In this career interview, a Certified Nursing Assistant shares her true career story about her life in the medical profession as well as the tough lessons she has learned along the way.
I worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at an assisted living center for three years. Using three adjectives, I would describe myself as honest, responsible, and ambitious.
My job consists of providing most of the basic care for the residents. While many of the residents are self-sufficient, I often help with bathing, dressing, and daily reminders.
Overall, my job satisfaction is an eight out of ten. I love working with the elderly and will continue this type of work once I obtain my nursing degree.
Being a CNA has changed my life. The elderly are so vulnerable, and many of them are lonely. This job is what helped me decide to pursue a degree in nursing.
Although I’ve loved my job, I’ve recently decided to resign in order to focus on my nursing classes. The conflict with my schedule was adding too much stress to my already busy life.
When I first started working at the center, I worked as a dietary aide. I loved interacting with the residents and decided to take the certification classes to become a CNA. I would not change a thing about this decision because ultimately that’s why I chose to continue with my education and get a degree in nursing.
Once I began my nursing classes, I began to realize just how busy my life had become. I had to learn the hard way that it would have been much easier to complete my education before having children.
The single most important thing I’ve learned in life is to always treat people with dignity and respect. Living in an assisted living home can be a difficult transition. Being treated with respect can help make it easier for the residents.
The strangest thing that has happened to me as a CNA also happens to be rather funny. One of the nurse aides came to me panicking because she couldn’t find one of her residents. A couple of us began searching for her, and after a few minutes someone thought to double check her room. She had been in bed sleeping the entire time.
One thing that has made me proud to be a CNA is knowing that I was able to listen and help solve problems. Often, the elderly feel as if they are forgotten. Taking the time to listen to them can help them feel better about their situation.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced in my line of work is dealing with death. Although I know I’m not supposed to get attached, it’s always very difficult to lose someone I’ve worked with every day.
Being a CNA is a difficult job. I am on my feet all day long, and often I do not get a break. There are days when we work short-staffed, and I barely have time to breathe in between patients. Those days are very stressful and makes the job hard to enjoy.
Where I live, a CNA makes approximately $25,000. I don’t believe that this is adequate pay for the amount of work required.
I take about a week of vacation every year. It would be nice to have more, but I've learned to be satisfied with what I have.
To become employed as a CNA, you need to have a high school diploma or GED and complete a nursing assistant certification class.
I would consider suggesting that a friend become a CNA if I believed that he/she would be good for the job. It’s a hard job, and it’s not for everyone, so it would definitely depend on the personality and abilities of the individual.
Right now I have one year of nursing school left to complete, so in five years I hope to be employed as a nurse in a nursing home or assisted living facility. I would really like to continue working in a field I love.
By: Vanessa Price