Question Of The Week: Working With Less Competent CNAs

by Patti on April 1, 2012

in Question Of The Week

Question:
I work PRN at a healthcare facility. They recently hired a new CNA, full time. She is a nice person, but has no experience as a CNA. She’s been working there for a month now and still not up to speed. The problem is, I cannot work with her as my hall partner. I like her, she is a nice person! But the issue is liability if she can’t do something correctly. Other CNAs have told me they can’t work with her, either. She is very, very slow. She waits to be told what to do, instead of just doing it. She walks into the patient’s room with me and just stands there with her arms folded across her chest. I tell her “look, we have to do this together. You cannot just stand there”. Also she doesn’t know what a Hoyer lift is. She acts hesitant to touch or handle the patients. There are 30 people on the hall and I cannot do it all myself!! I need a reliable partner.

Answer:
This is a burden to experienced CNA’s for sure! Brand new, unseasoned aides seem to be more troublesome than ever before. We need good strong aides who can take initiative to get the work done as independently as possible. Unfortunately, this situation leads me to believe she had poor training in her CNA course. In this situation, I would offer her assistance during shift report if possible. Help her identify priorities. What does she need to do first? When should she ask for help? Gently correct mistakes. If possible I would meet with her after the shift ends, off the clock even. This investment in time may well pay off in terms of a smoother running unit with a capable partner. I also recommend that all of these concerns be brought to the charge nurse. She might have some options and advice as well. Another possibility is to go to the DON and ask for help with this aide. Maybe she needs more training. Maybe she needs more confidence. Maybe she needs a kick in the butt to get moving quicker…no matter what you do, don’t continue to do her work for her. You’ll burn yourself out trying. Instead, when she asks for help with lifts and transfers, tell her you will assist her when your assignment is complete. Sadly you may have to work independently from this aide if she can’t get her act together. Good luck!

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