I highly believe that before you choose to become a nurse, you should be a CNA first. I was a CNA/Medication Aide for 17 years before I became an LPN. I have definitely seen some, keyword “some”. nurses who have gone all the way through nursing school receiving their BSN or MSN and not having the same passion or respect as nurses who have worked as CNAs prior to getting their nursing degree. I have also seen nurses not previously working as CNAs belittle and disrespect CNAs and Medication Aides because they have no idea how hard their job is, or how important their jobs are when it comes to theirs. CNAs and Med Aides are our eyes and ears. Without them our jobs would be so much harder.
At the same time, there is high turn over because a lot of CNAs are going to nursing school, and once they graduate, we are short in that department. I would also like to see facilities pay for people to become a CNA. It would pay off in the long run, especially if the facility has tuition reimbursment. The CNA would take advantage of this and go to nursing school and then stay at the facility for a required 1-2 years as part of the contract. Then they wouldn’t have to worry about a nursing shortage.
There has been plenty of times us nurses have had to pull together because we have been short on CNAs and do their responsibilities and ours. Not a big deal in my book. Other nurses absolutely freak out. The way I look at it is that I’m going to be in their room at some point anyway, so why can’t I help them out with their AM/HS routines.