A day in the life of : a CNA

August 11, 2018

CNA - Certified Nurse Aide
PCA - Patient Care Assistant
PCT - Patient Care Technician
NA - Nursing Assistant
NK - Nurse Kindergarten (new nickname given to me at work)
All of the above = Me!

0645: Clock in and check my schedule on my phone to see my floor assignment for the day. This saves me time from going to my floor and then going to the correct floor.  There's nothing worse than arriving late and not getting report from the evening tech.

0650-0715: Get my assignment from the charge nurse or the unit secretary and also get report from the evening tech and evening nurses. I also introduce myself if I'm floating to that floor. This weekend I was used as a float and had the opportunity to work on an Orthopedic Trauma floor. I learned so much and saw some pretty cool cases! I was also reminded that I'm definitely an adrenaline junkie!

0715-0745: claim a dinamap machine, gather any materials I may need while making rounds for my morning vitals: things like bleach wipes, EKG leads, medium gloves and thermometer probe covers.

0800-0900: Obtain morning vitals. Occasionally I'll also have to obtain a few blood sugars but the evening tech usually does this.

0915 - 1100: Eat breakfast, chart and stock necessities in patient rooms.  If a patient wants their linen changed or a bath I usually do this now. If I have a total care patient I use this time to feed them.

1100-1145: Obtain my first set of blood sugar readings. This is around the same time that lunch trays are passed out so I like to do this quickly to get an accurate reading before the patient has a chance to eat.

1200-1300: Obtain my afternoon vitals. On a day like today with 12 patients, it typically takes me 40 minutes to knock out all my vital signs.  I started the day with 9 patients so it didn't take as long to do my morning vital signs. Depending on if the evening tech passed ice at 0400 I'll take this time to pass ice again.

1315-1600: I use this time to grab a quick lunch, chart any new notes, run errands and help with patient discharges. 2 of my patients went home today so I helped dress them, collected their personal belongings and discontinued IVs. I also had quite a few new admissions so I made a quick field trip to central supply and sterile processing to obtain an IV pole and other items needed to keep the floor appropriately stocked.

1600-1800: Obtain evening vitals, check blood sugars, pass ice and use this time to ask "Do you need anything before I leave?" Shift change is at 7AM and 7PM. Depending on what floor I'm working on and how many patients I have, I like to do all 4 tasks separate. Doing them all separate makes the time pass faster. Today I had 12 patients at the end of my shift so I made 4 sets of rounds. I typically load up a cart with items that are commonly asked for (juice, crackers, cups and wipes.) so I'm not running all over the floor.

1800: This is the golden hour. This hour is tenderly known to me as "chart and chill" hour. It's the one true time in the shift where I can sit down and knock out all my charting. I always carry a pen and paper so this is my time to transfer over any notes I made throughout the shift.

1830-1910: Return your phone and give report to the evening tech(s).

1915: Clock out and head home! Oh yeah, and close all your rings while on the way there.
I think my record for a 12.5-hour shift is 9 (almost 10) miles.

I did 6.1 miles today!

Bonus: After work treat!  Basically a hug in food format. These last few weeks have been hard. My latest party trick: waking up at 0500 without an alarm. If there's anything I've learned it's discipline of the mind. It's actually crazy what you can push your body to do. Example: Working 9 days straight with only 1 day off before working another 4 days straight.  I'm always abundantly grateful for the Nurses that take the time to teach me new things or ask me to tag along to see an interesting case!  Overall, today was a very chill day!

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