After CNA Training: When You’re Stuck With the Bully

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I’ve told you before that after I finished CNA training, I worked in a nursing home. It was some of the most challenging work I’d every done, but the smiles of every patient I cared for made all of the long hours and the hard work worth it. My colleagues made it worthwhile as well; I considered most of them to be good friends during work hours, and some even became my friends outside the facility.

After a year of working with the same people, though, things were bound to change. We’d occasionally welcomed new CNAs into our fold, but most of them found that after CNA training, they couldn’t handle the work or they would rather work at a different facility with fewer hours and higher pay. At about the year mark, though, we said hello to a few new faces that ended up becoming much more permanent.

Some of the new co-workers I had after CNA training I liked. Others, I simply tried to steer clear from. One of the male CNAs fell into the latter category. While I knew he had taken the very same CNA training classes, he didn’t seem to catch onto the concept of patient care. He’d go through the steps, skipping the ones he didn’t like, and get his work done as quickly as possible. He wasn’t helpful; he’d actually hide in a patient’s room until everyone else was finished or it was time to clock out. He had a horrible attitude, and most of the CNAs on my shift refused to work with him. Still, with the little amount of staff we had and no other options in sight, the DON refused to fire him.

And then it happened. Night after night after CNA training, I’d clock in and check my assigned hall and partner. Night after night after CNA training, it would list his name beside mine. At first I put on a smile, hoping it would only be a short term problem. Then, as the weeks wore on, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I stayed over after clocking off of my shift one morning and waited for the DON to arrive in her office. When she did, I confronted her.

“Why am I always partners with him? I don’t like him, and he does everything possible to make my shifts harder for me than necessary.”

I could literally see her swallow as she chose her words carefully. “You have such a wonderful personality. You get along with everyone. Almost all of your co-workers have refused to work with him, so we thought you might be able to. And, we thought your personality and ethics might rub off on him.”

Sure, I was flattered. Most employees dream of hearing that kind of praise from their boss after CNA training. But this wasn’t the life I was expecting after CNA training. How was I going to deal with him? How would I put up with him, night after night?

That’s when I came up with a plan. One that can help you too if you have to work with a bully or a troublemaker after CNA training.

Working With Bullies After CNA Training

  • Work Together- He was famous for wanting to go off on his own and take care of his patients his own way, but I stopped that quickly. I insisted we work together to complete all of the tasks more quickly. By doing this, I could not only keep an eye on him after CNA training, but could make sure every patient was cared for correctly. If he skipped something, I reminded him or did it myself.
  • Get Personal- In the past, he liked to race from one patient to the next, and I knew from CNA training that this can lead to forgetting tasks and patients getting hurt. In order to slow him down, I got him talking. I asked questions about his life and what he wanted to do with it. Turns out, he was in nursing school during the day and planning on becoming an RN. While I respected this, I reminded him that in order to be a good one, he needed to know how to properly take care of patients.
  • Ask for Help- When the going got rough, I didn’t hesitate to go back to the director of nursing and fill out an official complaint. I knew that although he might not like it, my job after CNA training was to take care of my patients and make sure they were safe.

Dealing with Trouble Co-workers After CNA Training

Are you dealing with a troublesome co-worker? Take these steps and talk to your nurse manager or DON to get some help after CNA training.

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