For those looking to enter the healthcare field, there are few jobs more valuable than certified nursing assistants. CNAs provide the most foundational levels of care, not only to patients in hospitals but to the most vulnerable members of our society—elderly residents in nursing homes. If you want to enter this crucial field, knowing the biggest challenges of becoming a CNA and how to overcome them can help you do so successfully.
Passing the Exam
A CNA’s first obstacle occurs before they even enter a hospital, nursing home, or private practice. Every CNA has to pass the same exam. Fortunately, most CNA training programs teach their skills with this test in mind, though you will still need to put in your own studying to pass the multiple-choice portion. There are practice tests available online, or you can ask your instructor for additional aid.
Once you have the job, the biggest challenge of becoming a CNA is adjusting to the work itself. Of all the healthcare careers, CNA work is one of the more physically intensive positions. Along with being on your feet for hours at a time, you will have to move, turn, or position patients. Before starting as a CNA, it’s a good idea to start doing strengthening exercises; this will allow you a smoother transition into work.
In the current climate, many nursing homes are dealing with understaffing, either because staff members are out sick or because they are quitting for fear of becoming sick. This can put a lot of strain on workers physically and emotionally, as they try to offer the same level of care to patients and residents. This is when teamwork and good communication among staff becomes more critical than ever, not just for their sake but for their patients as well.
Overcoming Compassion Fatigue
An underrecognized issue among CNAs is compassion fatigue. Simply put, compassion fatigue is when a caregiver is put in a position of constantly caring for those in emotional distress to the point that it becomes emotionally draining to them. This can happen to the most compassionate CNAs, and the only cure is healthy emotional boundaries and a stable work-life balance.
Florida is home to one of the largest populations of CNAs in the country, and every one of them is essential. Recognizing these obstacles is the first step toward overcoming them, and overcoming them will help make our state just a little healthier.