Am considering becoming a CNA

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    Can you describe the routine, the work, and what turns most people away?

    I am going through DSHS’s Vocational Rehab program, and my assessment results say I would do good as a caretaker, or a janitor. I am approaching the moment where I need to make a decision about what path I want to take, since I have no GED or diploma.

    I think I could handle changing someone’s diaper, but how frequently is that done by CNAs? I think that would be my biggest turn off. But I enjoy the company of elderly people.

    Maybe I should volunteer at a nursing home first… Anyway, thanks for any responses

    Profile photo of hadiya

    This job will take patience and you will genuinely have to be caring and love people. Job duties depends on where you work. Most commonly you will need to feed, bath, change diapers/ briefs and just the general care of a client and meeting there hygienic needs along with other needs. I agree volunteer at a nursing home see what is it like so you will have and idea of what to expect.


    I will give a general day at a nursing home.
    You’ll pass Ice water, take vital signs, ensure people get their meals (which includes feeding those whom cant feed themselves, and getting some people up and dressed and to the dining room). You’ll change diapers, bedding, clothing, roughly every two hours, more or less depending on the acuity of the people you care for. (comatose people are more likely to be two hr changes, where a person who is aware and needs helping getting to the bathroom might need you more often)
    Showers, shaving, nail, and oral care. During any of these tasks you are expected to be able to “find” any change of condition and get the nurse to be aware and assess the patient.
    Hospitals, home health care, and hospice care are all other place you can do the work, which some tasks may change or become more needed. (most er CNAS around this area do chest compression for most of their night.)

    The biggest turn off is usually the lack of pay/appreciation/adequate staffing. It really is a mind game, you have to be there to improve their lives, because all other aspects of it as a “job” will leave you disappointed.


    Thanks for the rundowns, both of you. I asked a friend of mine who is a CNA , and she said almost the same things. It takes a warm heart and a caring soul. Money has never been important to me, or recognition. I was somewhat drawn to being a caretaker or CNA (I see CNAs as caretakers in general, but I don’t know if ‘Caretaker’ is actually a different job in itself) because I do care about the world, and I find it tragic how so many seniors spend their last years without family and sometimes lengths of time without meaningful human contact. I feel as though I would do well as a CNA, but I also don’t understand the physical toll it takes. It sounds very demanding.

    Out of curiosity, do you feel exhausted by the end of your shift? I am enrolled in Karate and I need a job that is not going to make me physically and mentally exhausted after I get off work. It may be that I am not the kind of person who can devote myself to my passion, and a vague sense of a ‘calling’ to seek out a way of helping the world, in this case by taking good care of the elderly in their final years.

    I will be volunteering at a local convalescent home. My friend says that where a CNA actually works varies: homes with 6-8 people, facilities with 20, hospitals. So it is hard to know if I will get an accurate picture of what it would be like, but in any case, I want to see.

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