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Nursing Sucks!!! And This Is Why!!!

I'm a CNA, who once contamplated going into the Nursing profession. Not anymore!! However, this was written in the hopes that maybe someone will read it and find out what people in this line of work truly go through in the course of their jobs weither they work in a Hospital, Nursing Home or Assisted, or wherever. After 2 years of doing this line of work, I am stressed out and depressed. Some days I don't know how I go on, but somehow I do, I try and take it one day at a time and all the time NEVER loose hope, thats one of THE MOST important things ever. The Hope that one day I will score that new job and get out of my private circle of Hell on Earth. This is my way of venting; still a lot has changed since I got my first job at a nursing home.

Instead of working at a 10 dollar an hour, 40 hour a week job, which I was literally forced to quit because of my co-workers. I now work 2 jobs one at an Assisted Living complex and an in Home Health gig, both for about the same as a fast food wage. And while now I admit, my health has improved because I quit the other place; I merely tolerate it until I find something better.

Anyway, I’ve wanted to sit down and write this for a while now, but I didn’t really know what to say. So, I’ll just do what I want at the beginning.

First off to the “little charmer” who left me the message on one of my other CNA stories that included, “I sincerely hope you don’t work with the elderly.” Hmm, well if you had paid any attention when you read the first part of my post, you would have found that I AM a CNA, so who and the h)e)l)l else would I be working with, you dingus?!

Myself, and several friends who work in this field had a good laugh over the message though. Because you’re the naïve ever-newbie sort that we would be most likely to find locked in a bathroom stall, balling hysterically thru your rose colored glasses. “OMG why are they so meannnn to meeee?!!!! They’re supposed to be nice and sweeettttt!!!!!” All the while looking for Cinderella’s fairy godmother to pop up and slap a sparkly band-aid on all your problems, a la Disney style.

You also mentioned that you were a CNA for 4 years; well that tells me that you are no longer one, for one of several reasons.

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1. You have a significant other, or live with another person (parent, friend or family, etc.) who makes enough income that what you made was not necessary, so you left.

2. You have a trust fund or some other type of income, i.e. financial loans or went back to school or etc., which enabled you to leave.

3. What I think is the most likely reason, you like a high number of people succumbed to what is commonly known as burnout. And would have rather accepted the stigma of unemployment in your own home, because you finally figured out that s)h)i)t smeared paper in a clogged toilet bowl is treated with more respect than you are as a human being.

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Look down your nose at me all you want, but I am being honest. Yes, I like a lot of people am doing this job for one purpose only a. PAY. CHECK!!!! Yep and I’m not ashamed of it, I got into CNA work because I am in a small town that has next to no good jobs and I needed something fast that was relatively stable. Because in case you haven’t noticed, this country is still in a crappy recession. I don’t care what our stupid government says and jobs are hard to come by, especially “good” ones. I took what I had to, in order to be a responsible adult and pay my bills, get food to eat, gas in my car to get to those jobs, and keep a roof over my head, among other things.

I am luckier than some, but I won’t apologize for my opinion, especially about the elderly people I work with. Who I have found the majority are lazy, self centered, brain dead goobers who want to pretend they never made a bad choice in their life. They are extremely lucky to be in good enough health NOT to be in a nursing home, which is basically the final end of the road. For the advanced elderly unless you are carried out in a body bag, there’s no way out. Because of that they feel smug, and want to believe they are higher than what they are, so not only did their kids dump them on us to get on with their lives. So we're ultimately responsible and yet in return are made to feel make like a boil on the business end of an amoeba’s kiester. Thus giving themselves an ego boost, plus that's on a GOOD day!

I’m not saying that all elderly people are like that; in fact I do like several of my people. Because they are kind, polite and are grateful for the help you give them. However, there are several lessons/things I live by/things I have found are universal in places now being in this line of work.

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1.) Never trust anybody! Not co-workers, Administrators or even those residents you do like. Because they are ALL out to get you, even if you do something like breathe wrong in their direction or happen to feel bored. They’ll even make up something to run and tattle to the nearest person in power that they can find.

In a way have never been able to figure out, in places like nursing homes that have no benefits or any type of advancement. My Co-workers I have found in some misguided sense of power play, feel the need for some sort of rigid hierarchy where they band together in little groups to prey on the, good workers, the odd balls and what not just to give themselves a sense of purpose and control. And more often than not, I’ve found if there’s something one or more of them wants, each other. And if you do make a mistake, and happen to confide in one you think is suddenly your best bud, simply because you went to the bar after work. They WILL you anything against you that they can get away with, be it you didn’t change a residents underpants before shift change or had a parking ticket in high school.

2.)The Admins, these people are a sick joke. They DON’T care about you! They are first and foremost looking out for both themselves and ways how to make the most money for the company, thus padding their own retirements. They play heavy favorites, and will give those people freeway to harass other people and turn a blind eye to their “indiscressions”, like taking hour long lunches, or leaving off-site for extended periods. And their so-called “open door policy” is nothing more than revolving doors for those favorites to come in and rat on people actually doing their job, or are jealous of, or more often than not want to hide from doing any actual work.

3.) Residents WILL watch you like a hawk just waiting for you to screw up, or if you do something they don’t like. Yes, they WILL behave like giant toddlers and run to Mommy i.e. The DON or in some instants will simply make up stuff. I had that happen to me and I almost lost my job over it, because the woman was a Grade A whiner, and my boss was lazy and didn’t want to deal with her. She also brought in several thousand dollars every month, while I was just a peon who was a dime a dozen and could be easily replaced. So you do the math, fortunately the facility big boss is more sane and believed me over the woman. So I was able to keep my job. But that just goes to show, you can’t trust anybody.

In regards to the giant toddler comment, no matter where you work you are basically working in a glorified day care. All I see is a bunch of people who behave like they are characters in the Russian novel, Animal Farm. They behave like uncivilized morons who think they are hot s)h)i)t. Yet like babies, they no longer know the meaning of the words, “please” or “Thank you”. Mealtimes are the perfect example for me; I have people raising their glasses and cups shaking them in the air for my attention. Instead of waiting until I pass, then saying they need or want something. They don’t stop talking to their tablemates the whole time usually and I’m ignored unless I bring the desired object, or the get the Jedi Death stare in the back of my skull until I do or don’t bring it quickly enough.

You get constant varying degrees of, “I want” or “I want it NOW or ELSE”. And you have to bend like a pretzel to prefect the fine Art of B)u)t)t)K)i)s)s)i)n)g, because unlike small children, they have the power to get you “fired” and ruin any future employment prospects!!! They have anything they want for the asking and all they do is complain, about the food, the service, the size of their apartments. Anything! I have client’s in my Home Health gig that would absolutely LOVE to have a home like this, because they are poor and appreciate weither they get to eat one meal a day, if their lucky.

They have no regard that there are other people besides themselves, that you have to take care of and time is limited for you a lot of the time. So, when they corner you they will keep you hopping for 20 minutes or more for all sorts of stupid stuff. For example, like looking for a 99 cent pink nail file that their kid brought them, and they HAVE to have it exactly at a 95 degree angle facing the planet Mars on their head board to ward off the tin-foil hat purple people eaters before they go to bed so they can sleep. Ugh!!!

4.) Speaking of weird, older people seem to have this weird aversion to water as well; it might as well be Kryptonite. We had one independent guy who was trusted to shower himself. We didn’t notice anything wrong until a strange intensely gross smell began coming out of his room. Turns out he hadn’t showered in “months” and had nasty sores in very sensitive places. I can’t tell you how many fights I’ve averted, because some old fart wants to take a swing at me for mentioning the very word, “water.” And I’ve lost count how many times that I have covered people in strong perfume/deodorant so they won’t stink of their urine reeking unwashed privates, and nasty underarms among other things in front of their loved ones. I do it discreetly behind their backs much of the time too, so they can’t refuse me doing it because it’s simply the fact they refuse showers or won’t wash/wipe after going.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been urinated and defecated on, simply because these lazy bastards won’t wait till they sit on the toilet when I help them get their pants down.

And what is truly disgusting is that they are allowed to wallow in this filth like a hog. Anyone who says otherwise, liberals yell it would be “infringing on their rights”. Well what about my right to not have the inside of my nostrils plug themselves whenever I go into work. I know some elderly peoples senses have dulled, but NOT to the point that this should be even slightly socially acceptable. It’s taught me to budget a small amount every month for hygiene/bath products out the arse, more than most people. I am obsessed with my body being clean, so I won’t even smell like that EVER! Nobody knows when I’m between baths either, because I refuse to be embarrassed on something preventable!

5.) And don’t even get me started about the ones who I KNOW hates me simply because I am young. That I won’t even go into at all, because it’s too LONG a subject.

6.) Families are the WORST!!! They see you as hired help they can order around at will, instead of maybe helping out a little. They like their older family members seem to think you are made of infinite time, not to mention they irritate the f-ing crap outta you!

Empathy is a foreign concept with them, they expect you to adore dropping everything else especially when you can’t really to change a loaded diaper, like before a meal. Simply because their meemee/peepaw decided to drop one and NOT tell anybody they had to go. That ticks me off, because the residents I work with all have pull cords to pull to CALL me if they do, so I can prevent stuff like this. And what ticks me off more, is that they aren’t senile, you can’t be to get admitted where I work. It’s just PURE LAZINESS!!!

I recently had the brain-dead granddaughter of one of my most disliked people, this girl was dressed to the hilt in designer everything. It looked like she hadn’t had to work a day in her life, and had had everything handed to her, she says to me. “I just love old people, their so cute.” For the sake of keeping my job, I had to smile and hold myself back from punching her in her obvious porcelain veneers. All I really wanted to do is take her and her grandparent, throw them into their apartment and deadbolt the door from the outside for the next week.

Then maybe she would grow a brain in that hollow spot inbetween her ears and realize NOBODY loves being elbow deep in filth willingly without a very good reason.

7.) Almost anywhere you go, you WILL be doing things that aren’t in your job description. Or will be doing the work of several different departments, dietary and laundry, even security to name a few. Things that should be taken care of by other people get dumped on me because my facility big boss wants to save a few bucks to line his pocket with. I had a girl who was an actual nurse who was hired on part-time for extra money, that's what she told us. And when she got onto the floor she was shocked, she told me that what myself and my co-workers are doing was literally considered “skilled nursing”, despite our CNA status, and our pay was a joke!

8.) This is also leading to another lesson, they stress to us over and over, do everything “by the book”. Puh-leeze... if we did everything like that step-by-step, it would take me an hour an entire chapter just to put someone’s socks on in the morning. So, corners ARE going to be cut in many ways, shapes and forms. Because they don’t want to pay you overtime, if they don’t have to so everything has to be crammed into a certain number of hours, be they 4 or a full 8. As long as nobody sees you, and you don’t mess with medicine in any way, then it WILL happen. Make no mistake about that.

9.) Probably THE most important thing that you will ever find out. As a CNA, you are basically the leper of the medical world; you are the bridge between the patients and medical staff. You are a vital chain in the link of the medical establishment, yet when I said that s)h)i)t smeared toilet paper was treated with more respect than you are. Well it’s TRUE!

What should be a good paying job, is maybe at most a 20,000 a year or below job with no benefits. They make you work like a literal mule, and treat you like a door mat. You are the staff’s whipping person, you are the one that is abused the most, that is looked down and frowned upon. You are the one who will be given all the c)r)a)p and potentionally hazardous jobs that the nurses won’t do. Your health and emotional well-being is put on hold, working long hours because your bosses want to use some extra money in the budget to take a 10 day holiday for the higher-ups. Instead of buying equipment that could help with your job, like a hoyer for obese clients that you just had to admit.

Because if they’re money is good, potentional people will be given a half-arsed assessment and WILL be admitted. Then it will be up to you to take care of them, no matter how bizarre or dangerous they are and the higher-ups won’t have anything to do with them unless something is extremely wrong like being deathly ill or state is coming in for a yearly check.

Then they are all out of the office, holding hands with the workers who actually do WORK pretending to be frolicking around the whole d)a)m)n place singing show tunes surrounded by pink sparkily cupcakes, talking puppies and unicorns farting rainbows. When it’s really just discreetly clawing up YOUR backside, and breathing down your neck warning you not to screw up making the useless higher-ups look good.

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Honestly no, I don’t give a crap a)s)s about people; I’m paid to make sure they are relatively intact for the next shift. In fact, if goes to the hospital, I’m jumping for joy in my head because that’s one that I “don’t” have to take care of. Or if they pass away, if they didn’t mean anything to me they are barely a blip on my radar. I just enjoy less of a workload and extra time for unexpected changes until the next joker moves into the vacant space or comes back. All the while I’m putting on a “sad” face and parroting the sentimental drivel the majority of my sheepish bleeding heart co-workers are bleating. As soon as my foot is over that threshold and I’m punched out for the day, my life is my own again and they no longer have any say over what I do.

Despite what my jobs seem to think, because they are always calling me relentlessly, especially on my days off when I want to relax. Because unlike the majority of my call-off happy co-workers, I’m dependable and I don’t have any kids, they think it equals no life and thus need to wipe everyone else’s backsides and clean up their messes. Yet, if I dare hit 80 hours or a little more by working these hours, my big boss crabs about overtime pay.

And I have a co-worker, who is under me in seniority, yet because she has 3 kids as a “single mom” gets first pick on shifts. Despite the fact, I have asked for the evening shifts before she did, well over a year ago. Stuff like that p)i)s)s)e)s me off royally, but the other thing that sets the good CNA’s apart from the one who will eventually quit. Is maintaining both an emotional distance with people you work around, that way when you leave you can easily go back to the real world and not give a crap what goes on on the next shift. As well as what I call, “Zen Face” an expression, that even though you might be screaming curses and profanity on the inside. On the outside you look ever-cheerful and perfectly happy to do whatever stupid or idotic thing that you might be asked to do next.

Basically on the outside you’re a happy little corporate drone, despite having a an actual brain on the inside, that you are discouraged from using by they way. Because bosses don’t like to see anybody smarter or have more common sense than they do.

You don’t think that I’d rather be living in Europe, going down long country roads in a sporty little Ferrari, the wind whipping my hair while I go home to a stylish apartment or house. Or having dinner and wine with friends in a little bistro or café the conversation centering on fine art, history and beautiful music, etc.

Something that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with bowel movements, listening to crabbing about this or that body part (some of which I would rather NOT hear because it’s gross) isn’t working right, clogged and misc. or about yet another sports network or boring game show.

I would want to be at the top of the Opera Populaire under billions of stars in Paris. Or enjoying shopping on the famous market streets in Rome, or horseback riding thru the moors of Ireland among other things. Than sticking my nose up somebody’s stinky rear end because they are too lazy to wipe themselves.

YES!!! I definitely would!!!

I tell people at home if there was a fire, or disaster, unless maybe it was one of my liked residents close by. I wouldn’t bother saving anyone, I would just bolt out the door, my life is WAY more important than some old fart I could care less about and treats me like crap. They don’t realize that I don’t give a damn about them, I am NOT paid enough or have enough incentive to risk a life threatening scenario to get somebody’s wheelchair bound mother who should have been in a nursing home in the first place, with bad knees and is more fat dead-weight than anything to transfer and get her out the door all the while slowing us down because she keeps trying steer, then I get to stay in the hospital and wrack up debt when the fire gets us, and that is considering if I live.

In fact, I give more thought and care to how I want to pop a zit on my backside, than I do for my residents in reality. Yes, I will be old one day; in fact I will be older at the end of writing this. However, I ain’t in that place where they are, where I am ready to break down. I want to enjoy the life and youth I still am lucky enough to have. What really chaps my cheeks is my roommate and best friend have suggested drugging myself with Ativan or Xanax to get through the day, because I get stressed sometimes. Uh no.

I am NOT resorting to turning myself into a medicated zombie like some of the people I know have done, its because they’ve given up. I already take about 4 medicines, 3 for my stomach, one to help me sleep occasionally because when I have to go into work on day shift, anxiety won’t let me sleep because I know it will be H)E)L)L!!! That is enough for me, it’s the price, I still have to pay to cope from my last job and many of the things I still put up with in the current, the stress, anxiety and lack of dignity to name a few. Right now, what I am doing is a place holder for me to keep my head above water and up to date with the “responsibilities” that come every month like clockwork.

So don’t anybody get all holier than thou on me, because this site is a place to let our opinions and vents/rants about life be heard without judgment. However, if you feel the need to be an a-hole. Go somewhere else. Because this is MY little space, and you are free to go on your merry way. I am not hurting anyone, so just let me live and let live. Thank you:)!
TheTwilightQueen TheTwilightQueen 26-30, F 9 Responses Feb 22, 2013

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I have to say, Twilight, that I relate to and agree with a lot of what you say. And hey, this is a venting blog, so we should be able to call a spade a spade and just tell it like it is.

I was in nursing school once (it didn't work out) and I'm a CNA now, but I refuse to practice because of some of these soul sucking horror stories I've heard. I've heard particularly bad things about rest homes/nursing homes, so I can tell without stepping foot in one that I would likely not last long and hate working there. I'm highly skilled in many areas and a strong asset to any organization, but toxic work environments have never, never, ever worked out for me--it's just how I am.

The rest home in my area, in fact, regularly gets its employees in trouble and when they are on probation sends them over to our outpatient clinic (an actual nice work environment) while they try to decide if they’re going to fire them. I had a recruiter try to actively recruit me for his CNA position on LinkedIn and I shied away from the offer even though we were low on cash.

I keep my CNA renewed for one reason and one reason only—if we hit on seriously hard times, I will use it in an extremely limited capacity to keep us from going homeless until I find something better. Also, I family members with very good paying long term care insurance (we’re talking a salary of between $3,500 and $5,000 a month), so there’s that.

To the last poster:

“I am glad that women are choosing different professions nowadays. I feel like when a young woman decides not to major in nursing, another soul is spared.”

I agree. When I left nursing school, I felt so bad about myself and wished I could join my former colleagues as they decorated their graduation caps and got pinned. Now that they have been in the workforce for a couple years in a crap economy and I’m living near the mountains while getting a Master’s Degree (in something else), I’m actually really happy the way things turned out. This is just speculation, but I predict by the time I land in a (non-back breaking) government position, most of them will be just about burning out on the career they thought they wanted as the senior nurses and hospital staff/bureaucracy devour them.

“i would call out to the young girls " be doctors, not nurses!" If i can just save one.”

That’s the way to do it. Go big or go home.

nurse = slave

oh lordy lord...these are the exact reason i quit my job as a care assistant after only 12 weeks. i live in uk and here we call it care assistant, not cna. we don't have to be certified for it though. we just need a criminal background check and that's it. training is provided by teh employer, or you could do something called nvq level 2 prior to joining.

there's absolutely nothing in this essay that i disagree with. i too joined work as a care assistant with the big hope that one day i will become a nurse. but after what i have seen and done, im not doing this again, and the nurses and the care assistants can go f themselves. it's the most smelliest and dirtiest job in the world which bothered me the most.

however, i will do it again. yes i will, IF AND ONLY IF THE HOURLY WAGE IS MINIMUM 12 pounds an hour as starting salary for 8 hours a day (not 12) and is increased by 2 pounds every year. yes i will deal with old people's feces and urine because i believe it's natural for me to take care of the disabled. it's just me. but i'm not gonna do it for minimum wage. and i'm not gonna put up with residents' and their relatives' abuse for any price either. that needs to go. i understand if a mentally sick patient want to verbally or physically abuse me. but i'm not gonna take it from their relatives. if a relative abuses, then the patient must be kicked out.

sort out this mess, increase the salary, implement these changes and i think i will very probably do it again. but one thing i am still ****-scared of is the smell and sight of feces. i'm lucky about my colleagues and managers and the nurses though because they have been extremely kind to me. and hell we even had a personal trainer!! but sometimes i feel like even if i am offered 100 pounds an hour i will not do it again. i have done nothing in my life to deserve such a job where i will have to clean up people's feces.

yes one day i will be like them too, but i will be wise enough to kill myself before they take me to a nursing home. i don't want anyone to touch my butt, and if someone does, he/she will do that to my dead body

OH MY GOSH! I love it. I so freakin agree with you. You nailed it! Thats exactly what CNAs do and put up with. I am a cna. I know exactly what your saying. Thank you!! Amen to that. No appologies either!!! &^/#! $@&& them all!!!

Here is a tip: keep a diary. If your floor is short-staffed and you get hurt, you can sue the facility for pain and suffering. Try and sue these MF's for hurt back/knees whenever possible. If a patient hits you, you can call the police and file an assault charge.

please keep your daydreams where they belong. like the author said, CNAs are treated like a piece of **** by not only staff, nurses, managers, patients and their relatives but also by the whole society in general. nobody is gonna believe us

Nursing really does zuck. They are pushing all the RN's to get bachelor's degrees so they can become slave-drivers vs. direct care staff. They were suppose to do away with the LPN, but they plenty of LPN direct care jobs because they can pay them less. If it weren't for the crappy economy nobody would be going to nursing school. Gone are the good paying office and construction jobs so they are going into nursing. Hospitals can spend $70,000 for some old phart's knee replacement who will be dead in a year, but they can't pay housekeeping or nursing. What really gets to me is that these seniors wipe out everything they "paid in" to Social Security and Medicare within a few years, to they are really welfare moochers. Their kids should have to pick up the tab.

Dear twilight queen,
I wanted to add, that i have experienced the exact same situations that you have. You are not crazy. The nurses and cna's were treated like we were empty vessels whose only purpose was to serve the patient population till we didn't think we could walk another step, lift another body, push another pill. I remember when i worked on a vent unit for 16 hour shifts, the families would hunt us down on our lunch breaks. We had to hide in the med room to eat. Then the DON took the door off the med room so there was nowhere to retreat to. We built a makeshift cardboard door. One family member knocked it down and just walked into the med room to get to us. I worked at another place where the DON decided that no cna or nurse should ever sit. Not ever. Not even to chart. They removed ALL chairs from the unit. Therefore, we had to stand for 12 hour shifts. It isn't a good sign when you fall asleep at the wheel every day on the way home from work. Sometimes i thought digging ditches would be easier. I didn't even find out that there were other burnt out nurses struggling until i had quit my last bad job and googled "nursing sucks". I always held the opinion that it all boiled down to staffing. The corporation had the power to staff to whatever levels they saw fit. When they staffed well, patients and employees gave and got better care. It was a win-win situation. However, when they decided to put profits in front of patients and people, outcomes and staff suffered.

Dear Twilight Queen,
I am a retired registered nurse, who succumbed to burnout after 18 years on the nursing floor. I left because the nursing profession had almost turned me against people, especially the elderly. The good news is, if you leave the profession, you can recover in 2-3 years. My niece just wrote me the other day saying she is considering becoming a CNA. She lives in an area of high unemployment. She is way to reasonable, smart, and good to be able to endure the stupidity and abuse that she would surely suffer at the hands of patients, their families, co-workers, and administration. Nursing homes warehouse the elderly, rake in big bucks (nonprofit of course), and break the spirits of the employees. A day didn't go by that a nurse, a CNA, or a unit clerk didn't cry at work. I remember i attended a graduation ceremony for Ohio State University a couple of years ago. They call up the graduates, in order of major. Of the thousand students, there were like 4 nursing graduates. I am glad that women are choosing different professions nowadays. I feel like when a young woman decides not to major in nursing, another soul is spared. That probably sounds extreme, but that's how i feel. When the school children would be brought into the hospital for a career day tour, i would call out to the young girls " be doctors, not nurses!" If i can just save one.

Thanks for the honesty. I totally relate to those feelings and it is refreshing to see someone else admit to them, that it is not crazy of me to feel this way too at times.