The first year on the job is typically the most difficult for those who have completed CNA training, especially CNAs who work in hospitals. It doesn’t have to be, though. You can easily transition from a student in CNA training to a working nursing assistant with the following tips and find your job more satisfying and fulfilling.
After CNA Training: Making the Most of Your First Year of Employment
Surviving your first year of employment after CNA training should begin with your first job interview. Here are just a couple of questions you should ask.
- What is the turnover rate for CNA during their first year? High turnover rates at a health care facility can be very telling. They can tell you how an employer treats CNAs, what type of environment you can expect, and whether your new position will provide you with a balance of happiness, great income, and fulfilling work. Typically, turnover rates that are more than 20 percent are considered high in the health care industry.
- What type of orientation and continued CNA training will be provided? In order to renew your CNA license and expand your knowledge, additional CNA training is a must. Ask your interviewer if any will be provided while you are employed. Also, see if a nurse, administrator, or veteran CNA will be assigned to help you become oriented with the building, the patients, and the every-day routine of the facility. This will allow you to become familiar with your new workplace, so you don’t feel as if you need to run for the door in the first couple of days.
- What support is offered to CNAs? Talk to your interviewer about any emotional, social, and clinical support that will be offered to you while you are working for the facility. Who will help you deal with death? Who can you talk to if you feel like you are experiencing burnout?
Your First Year After CNA Training
If you decide the facility will provide you with the environment and support you need to survive your first year after CNA training, there are two other factors to consider. One is your experience. If you have never worked as a CNA before, and have just finished training, you may want to volunteer at the facility first before making any commitment. This will allow you to get to know how the staff works, the routines, and the patients, as well as giving you a bit of experience that could bode well when your employer is deciding on your salary.
The second consideration is working on a specialty unit first, if you are going to be employed by a hospital. Working in labor and delivery, pediatrics, or the cardiac unit will provide you with one type of patient, whereas a medical or surgical unit would house a broader range of patients. A more controlled patient population may make your job easier during the first year, as you become accustomed to the facility.
Surviving your first year after CNA training isn’t difficult. Just follow these helpful tips to ensure you have the support, experience, and environment you need to enjoy your new career.