CNAs and RNs

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by pickapeppa, Nov 10, 2005.

  1. pickapeppa

    pickapeppa Well-Known Member

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    Okay, since you've all got me thinking about careers, these are two others I've considered. The plan would be to work as a CNA (if my new massage job in chiro's office doesn't work out) until I could save enough to spend a year in nursing school. (Two year ADN program nearby, have prerequisites done all ready.) I've already had one year of nursing school years ago, so all I need to do to get on the nurses aide registry is to submit forms and take a test.

    I like that being an RN opens so many doors to other careers if nursing turns out not to be your bag. They are in demand, and all signs point to higher demand in the future. The pay is pretty decent. You get benefits.

    Would anyone like to share their experience of pros and cons? What do you like about nursing, what don't you like? What's a good day like, and a not so good day? You get the idea.
     
  2. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    i have to admit, as an rn that works for the state taking care of mentally retarded adults in their homes, i have it well and truly made.

    the drawbacks depend upon the fit between you and the job. hospital and nursing home jobs, in general, you work like a slave from the time you clock in until the time you clock out, and lucky if you get your dinner break. sometimes it gets bad enough you are hard pressed to find time to use the bathroom even.

    of course, it helps if you have a strong stomach as you will be called upon to deal with lots of.. unpleasant... bodily fluids of various kinds. it helps if you are comfortable with death too. and birth. and all kinds of dramatic things in between.

    the good points are what you mentioned. it is incredibly flexible, and can be translated to follow almost any interst you have. you can even work independently as a consultant, if you like. you can also go home at night, most nights, feeling like you've done something good with your life.

    going to nursing school was by far one of the smartest things i've ever done.
     

  3. Paranoid

    Paranoid Homebrewed Happiness

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    avoid, like the plague, being a CNA.

    Everything in a hospital is about crap, and crap falls down.

    If you just need to do something while going to school for the nursing program, do anything else. Hell nurses have it bad enough, but don't do CNA.

    Check out Radiology tech, makes about the same as RN (slightly more where I live) and doesn't put up with 1/1323421 the crap.

    gl
     
  4. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Stresssssssss and politics.
     
  5. 1sttimemom

    1sttimemom Well-Known Member

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    I'm acually an LPN, not an RN but still will give you my experience. I worked as a CNA in a nursing home during nursing school. CNA work can be literally back breaking. You will most likely do alot of lifting, cleaning bed pans, changing adult diapers, giving showers & other activities of daily living care. Depending on where you work they may give you some adanced training to do simple wound dressing changes, place foley catheters, etc. It can be vary rewarding if you enjoy the patient population you are working with. Patients, esp seniors, can become very attached to special CNAs! It will give you very valuable experience towards nursing. CNA pay really varies. I was making $10.50/hr parttime but that was a little higher than normal because they gave be a bit more since I was a nursing student. I know some experienced excellent CNAs who make $17/hr working through staffing agencies.

    As an LPN I started at $16/hr in a very busy "medically complex" rehab unit. I was offered $19 to work a nursing home, but really wanted the experience of more intense patients. We had everything from hip replacements to multi trauma with everything broken, plus had LOTS of vent dependant & wound care folks. After 3 yrs I'd also taken wound vac, IV therapy, and Central (PICC) Line courses & increased to $19.57/hr. I worked three 12 hr shifts weekly as full time, but could work more as needed since they are always looking for staff. I loved the actual work for the most part, but it can be extremely demanding physically & emotionally! Hospitals are ALWAYS looking to cut staff to save a penny so the patient loads can be very heavy, as in 6 or so extremely ill patients who just came straight from ICU and are septic and need very close monitoring and lots of therapy, IVs, wounds, etc. Most nights you will not get out on time and most shifts you will be lucky to take a pee break. Forget about lunch breaks. Mostly we grabbed bites between caring for people. Most of the staff i worked with were extremely good & caring, but you get the occasional lazy *sshole co-worker who makes your life miserable & endangers patients. You also sometimes get very demanding and sometimes even physically hostile patients & family members. But many are also very appreciative of what you do. I had to quit during my pregnancy. I just couldn't do the hard physical work anymore and my employer wasn't willing to put me in a light duty position since my need wasn't "work related". Gave notice and was on bed rest the remainder of my pregnancy. Had my baby a month early anyway. I fear if I'd tried to continue working I would have lost him. My son is 4 months now & I haven't gone back yet. I do sometimes really miss it, but can't stand putting my son in day care! Might go back to just occasional weekends while daddy can watch him to keep my skills up & earn extra $$.

    I would like to get my RN, just haven't had the time/money to go back to school. I would really check into the school to see if they wil accept your prior nursing classes. Many school are "funny" about that for some reason. It can be a great career *if* you are willing to put in alot of hard work and don't think the risks (of disease, back injury, lawsuits, etc) outweigh the pay and joy of helping others. Best of luck!!
     
  6. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    Way back when I was a nurse I liked it pretty well. Back then we had several nurse assistants for each nurse. My sister who is still an RN complains constantly of not having any one to help and being over whelmed with seriously ill patients. Now days you only get admitted to the hospital when very ill or dying and the nursing of critically ill persons is quite complex., add to that a general lack of help in the staffing of these places and even the 35.00 bucks an hour she makes does not seem to be enough to keep her happy.
     
  7. mommyumd

    mommyumd Well-Known Member

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    I'm an RN who has returned to a hospital position after taking a few years off.
    I hoped it had inproved. Nope.

    How do I explain nursing? If you don't mind being used and abused by everyone from patients to doctors, don't need to eat regularly and can survive on bad coffee, have an unbelievable bladder capacity, love being called to work extra on everyday you have off...then go for it.

    Money is great. But for that money you are expected to do what ever the client wants and can dish out. I equate it with prostitution.

    They wonder why there is a nursing shortage? "They" should follow me around one night -- I'm sure "they" would drop... but then I'd have another patient!
     
  8. mom2girls

    mom2girls mom2girls

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    I am an LPN, or at least was before I had kids. I loved it, it was the best job I have ever had (other than being a mom :sing: ) It is a very hard job physically, but I like that. I tell you the days go quickly, I am not sure I ever had a slow day. Good luck with your decision.
     
  9. pickapeppa

    pickapeppa Well-Known Member

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    Weeelllll. Thanks guys for your input. That's the kind of stuff I was looking to hear about. As for me, I don't handle stress well, and I absolutely suck at office politics (don't understand it, never did, low tolerance as well). I wouldn't mind Radiology, but hands on portion is a 2 hour drive from our home and is full-time for a year. If it weren't for the that "Mom" part of my life, it would be doable. The RN idea was just the quick easy was out. Sounds like I would be able to handle it no longer than one year. After that, I probably would be ready to move on. I'd best be looking into something more "sane", if in fact something sane actually exists.
     
  10. Paranoid

    Paranoid Homebrewed Happiness

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    now this is the kind of nurse I know :)

    Really, why are nurses hired sight unseen practically? Why do they have 3-5k sign on bonuses?

    cause the job sucks and they can't keep people!

    Crap filters down. Between all that is generated between patient's family members and the Hospital Nobility.. err doctors... everyone passes it down.

    And the types of crap vary as you move along. Deffinately the frontend (those people directly with patients) have it the worst.

    If you insist on going in to the hospital to get a job while you study to be something else try something behind the scenes. It is a very good idea too, as most hospitals will pay your way thru college as long as you give them a year for a year. Just don't get caught up in the now, stay focused on the later. Both scenarios will kind of suck, but at least the latter one will pay better.

    Once you pay your dues in the hospital though, being a nurse can pay off, you can do schools and whatnot, crosstrain into other fields where your previous experience will give you an edge etc.

    hospitals suck, use them as a stepping stone.
     
  11. caroline00

    caroline00 Well-Known Member

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    what about a lab tech? you can start with a phelbotamy course (drawing blood) and then take the lab tech schooling... working in the lab/testing the blood etc...

    Nursing is a calling. There is a lot of stuff to put up with that isnt worth it if you arent sold out to the idea.

    Another thing, people are much sicker these days. RNs are now doing what only docs used to do... LPNs are now doing what RNS used to do and Aides are doing what LPNs used to do. Because of this, liability is higher too.
     
  12. longrider

    longrider Southern Gent

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    i worked as a CNA for two years- i wouldnt do it over again if i could go into radiology. way, way more money and not near the problems. some pay as well as a RN depending on where you are.

    Lab tech jobs are seriously hurting pay wise all over. they even closed the Medical Lab tech program at my University. i am told that automation have taken sooo many jobs away- one tech can do the job of 4 now.

    RN is good especially if you go for anesthesiolg......gas passer;)
     
  13. Paranoid

    Paranoid Homebrewed Happiness

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    lab techs make less money than nurses, but they also dont have to give sponge baths :D

    the enemy of the lab tech is boredom and downsizing. afterall if a machine is doing 99.9999% of the work, how many FTE's do you really want around the place?

    although, between the two i'd prefer being bored to putting up with what CN/LPN/RN's put up with.

    Another nice thing is laboratory technology is going full tilt into paperless auto-verification of results. So really, it's easy and getting easier. If being a bored, human interface to a machine doesn't sound too bad, that is a deffinate career path.

    Phlebotomists in my hospital start at about $10 an hour, techs around $15. For this and other hospital jobs you are exposed to fluids containing the most vile of organisms imaginable. You litterally risk your life. On the other hand, I saw on tv a commercial for WAL*MART, they were advertising $12/h to start for workers in their distribution center.
     
  14. pickapeppa

    pickapeppa Well-Known Member

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    I've read about this, so gave up on that idea a while ago. If I had been able to finish my bachelor's degree, I would have gone on to train in this field. If I go back to the same school, they will still accept all my credits. Problem is, the last three courses to get the BS will cost 10,000 and the ones I need are only offered in the afternoons. Kind of cuts out any full-time day job during that time.

    Guess I could still go with the dietician or athletic trainer route, maybe physical therapy later on. I think I just need to pick one and stick with it no matter what. I enjoy helping people feel better, but definitely wouldn't put up with that much abuse.

    Am I wrong in assuming that CNA would be easier (stress wise, not physically) than RN? It's just the dirty grunt work out of the two? Is there that politicking and doctor crap as a CNA too?
     
  15. longrider

    longrider Southern Gent

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    I think they are both stressful but for different reasons. hospital politics just plain sucks. believe me, CNA's are on the same pay scale as the janitor and have the same respect. CNA's get dumped on by RN's. RN's get dumped on by everyone, including families, MD's and the Administration. the only way to make it worth while is to get more pay for it. thus RN is the way to go. the jobs are not the same. CNA'a are a way of getting all the physical aspects of nursing off the RN's back so they can chart and push drugs. thats a generalization but its accurate.

    RN's generally will make way more than other folks working in the hospital. stick with it, do what ever it takes to get to it if that is really what you want to do. keep the other jobs as a backup plan if you figure out you cant hack the RN program.



     
  16. WindyViews

    WindyViews Member

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    It is all in how you look at things. I worked as a registry CNA for a year while in nursing school, and it was definitely hard at times. However, I enjoyed a great deal of it and it really, really helped me in nursing school. Being exposed beforehand to all kinds of diseases and scenarios is priceless. I graduated with my Bachelor's in nursing and as a result I have a few more opportunities than an ADN nurse. My last nursing job was in Public Health Nursing which I really enjoyed. In fact, it's the only job that I would really want to go back to. But you need a Bachelor's for most of them. Also, school nursing is less physically demanding and enjoyable.

    In my experience pediatric hospitals usually have better nurse/patient ratios. Also, after working as a CNA I became a Unit Secretary in the Pediatric ICU and it was the most valuable experience of all my prenursing jobs. It also prepared me more for when I started as a Neonatal nurse in the same hospital. I already knew how to do all the paperwork stuff which made my job easier.

    There are many opportunities for a nurse, you are not limited to hospital jobs. How about home health nurse as a CNA and RN? Or private duty nursing as a CNA and RN? Look up Nursing Spectrum online and subscribe to a weekly nursing magazine, usually they are free. I would suggest not buying into the doom and gloom of nursing but find those places that you would be willing to put up with. The most important thing about working is whether you enjoy it or not. Good luck! It is a great career or temporary/part time job.
     
  17. motivated

    motivated Well-Known Member

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    Massage therapy here is great pay. A swedish massage $60-75 an hour.
    Are there any day spas nearby? I would be willing to pay a higher rate for someone to come out to my home.
    Last summer a friend of mine had a birthday party and we booked a massage therapist for the day and each had an appointment. It was great. Pampering is big business here. Best wishes.
    Personally I like working Locums-as an independant contractor.
    Jodi
     
  18. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    Been a CNA, daughter is an RN.

    CNA job only good for getting your RN. No options, no future, low pay, mindless, heavy, backbreakng labor.

    BS (4 year degree) RN dughter, Cardiac Critical Nurse, made was making over $70,000 a year as a traveling nurse, seeing the country. She's back in school, getting her Masters, now wants to go into world wide pandemics.

    There's so many areas you can go into from nursing : Dr's office , hospitals, traveling, reitrement homes, community outreach. You can work part time & meke a decent wage. You can work different shifts.......So many options...

    You go girl!
     
  19. pickapeppa

    pickapeppa Well-Known Member

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    Now all of the positive postings are sounding like my thinking. I just had a bad experience in nursing school years ago. The only thing that I'm hesitating on now is the mental stress. My family has been somewhat complicated the last few years, and to be honest, I wouldn't mind a monkey job right now. I'm feeling mentally taxed. That's why I wanted to go the nurses aide route first. Even if it was only part time. I'm thinking I could put my toe in the water that way to check it out without too much invested. It seems like a little side-line watching all the bull without too many heavy (mental) responsibilities would give me the info I need to go for it or not.

    It's quite possible that in the next few years the massage therapy might improve a great deal, and I just invested $250 to get my professional license. I went back and forth about it for over a year because business was sooooo slooooow. The economy has never bounced back where I am. We were hit hard by lay-offs, business closings and foreclosures. The area has never really recovered yet. A lot of laid off people went into massage therapy at that time. Now we have 3 times as many therapists with half the clientele as before 2001/2002. Before the spring of 2002 I was giving about 17 massages a week. Now a good week is 5. Oh, and for those of you who are looking at the price tag on the massage, please keep in mind that the owners of the location where you work keep about half of the fee they charge you for the massage. At my chiropractic job, I'm only getting paid $26 per hour. That's great if you are booked full, but that rarely happens. You can spend hours sitting around waiting for another appointment to show up only to have them no call/no show. This really burns me if I've paid a babysitter to be there. :flame:

    In either case, if this new job works out, I will just focus on massage. If it takes much longer than a few months to start bringing in more, I will probably go part-time as a nurses aide to supplement. Bottom line is, I need to get out of the house and have a little something for myself too.

    Thanks everyone for your posts. You've given me a lot to thing about. This is exactly the eye-opening information I've been looking for.
     
  20. Shygal

    Shygal Unreality star Supporter

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    I am doing clinicals..lol
    Actually, Ive found all the nurses to be extremely helpful and giving of their time to me...maybe Im just lucky. lol