After I finished CNA training, I worked in a nursing home (long term care facility) for a little over two years before I decided to try my hand at home health. While there were many benefits to working in this kind of medical facility after CNA training, things weren’t always roses and chocolates. In fact, there were some drawbacks that helped lead me to the later decision to find work elsewhere and even begin my own private duty business.
Drawbacks of LTC After CNA Training
Long term care, or LTC, facilities can have a few drawbacks that you need to be aware of after CNA training. Here are just a few.
- Long Term Care is Changing- Hospitals are feeling the pressure to discharge patients much faster these days, and that often means that when they enter the LTC facility, they have a lot of issues that they need help with post-surgery or post-hospital stay. While you may be used to going into a room, helping patients use the restroom and get dressed after CNA training, your job now may be a little more complicated. You might need the assistance of a nurse to accomplish some tasks, and you may have to work around medical equipment like central lines, IV lines, and drains.
- Higher CNA/Patient Ratios- Working in LTC after CNA training is different than working in a hospital or for home health. You’ll be expected to care for many more patients during your shift, and to provide them with a outstanding level of care.
- Staffing Shortages- Being short-staffed when working in a nursing home after CNA training is often a way of life. This may not be the case with your particular facility, but it was with the one I worked at the the ones my CNA friends have worked at as well. Most LTC facilities don’t have unit secretaries or even floaters, so it’s often up to you to fill out all your own paperwork, deliver fresh ice and water to patients, and take vital signs for all your patients each shift- in addition to taking care of all the rest of your responsibilities after CNA training.
- Incompetent Employees Can Hide- While there may be plenty of management available to see what’s going on during first shift, second and third shift employees are often left on their own. This means that incompetent employees are much more likely to be able to fly under the radar. It’s up to you after CNA training to report any kind of incompetence to your nurse manager or director of nursing so it can be dealt with.
- Orientation can be Minimal- The LTC facility I worked at fortunately offered several weeks of orientation and training time before I was allowed to go off and take care of patients on my own. This isn’t the case with all facilities you’ll encounter after CNA training, however. A friend of mine took a job at a LTC home recently and was surprised to find that she was given only three days to learn everything she needed to before being sent off on her own. It was stressful, as she could barely remember half of the patients names and where the extra towels were located by the end of the first week.
Are you Sure You’re Ready for CNA Training?
CNA training can offer you the freedom to work in a career you know you’ll love, but you need to be careful what job location you choose after you’ve finished these classes. If you’re not careful, you could suffer the drawbacks of working in a LTC facility after CNA training.