Becoming a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) and my experience in working in a nursing home


Hi everyone and welcome back to my blog “living life without regret.” Today we will be discussing becoming a certified nursing assistant and my personal experience in working in a nursing home. I never thought I would ever want to become anyone who worked in a nursing field.  Why…because one…I am deathly afraid of needles and hospitals or anything that may smell like a hospital.  I mean I was shaking when I was in the hospital to when I was having my son…and I was more scared of getting the epidural which I opted out of getting, then actually having my son…funny huh lol So why on earth would I even consider working anywhere where I might see needles or old people?

                        How I became a CNA and What it was like for me:

Well I have been in school for awhile, I got my associates degree in Social Work Management, my bachelors in Psychology and I am currently working on my masters in Health Care Administration.  I was looking for a job while being a stay at home mom and I ended up applying to a nursing home where I used to live. I got accepted and started to train to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.  I didn’t realize what was all involved, I thought it was just pretty basic but to my surprise there is so much you really need to know when  you are going to go for that type of job. One of those things is patience.  You need LOTS of patience because you just need to.  There are going to be residents in there that you are not going to know what they want or what they are talking about and it will frustrate you to no end. There’s more things to learn, but that’s one of the main ones.  I’m not going to go into specifics because you can easily look it up online, because each place you go and take it is different. So I will just tell you about my personal experience. I did my training at the nursing home…we had to do in class work and then clinicals.  Now in class work is basically like quizzes, working on manikins, watching educational dvds about CNA’s, learning about pretty much everything that you would need to know including how to take care of a dead person…no joke you actually do, and I did and more.  In class work is really easy…you sometimes work with partners, atleast our class did, you work on the manikin which is really fun, but you also get quizzes which are never fun but it’s a way to test what you know.  My class was for about 3 weeks, and before then I was a hospitality aid…which basically you do whatever you are told by the person in charge of you.  It’s kind of like interning for your nursing degree…you do whatever you are told no questions asked lol…I was a hospitality aid for about 2-3 weeks, and then the class started.  For the first couple of weeks we pretty much started early in the morning and went into the early afternoon, then the last week it was basically starting in the late afternoon til late at night.  It was tiring…but after the 3 weeks of class, then you take a test which to me was really easy.  Now this test is one that you take at the facility not the complete real one that takes all day.  After the test, the teacher or whoever you have grades it and they let you know if you passed or not…I did…they give you a certificate and then you go on the floor for real this time by yourself with the other already trained CNA’s.  This was nerve racking but also really fun because you get to test out what you know…the problem is what you learn in class is completely different then when you actually get out on the floor on your own.  I leaned very quickly what the rhythm was and this was back last May.  I was basically training from July-Nov and then I took my test in Nov.  The real test you take at the red cross and it’s again nerve racking.  You take the written test which is filled with everything you have learned and trained, on top of things that were in the books you got, and after that you take a clinical/skills exam which is where they pick 5 skills for you to know, and you have to do them without help from the test giver.  This whole process takes your entire day so never plan on doing anything that day because you will be mentally drained and will want to go home and sleep or eat lol.  After both exams you get your results whether you passed or fail…and you really hope you pass because if you don’t you have to go 2 more times…and after that, I believe you have to retake the class.  I passed everything so I was ready to hit the floor for real.  As of Nov 5th, 2015 I was an official CNA.  Now I forgot to mention that after the class, about a week or two after I experienced my first dead person and how to take care of them.  Luckily I had help from a friend to do that.   You do have to wear uniforms, and you do have to pass all don’t think you can just sleep your way through everything if becoming a CNA is what you really want.

What I learned:

I learned alot from working in a nursing home…1) was to stick up for myself and to not take crap from people.  I’m very easy going and I can be a little quiet, but I learned quickly thanks from the help from some friends and nurses, that you have to stick up for yourself and stand up for what is right.  Not everyone is going to treat you fair and if you feel that something is wrong, and it is wrong, say something about it because if you don’t, people will walk right over you and you will be ignored.  I can’t tell you how many times I had to stand up for what I thought was right…even if no one else agreed with me…it feels really great and it makes you a better person. 2)  I  learned to take responsibility for what you did…and to never let someone else twist your words or what happened.  I’ve had this happen, and I learned quickly that I need to speak up for myself and make sure that the truth comes out and that others don’t believe a lie because it will come back to bite you in the butt. 3) I  learned to make friends because they will be your support when things don’t go well, they will be your back up if something happens and they will be there when you just need a friend or to have a good time.  I made so many friends and I will not forget any of them..including the regular nurses.4) I also learned that even though you say you can or will never do something, give it a try first, you might actually surprise yourself.   Besides all of these things I learned, the job for me was about making sure my residents were safe, happy, comfortable and well taken care of…the residents should come first at all times.  When you don’t take your job seriously and think about the well being of the residents, bad things can happen and then not only do you look bad but the facility you work for looks bad too, when you have to answer to that resident’s family. And it’s bad enough to have to tell them what they don’t want to hear from what you know…because as a CNA you can not diagnose them,  but when you also realized you screwed up, it’s worse…so TAKE YOUR JOB SERIOUSLY AND REMEMBER THE WELL BEING OF THE RESIDENT ALWAYS COMES FIRST, WHETHER YOU AGREE WITH THE RESIDENT’S FAMILY OR THE NURSES OR NOT,  THE RESIDENTS COME FIRST.

What am I doing now?

Currently I am a stay at home mom again.  I had to quit my job that I liked for personal reasons…but I’m ok with it because I’ve been able to spend time with my son who is very young.  He has a speech therapist and we are working with him to learn sign language in hopes that he will want to talk soon. I took sign language in high school so it’s a very good skill to have. I am happy to announce that he knows how to sign the words “More, Eat, Please, and Help.”  He knows how to say “all done, thank you and get.”  He knows what and where to go when you say “it’s time to brush our teeth, or lets go to bed, or get something to eat.”  He knows what a “book” is, what a “toothbrush” is what his “cup” is, what his “stroller” is and more.  He loves to color with his markers or a pen or pencil, he loves to eat normal food, we no longer have him on baby food and he’s just a very energetic toddler. So am I happy I had to quit my job…well I’m not going to jump up and down, but I am ok with the decision that we have made and I love watching Liam grow up and learn new things. Will I ever go back to work, yes, maybe not as a CNA but eventually I will go back to work,  but for now and the situation that has occurred, I am currently happy.

This job is not for everyone…and as for me…I do not regret ever deciding to do that type of job…it taught me a lot and I’m grateful I had the opportunity to learn something I thought I would never do. And if you think that your job is easier, and that CNA’s are lazy and don’t do anything, trying working as one and then we will see if you say that again.


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Question of the blog:

Have you done something that you thought you would never do?  Worked in a place you thought you would never work in, go down a career path that you thought you would never do? Leave it in the comments about your experience 🙂


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