There are many struggles associated with being a Certified Nursing Assistant. But most of them are easy to get passed, as they are a normal part of the job. One issue that isn’t so simply ignored is the difficult set of hours that exist for those who take on the task of being a CNA.
If you are very lucky, you will end up in some kind of office setting that has a specific and consistent hours of operation. You will work a regular 9 – 5, or even part-time, and go home at the same time every day. There will be no late nights, and no sudden shifts you have to cover.
Unfortunately, even those hours have their draw backs. Clinic settings like general practitioner or specialty offices (or even personal residences) generally pay a lot less than more stressful environments. As a CNA at a doctor’s office, you can make as little as $9.50 per hour, though the average is around $11.25.
The Nightmare Hours
If you choose to take the better pay, you are going to be settling into a hospital, retirement home, or living care facility. These can require you to work graveyard shifts until you gain some seniority. They also might put you on swing, which means you will be working some days, some nights, and never gaining a really consistent schedule.
On your days off, you could be called in to work an extra shift if someone calls in ill. Or you may be suddenly switched to new hours with no notice, a huge disruption for your life.
How To Deal
The sad truth is that you may have to be flexible for awhile. As CNA’s become more experienced, they can be “promoted” to a senior level within that field. While this doesn’t necessarily come with a new title, and may not even come with much better pay, it will usually come with hours you can choose. Think of the initial terrible hours as a probation period.
Many CNA’s will end up joining a nursing program to get their licensing, in order to escape the uneven schedule of an assistant’s career.
Until then, there are a couple of things you can do:
- Get sleep whenever you can, even if you have to break it into two blocks a day.
- Eat a proper diet filled with plenty of nutrients to give you energy.
- Hydrate, as being on the floor added to interrupted sleep can cause severe hydration that saps energy and effects your mood.
- Do things you enjoy during your time off.
- Maintain a routine both at home and work, including keeping your place clean so you don’t get overwhelmed.
- Exercise, as working out boosts energy, keeps you healthy, and helps you prepare for long hours on your feet.
Above all, don’t forget that you love your job, even when it gets tough. Things as a CNA aren’t always perfect, but they are definitely worth it.