be physically demanding because it entails caring for immobile patients, such as helping them sit up and walk around, showering and changing them, and transporting them to the restroom.
You can even be expected to keep the patients’ surroundings clean and tidy, which can drain a person while challenging your mental health.
Poor CNA Working Conditions/Workplace Hazards
There are five different types of major workplace health hazards encountered by CNAs:
Hepatitis B virus, human immunodeficiency virus, varicella-zoster virus, hepatitis C virus, herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, human parvovirus B19, measles, enteroviruses, rubella, influenza, and mumps are all of the particular concerns since they can harm pregnant women and their unborn children.
CNAs who assist patients with activities of daily living in a variety of settings may come into touch with patients’ urine, feces, sweat, and saliva while assisting with toileting, incontinence care, oral care, and bathing.
According to a recent survey of 3484 home health staff in Massachusetts, 13 percent of them came into touch with feces.
CNAs can contract the common cold, cytomegalovirus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (tuberculosis), herpes simplex virus, enteric pathogens, measles/mumps, rubella (German measles), scabies/lice, staphylococcus aureus, pertussis (whooping cough), groups A and B streptococcus, and varicella through direct contact with the bodily fluid (chickenpox).
CNAs who work with needles that have been contaminated with bodily fluids are more likely to be exposed to and infected by bloodborne infections.
Antimicrobial or antibiotic medications, antiseptic or disinfection agents, antineoplastic agents, gas sterilants, formaldehyde, bleaches, rubber products or adhesives, detergents, and solvents are all chemical risks for CNAs in the workplace.
CNAs may be exposed to chemotherapy by inhalation, contact with work surfaces and clothing, and use of medical equipment; spillage of liquid chemotherapy in the workplace; and handling patients’ body fluids, such as urine, feces, and emesis.
These volatile organic compounds have been linked to asthma caused by irritants.
Contaminated air, poor lighting, poor ventilation, poor security or proximity of parking, lifting/pushing/pulling of objects, poorly designed or inadequate work area/equipment, contaminated needles, slippery/cluttered floors, splashes/spills/flying particles, and violence/physical assault by both patients and coworkers are all examples of enviro-mechanical hazards in the workplace for CNAs.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNAs, stock, workers, and freight, as well as material movers and heavy tractor-trailer truck drivers, had the largest number of musculoskeletal illness (MSD) cases in 2015.
Electricity or fire, excessive heat or cold exposure, noise, and radiation are all physical risks in the workplace for CNAs.
Laser radiation absorption, for instance, can cause thermal damage to bodily tissue when the laser radiation elevates the temperature of the tissue.
When performing laser procedures, this type of exposure can result in various injuries, the most prevalent of which are eye injuries and skin burns, and electric shock.
Concerns about hazardous occupational exposures, heavy workload, fear of violence directed at them, high levels of responsibility, incivility/disrespect, and bullying by supervisors/managers.
Also, incivility/disrespect and bullying by coworkers, lack of managerial support, poor staffing, long hours and double shifts, physical demands of the job, and sexual harassment, are all psychosocial hazards for CNAs.
While some of these risks are better categorized as organizational factors, many of them (long hours, multiple shifts, and a lack of managerial support) cause workers to experience stress and psychosocial disorders.
Disadvantages of Being a CNA
The following are the top CNA disadvantages.
You Won’t Make a Fortune
A CNA’s compensation is at the lowest end of the wage scale for a healthcare career.
You will have to work hard for your pay.
CNAs work up to 40 hours per week for a measly wage.
A CNA will probably need a second job to survive. This equates to $15 per hour or $32,000 annually.
Duties May Include Weekends and Holidays
One of the drawbacks of being a CNA is working holidays and weekends.
It’s difficult to miss out on time with family and friends.
It’s also difficult to see your loved ones when you’re always working.
This is not for you if you cannot take the prospect of missing a holiday with family or friends or giving up your weekends.
Your Career Will Be Stagnant
One of the major disadvantages of being a CNA is the lack of room for advancement.
As mentioned, the remuneration is low.
You won’t get far if you don’t want to continue your studies after getting your CNA.
So, if you want to be successful in this field, you should try quickly transitioning to a related field.
You May Get Tired
A CNA may feel burnout.
Burnout is the loss of passion for your profession due to overwork and overstretching.
This leads to job blunders, increased turnover rates, and lower-quality care.
This usually makes you want to quit.
Your Team May Be Short-staffed
One of the biggest weaknesses of becoming a CNA is accomplishing more with less aid.
This isn’t easy when you are already short on time.
But you’ll have to get used to it if you select this career.
Patients May Abuse You
One of the biggest drawbacks of being a CNA is working with abusive patients.
Abusive patients are difficult to manage.
You will frequently be screamed at or treated rudely.
Possible Solutions to CNA Problems
While these difficulties are inherent in the profession, a skilled CNA may quickly overcome them and convert them into a learning opportunity.
Besides, the job is so emotionally rewarding that the happiness you gain from helping people more than compensates for most of the obstacles you’ll face.
Many of the issues can be avoided by following a few easy steps:
Understanding Your CNA Basics
State laws establish a scope of practice for certified nursing assistants, which they must follow when caring for patients.
This usually includes taking vital signs such as temperature, pulse rate, and blood pressure and assisting with activities of daily life such as bathing and feeding patients and turning bedridden patients.
The nurse on duty usually assigns the CNA’s daily responsibilities.
Know Your Limits
One way to stay out of trouble as a CNA is to stick to tasks that are within your scope of practice.
To protect yourself and the patient, it’s critical to understand your scope of practice as defined by your State Board of Nursing or the nursing facilities you work for.
Since the CNA works under the license of the RN to whom they are assigned, staying within the scope of practice limits the nurse’s liability and protects the CNA from being asked to perform tasks that are beyond their qualifications.
When it comes to patient care, nursing aides or assistants are held to a set of standards.
If a CNA does not meet these requirements, he may face problems from patients, ranging from verbal abuse to lawsuits.
Furthermore, the CNA should never share personal or medical information about patients with anyone other than a direct caregiver, such as a physician, nurse, another CNA, and other healthcare professionals.
This is a violation of the US government’s HIPAA regulations.
Keep Your Skills Sharp
Staying up to date on new procedures and laws and engaging in various CNA training might also help you avoid difficulties.
Look for training offered by the medical facility where you work or certified training programs, both online and in nursing schools.
Enroll in continuing education classes to expand your knowledge and polish your abilities.
Also, if you are unsure about a skill, get assistance from another CNA or the on-duty registered nurse.
Level of Care
To avoid issues in nursing homes, ensure that patients are properly cared for.
Before bathing a patient, for example, make sure the water is not too hot.
When transporting patients, seek help if necessary to avoid damage.
Take the time to explain procedures to patients and double-check that they comprehend.
How to Deal with Difficult CNA
Working as a CNA necessitates collaboration.
Thus, it’s critical that you get along with your coworkers.
Unfortunately, this may appear to be hard at times, particularly if one of your coworkers refuses to get along with you!
So, what can you do if you find yourself in this situation?
As the following suggestions imply, there are various things you can do.
Examine Your Own Behavior
If you’re having problems with a co-worker, the first step is to assess your own behavior.
- Have you been obnoxious to your coworker?
- Have you ever turned down help when you desperately needed it?
- Is your poor performance forcing your teammate to work more hours than they want to?
Even if you don’t like to accept it, problems with coworkers could result from anything you did or didn’t do well.
Observe Your Coworker’s Behavior
Once you’ve assessed your behavior and established that you’ve done nothing wrong, the following step is to observe your coworker’s behavior.
Is the coworker only nasty to you, or do they have a bad attitude toward everyone?
You can be confident that you are not doing anything wrong if your teammate is mean to everyone, not just you.
Take note of the time of day when your coworker exhibits challenging behavior, as this could be CNA burnout symptoms.
Is it only noticeable at the start of the shift?
Perhaps it only appears at the end.
Your teammate may be stressed or burnout in certain situations, and you may be assured that you are not to blame.
Spend a Few Minutes Before or After Your Shift to Speak With Your Coworker
Next, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes before or after your shift to speak with your coworker to figure out what’s wrong.
Perhaps your teammate might benefit from a little additional assistance from you but has been scared to ask.
Offering to listen to your coworker’s worries can sometimes improve your working relationship and even lead to a long-term friendship!
Keeping Track of Extremely Nasty Behavior
If you’re dealing with particularly nasty activity from a coworker, or sexual behavior, keep track of each episode in a little notebook.
Jot down details like what happened during the incident, who was involved, and when it happened.
Make an appointment to speak with your supervisor as soon as possible, and remember to bring your notepad!
Never Go Too Far
Finally, it is completely understandable that you would require assistance with challenging chores from time to time.
Similarly, your coworkers may require your assistance at times.
However, it would help if you never asked for too much assistance.
Remember that when you ask employees for assistance, they must stop what they’re doing to assist you.
When this happens too frequently, it may affect their performance, leading to bad feelings against you.
As a CNA, you can evaluate your behavior, talk to your coworker, and document particularly bad behavior to get along with coworkers.
Some CNA Stories on Real-life Struggles
1. “The worst part was trying to do your job…”
After working as a CNA for almost ten years at a heavily unionized general hospital, I found the attitudes of my co-workers to be the hardest to cope with.
People who avoid their responsibilities, hide in empty rooms, disappear for 30–45 minutes on errands that should take no more than 15 minutes.
They also wait to be told what to do, never take the initiative even though they have years of experience and know exactly what needs to be done can make the team impossible to work as a whole.
Others keep using their phones instead of answering call bells, claiming that it is the nurses’ job.
They also leave work for the next shift, not communicating with incoming shifts about specific patient issues as they leave several minutes before their replacements arrive, etc.
These behaviors leave idiots like me to pick up the load, risking burnout and workplace anger towards co-workers.
And, as I noted, in a heavily unionized workplace, it’s tough to correct problems like this.
The politics involved can prevent management from taking action even though they’ve been repeatedly informed of the issue.
To be penalized, a CNA must hurt a patient by their actions or inactions.
It can be hard dealing with people who have different personalities and who are not at their best due to physical/mental issues.
Also, variations in culture/language and family can be a royal pain in the rear, but there is a flip side to everything, and it can be very gratifying.
I realized that my efforts might help someone in need rather than just making my employer more money so they could buy their 16-year-old a car I couldn’t afford.
And while I got to go home at the end of the day, the patients had to stay until they were discharged.
The worst part was trying to do your job as your co-workers slipped through the cracks and pushed the boundaries of acceptable office behavior.
I had to remind myself that folks like these were treating me like a scam target and to keep my emotions out of our interactions so that my shift was as pleasant as possible.
If there is karma, I hope someone like themselves takes care of them in their senior years.
2. “They lie, overreact, and inflate the story“
No matter how hard you try as a CNA to do everything everyone wants, there will always be that one patient or family member that is dissatisfied with your work.
They’re ungrateful, nasty, and obnoxious (for lack of better adjectives).
They dismiss you, push you, make absurd requirements of you, and then turn to your supervisor and claim you never did anything for them.
They lie, overreact, and inflate the story while still looking you in the eyes and asking for your assistance.
I guarantee you’ll come across a patient/family member who will drive you mad with their wishes, then claim you didn’t answer their phone.
3. “This job is making me miserable”
I’m a new Certified Nursing Assistant.
It irritates me.
I don’t get any job satisfaction from it.
It’s a difficult and intimidating situation.
It makes me feel anxious.
It makes me feel depressed.
I currently hate being a CNA.
I want to quit, but my family is really proud of me, and I don’t want to let them down.
However, this job makes me miserable, so I’m wondering how to be a better CNA.
Every employee faces unique obstacles, but workplace issues can have a personal impact on nursing assistants, stemming them from offering their best and safely caring for patients.
CNAs are noted for their tenacity on the job, despite the various types of stress they face.
They are the caregivers on whom patients rely, and they need to be heard.
Why is CNA Underappreciated?
CNAs are only looked down on when they go above their work descriptions or label themselves nurses. For instance, they may visit or put a call across to family members of their patients and say, “I’m a nurse, and…” before asking questions that only a nurse would ask.
What Are Some Weaknesses as a CNA?
Although a CNA’s patient load can get overwhelming at times, they can still do their duties while ensuring that all of their patients are well cared for and pleased. One weakness of the job is that CNAs sometimes become emotionally connected to their patients and find it difficult to cope when they die.
What is the Most Challenging Part of Being a CNA?
The most difficult aspect of working as a CNA is:
– Seeing patients or residents to whom you’ve grown attached move to other healthcare facilities or die.
– Working in a hospital or institution with shortages or a low ratio of nursing care to patients is difficult for employees.
Is Being a CNA Hard on Your Back?
Healthcare workers have a significantly greater rate of musculoskeletal injuries than those in other industries. CNAs face a variety of hazards on the job, including back and shoulder injuries. Lifting and turning patients are all common work responsibilities that result in accidents.
Why is Being a Certified Nursing Assistant So Hard?
This depends on a lot of things. It can be difficult for some people to overcome the physical demands of CNA work. Picking up and carrying individuals two to four times your weight and being on your feet all day, often for 14-16 hours a day, is a lot more difficult than you might expect. It’s really taxing on the body.
Is Being a CNA Harder than Being a Nurse?
When post-acute or long-term care is provided, LPNs and RNs have nursing assistant supervision as one of their main responsibilities. Being an RN is more difficult than being a CNA in several aspects. You have more decisions to make and more judgment calls to make.
What Types of Hazards do CNAs Face?
Healthcare workers, especially CNAs, face a wide range of hazards on the job, including:
– Chemical and drug exposure
– Sharps injuries
– Latex allergies
– Back injuries
– Violence from patients
NurseCode Editorial Process
The nurse code team only utilizes the highest quality resources. Including academic institutions, recognized publications and peer-reviewed studies. All of our articles are vetted for fact-checking in order to maintain integrity and to provide reliable, accurate and trustworthy information. Read more about our editorial process here.