After CNA Training: Survival Tips From an Experienced CNA

cna trainingCNA Training

Over the years, I’ve experienced many successes and failures as a CNA. My CNA training helped me face and accept almost every one of them, but I also received help from my co-workers, my employers, and my years of experience. Without this combination, some of those moments might have been unbearable.

Looking back, I remember what it was like graduating from CNA training. I remember the confusion, the adrenaline, the rush, and the compassion. I remember looking at everything with fresh eyes and wondering if I was ever going to make it through the first week. Slowly, I learned that I would, that I would not only make it through a week, but a month, and then years. The job isn’t easy; don’t let anyone ever tell you it is. But it is worth every painstaking, feet throbbing, back aching moment just to see your patient smile.

While it may take years for you to learn everything you need to in order to become the best CNA possible, here are a few tips that will help get you started right out of CNA training.

Survival Tips After CNA Training

  • You can’t do everything. While you may want to, you simply can’t.
  • There’s no shame in asking for help.
  • Don’t be scared of looking dumb in front of your co-workers after CNA training. Each day is a new lesson; if you aren’t sure about something, ask.
  • Don’t hang around co-workers who are too scared to ask for help or who know everything.
  • Before visiting a patient, always be sure you understand their care plan.
  • Memorize those abbreviations and acronyms you learned in CNA training. You will eventually need to know what NPO and q2h means (probably much sooner than you think.)
  • Figure out which nurse is in charge of your patients before your shift begins. If something goes wrong, you need to know who to notify.
  • Always think back to your CNA training whenever starting a task. Know why you are doing it and walk through the steps in your head before you begin so you are sure you know how to do it.
  • Don’t minimize problems. A small skin tear may only require a band aid, but it still needs to be reported and taken care of.
  • Get your priorities straight. Learn what is most important after CNA training and do it first.
  • Chart as you go. Waiting until the last minute can often mean forgetting important details. It can also mean sitting at work for longer than you want.
  • Money matters. While you might have entered CNA training with the noblest of intentions, you still need to pay the bills. Make sure you are using your time wisely and that you take advantage of the resources your employer offers.
  • Doctors and nurses aren’t the enemy. In fact, they can be your friends and your allies. Be nice to them.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Mistakes are part of life. If you make a mistake after CNA training, learn from it and move on. Other patients need you.
  • Your first post mortem care after CNA training is going to be difficult, sad, and frustrating. It’s okay to be sad, and it’s okay to cry. However, make sure your emotions don’t keep you from caring for your patients. If possible, take a break or wait until your shift is over to give in to your emotions.

How to Survive Your First Years After CNA Training

While CNA training might have been tough to get through, your first few years afterward are going to be just as difficult. While this job is rewarding, it can take some getting used to and will require a lot out of you. Use these tips to prepare for the lessons you will learn after CNA training.

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