When you begin CNA training, there are going to be many different skills you will learn how to perform. You will be taught how to change linens while a patient is still laying in bed, how to help patients eat who cannot eat by themselves or at risk for choking, and how to take vital signs, like pulse and blood pressure, in order to monitor the health of your patients and alert the nurses you are working under of any health problems as soon as they begin to show signs.
As you go through CNA training, and begin working in the health care field, these skills will help you become a fantastic care provider to every patient you come in contact with. However, even when you think you’ve learned it all, been taught it all during CNA training, and know exactly what your new career demands of you, there are still going to be times when you inevitably mess something up and make a mistake.
As we’ve discussed in the past, mistakes after CNA training can be costly. You could end up hurting a fellow co-worker, harming a patient, harming yourself, or putting the reputation of your health care facility in jeopardy. Big mistakes, small mistakes, it doesn’t matter. Even one mistake can turn the career you worked so hard for, the career you have always dreamed of, and turn it upside down.
Mistakes During and After CNA Training
My CNA training program was three weeks long. Short, yes, but I learned all of the skills I needed during the time period. In the second week, I, along with some other CNA training students, were practicing our new skills in the skills lab. Our instructor was monitoring our progress, giving critiques, and offering advice as we did so.
I was in the middle of changing the sheets on an occupied bed. The “patient” was another student, who was tasked with laying completely still unless I instructed her to move. I did everything I had been taught in CNA training:
- I informed the patient who I was and what I was going to be doing.
- I washed my hands.
- I gathered my clean supplies, adjusted the height of the bed, and put the safety rails up.
- I asked the patient to roll to one side as I undid the ‘soiled’ sheets and tucked them gently underneath her.
- I replaced the bedding on the same side and tucked the new sheet under the soiled ones.
- I moved to the other side of the bed and had the patient roll in the opposite direction.
- I took off the soiled sheets, which allowed me to roll out the new sheets and secure them.
- I had the patient roll on her back, moved her up in bed, covered her with a top sheet and blanket.
- I asked if she needed anything else and said goodbye.
When I was done, I turned to face my CNA training instructor, sure I was going to receive praise. She smiled and told me that I had done a wonderful job making the bed, however, she wanted to know how I expected a patient, who was unable to get out of bed, to reach her call light when it was still sitting on the bedside table two feet away.
I was embarrassed at my mistake, I’ll admit. However, I realized one thing from that error, and every other one I have made since CNA training. The biggest mistake you can make after CNA training isn’t an actual an error in something you do or don’t do. It’s not learning from the mistakes you make.