A Day In The Life Of A CNA

My name is Lori, and I am a CNA. I work at a local nursing home. I have worked at all three facilities in town, and I have to say that, while the one I work at now is a small one, and the other are larger, they are all the same. I would like to inivite you to come to work with me.

My shift starts at 6 AM. As I am driving to work, I wonder who will call in sick, be late, or just not show up. I arrive, clock in, as I am walking down the corridor one of the night shift girls tells me we had a call in. (what a surprise) Well it looks like its only 3 of us for the whole facility.

We have two residents per room and a total of 26 rooms, so if we split it 3 ways we each have 17 residents, I have been selected to take the East Hall. Room 1: Resident 1 is total care, he cannot stand, dress or feed himself. For 40 years of his life, he worked the night shift as a fire fighter, now they expect him to sleep all night and stay up during the day, well as you can imagine he is having a hard time doing this, and is a very grumpy soul, and can be very combative. As I start to get him dressed, he starts to curse me, then as I am putting on his sock, he begins kicking me, as I am putting his shirt on, he is grabbing my arm and pinching me, despite his frailness, he is very strong. I have finally finished dressing him and cleaning him, now its time to transfer him to his wheelchair. He is considered a two person transfer, but because we are so short staffed, and it would be very difficult to get someone to help, I transfer him myself. As I am transferring him, he fights me by holding on to the bed rails, clinging to the sheets, what ever he can grab, believe me, he tries! Finally I have him settled in his wheelchair. It is now 6:30 AM. Oh by the way breakfast is at 8:00 and I have 16 more residents to go. I make his bed, straighten his side of the room.

Resident 2: This gentleman is a bit easier because he can at least help in transferring as he can stand just a little. He too is total care. As I am getting him dressed he is smiling at me and telling me good morning, he is such a sweet gentleman, I get him dressed, shaved and in his wheelchair, make his bed, and out the door we go. its now 6:45 AM

On my way to the next room, I see Resident 8 has her light on. I go to see what she needs, she says she needs to use the restroom. I assist her in doing this, I ask her if she is ready to get up and get dressed she says no, that she wants to sleep a bit longer.

Resident 3: Its now 6:55 AM, he is also total care, This gentleman is 6ft tall and weighs around 190lbs, I am 5ft and weigh around 120lbs. I dress him, shave and make sure he is well groomed, he also can stand just enough to get him in his wheelchair. His sheets are wet, so I have to do a complete on his bedding. I finish making his bed and the time is now 7:10 AM

Resident 4: He is non weight bearing, because he has a broken hip, this means I have to take more time, so as not to hurt him. I finally get him dressed and in his wheelchair, he decides, he doesnt like the shirt he is wearing, so I have to find another. I get that one changed, we shave him, comb his hair.

Resident 5: The time is now 7:35 AM. This resident is also total care, but as sweet as can be, I get her dressed, her dentures in, hair combed, transferred, bed made and off to the next.

Resident 6: She is 98 years old, I wake her, say good morning, and she starts begging me, to leave her alone, she says she doesn’t feel well, and doesn’t want any breakfast. I explain that I have to check with the Charge Nurse, and I will be back. I tell the Nurse that she doesn’t want to get up, the Nurse tells me that she says that all the time, and that her family wants her up. I go back, with her still begging, I explain that I have to, that her family wants her up. I procede to dress her, transfer her, make her bed. I try to soothe her as we go, but she is upset.

Resident 7: On my way to 7’s room, the Nurse tells me that resident 16 has her light on. I go to 16’s room, by the way time is 7:50 AM. I ask 16 what she needs. She needs a drink of water, I get her some cold water out of the machine, but she says she needs ice with it, I have to go to the ice machine down the hall to get ice. Now its 8:10 AM, as I leave the room Resident 8’s light is on again, and they have just announced that the breakfast trays are ready. I hurry onto resident 7, who has dressed herself, but needs a little help with combing her hair and brushing her teeth, I get her situated and off to the dining room, come back and

Resident 8: Is Mad! because I have not gotten her up yet, remember she is the one at 7:55 that did not want to get up and dressed. I help her get dressed, comb her hair, she can stand, but is very unsteady, she is finally in the wheelchair and she had decided she needs to go to the bathroom. I assist her in this, and as I am helping her back into the wheelchair she says she needs lotion on her legs. I explain that we are running behind and ask if I could please do this after breakfast, she agrees, but is clearly upset. I tell her thank you, get her to the dining room, and as I am on my way back to Residents 9, and 10, I am crossing the dining room and several residents wants coffee, NOW!! I serve coffee.

Resident 9: This gentleman is very frustrating, he is very capable of dressing himself, transferring himself, shaving himself, but he refuses, here he is laying in bed complaining that its so late. Time is now 8:30 AM. We have all talked to the nurse about this gentleman, and how he could be doing more for himself, but we were told it doesnt matter. Do what he says. I Help him get dressed, shave him, make his bed.

Resident 10: Is already dressed and on his way to the dining room. 🙂

Resident 11: Is yelling already, I walk in, she calls me several names, tells me to get out of her room, but then again she does this every morning! I tell her that her bed is wet and that I need to changer her, she yells , that I better not touch her, and as I go to roll her over to clean her, she grabs my arm and scratches my arm, now its bleeding. As I am trying to dress her, she is pinching, hitting, trying to grab my hair. I finally decide I need help, I go in search of help. I find the other CNA and she helps me finish dressing and transferring this resident. I make her bed clean up.

Resident 12: Is a biter, BEWARE! I get her dressed, washed up, transferred with a few more scratches, and name calling, she is done. I make her bed, clean up time is now 9:00.

Resident 13: My dirty clothes barrel is full, I have to take it to laundry and get me an empty one. On my way back Resident 8’s light is on again. I go find out whats wrong. She has made her way back to her room, because she has to go to the restroom again. As I am helping her, the nurse comes to tell me that Resident 14 is trying to get out of bed, this one has fallen several times because of this. I cannot leave 8 alone because she is also a fall risk. I am trying to be patient, but she is being very slow today. I try to ask her politely to hurry, I finally get her back in her wheelchair, but now she is mad because I was rushing her. I rush to resident 14, and 13 is mad because I am helping 14 first. Sure enough 14 is sitting on the edge of her bed trying to stand. I ask her if I can help, she tells me to go away and leave her alone, she can do it by herself. I finally get her to let me help, she has taken off her depends and has urinated all over the bed and floor, but refuses to let me clean her. I go get the nurse, the nurse talks to her and finally she lets me dress her. its now 9:30 AM . I finally get to Resident 13, I get her dressed, transferred.

Resident 15: Wants breakfast in bed, she is 99, they have her on a floorbed because she has tried to get out of bed so many times, and the last time she fell almost killed her. Every morning she cries that her legs ache, and that she does not want to get out of bed. I get her dressed, being on a floorbed makes it difficult to get her up and I am sure it makes her legs hurt, she can stand but not for long. I get her transferred and out to the dining room, all the while she is moaning about her legs.

Resident 16: This resident has partially dressed herself, thank you! I help comb her hair, finish dressing and off she goes.

Resident 17: Is a delight, she is very sweet and always ready to eat!! I dress, transfer her and out she goes.

Finally, off to the dining room, it is now 10:00 AM and no one has passed the breakfast trays, yet, as a matter of fact, I am the only CNA in the dining room. I start to pass trays, more residents want coffee, we have ran out of coffee, so I have to go to the kitchen to get more coffee. I get back, thank goodness another CNA is here now, we finish passing the trays. The othe CNA has joined us now, we start to feed the ones who cannot feed themselves. Its now around 10:30 we start moving residents in to the living areas, we clean the tables, put all the trays away, 8 and 10’s light is on. 8 needs the restroom again. I assist her and move on to 10, This one wants to lay down, and needs a change, I do this.

Now I have 3 showers, that need to be done, as I am getting my supplies for the showers, the nurse comes to tell me that I need to get a urine sample from 6. This resident does not have bladder control..I have 6 on the toilet and I am waiting, its been 15 min, I will have to try again later. I get resident 2 in the shower, its 11:15 AM. Next is 10 I get 10 in the shower, finish its now 11:45 AM. Lunch trays will be coming out at 12:00 As I am going to answer 15’s light, 8 tells me she needs to use the restroom and wants to change her clothes and reminds me that I promised to rub lotion on her legs. I take 8 to the restroom, help change clothes, rub lotion on her legs, and have her on the way to the dining room. Its now 12:15. The nurse wants to know why I have not answered 15’s light and where her urine sample is. I explain that I am on my way to 15 now, and that I will try after lunch for the urine sample. I go to 15, all she wanted was help to the dining room. I take her there, and now I am pushing the others to the dining room. I smell resident 4 needs a change, I take 4 back and clean them up. Its now 12:45, as I am on my way to the dining room a family member stops me and wants to know why her mother is still in her room and not in the dining room. This is resident 8’s daughter. I explain that I had taken her to the dining room and evidently she found her way back to her room. I go to take her to the dining room, she informs me she needs to go to the restroom. I assist and get her to the dining room and pass out trays, and begin to assist the ones who need assisting. Its now 1:30 and we have just finished cleaning the dining room, Resident 8, 10, 16 and 2 have thier lights on. I go to 8 she needs the restroom and to laydown, I assist. 10 wants to lay down, I assist, 16 wants a change and to lay down I assist. 2 wants milk, I go to the kitchen get milk. I finially get to my last shower, Resident 1, he claws, calls me names, but I get him done. It is now 2.20 my shift was supposed to be over at 2:00, I still have my vitals, blood pressures, temps, pulses, and respirations to get from 5 of my residents, I get them done, it is now 2:45. Its a good thing I am still here because two called off on the the 2nd shift so at the moment there is three of us, I cannot leave anyway untill they find someone to take my place. I am supposed to pick my daughter up at school at 3:00, so I have to call my dad to see if he can do it. I still have to document in my books, which takes about twenty minutes. As I am doing this 8’s light comes on. Looks like I am doing a double shift again, this is my 3rd in a week. I do all of this for $8.50 an hour, no bonuses, no thanks, and 8’s daughter is looking form me again! I will be here till 10:00 PM, and start my day all over again at 6:00 AM.