Long time no talk! It’s always something over at my house that is keeping me busy. But I’m finally sitting down to write a couple of posts.
Nursing school is a big decision. I didn’t know that I was called to be a nurse until half way through my senior year. I’d been looking at schools with more liberal arts focus, so deciding to go to a nursing school meant I had to look for new schools. It was a big deal for me. I’m sure if you are applying/going to nursing school you will understand this struggle. It’s not only super expensive, but its academically challenging in ways you’ve never experienced before. Because I knew nursing school was so different than what I was used to, I decided to figure out a way to get a little practice in. It’s not like you can just intern at a hospital. You have to have some sort of experience. A friend of the family actually recommended me to check out the local community college for a CNA program. It takes about 10 weeks to go through the class. I will say that just the CNA class it self took some getting used to. Then I did a week of clinicals on a Rehab floor of a hospital. Both of these were incredible learning experiences. For multiple reasons:
1) I got to meet people with similar goals, but with different backgrounds. It was so neat to see all the different types of people who I learned with. They all brought some life experience that was invaluable to my learning experience.
2) I learned how to do stuff by myself. I’d been homeschooled most of my life, so taking a course like this (where I had to drive myself!) was pretty crazy. It allowed me to get my feet wet for the “college experience”
3) While doing clinicals, I got to see how much I hate hospitals. I literally hate everything about them. The smell, the rules, the profit driven nature of everything. It just wasn’t for me. (I’ve gotten so many questions from people about how can you be nurse if you hate hospitals? Comment down below if you would like to see a post on that!)
4) I got to see first hand what I liked in CNAs and nurses and what I really didn’t like. That in and of itself taught me a ton.
5) I got to deal with all kinds of disabilities and illnesses. Gunshot wounds, MRSA, amputations, strokes, bed sores. The whole kit and caboodle. Every time you care for someone with something new you learn tons.
6) It opened the door to new learning experiences. For instance, I took a class on how to do a g-tube feeding. I’ve learned CPR. I’ve learned how to use a Hoyer Lift. I know how to take someone’s blood sugar. I got to learn all of these things, which I wouldn’t have learned in nursing school till late next year.
7) It gave me a job! Last summer and this summer I have been working as a Home Health Aide. I absolutely love my job. It’s hard and you don’t get paid much, but if it is what you are called to do, you will love it. (Just a tip: make sure you pick an agency that you feel comfortable and welcome in. I’ve heard some agency horror stories, so be careful. Make sure they keep you safe!)
8) It has shown me what areas of medicine I enjoy. I hate hospitals, but love working in homes. I thought I would love pediatric cases, but I actually prefer disability and elderly cases more. (It’s not the kids that make it hard, it’s the parents. Seriously.) I love not only working with my patients, but also love working with their family. A supportive family makes a world of difference. I learned that I actually really enjoy wound care (seriously a complete shocker, because I’m not a fan of blood.)
9) I have learned how to communicate. One of the things that you will notice with all good medical providers is that their communication skills are awesome. Communication really isn’t something that you can learn in a class, yes they will teach you ways to ask questions, but none of that matters until you actually get some experience. When I first started out, starting a conversation with a new patient was a struggle, now I can make them feel comfortable on my first day.
10) It has given me a confidence that I’ve never had before. Cheesy as it is, becoming a CNA helped show me that I really could do it. I have learned what I have difficulties with, but I’ve also seen my strengths.
If you are considering nursing school, but want to know if you would be good at it. Try becoming a CNA and see how you do. If you are like me, you will love it but always have a desire to do more. If not, well then you just saved yourself from a disaster.
I hope my advice helps some of you! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. Don’t forget to like and subscribe and maybe even share my blog with your friends!
PS. Once you become a CNA and learn how much work it is, you will never ever ever treat a CNA with disrespect.