Carrie from NC, CNA

A Second Career!

A few weeks ago, we sat down with Carrie M. in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  Recently, Carrie made a career shift and became a CNA.  Here is what Carrie had to say:

What is your educational background?

"I earned a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Science & Policy from Duke University. Then, I went to the University of North Carolina for a Masters in City & Regional Planning."

So, with those degrees under your belt, why did you decide to "change course" and become a certified nursing assistant?

"The recession prompted me to look for something else. The housing market was suffering and I decided I needed a career change. I decided to take a CNA course to see if I liked it and I did!"

What was the training like?

"I took a course at a local community college. Everyone in the program was very dedicated, which made it enjoyable. We had a combination of classroom and lab training. We used dummies to practice certain functions."

There are many different healthcare settings that employ nursing assistants. How did you decide where you wanted to work?

"Right now, I am working for a home health agency. Fresh out of school, I found that it was difficult to get a job in a hospital or skilled nursing facility."

How were your first few days on the job?

"Enjoyable and, thankfully, uneventful (no emergencies)! Being in home health is great for getting to know my clients. I really like the personal interaction."

What do you like best about working as a CNA?

"The flexibility...and I love working with people. We are on the "front line" in the healthcare industry so, many times, I have more interaction with my clients than any other medical personnel."

What do you like least? And, what has surprised you the most....something you weren't prepared for?

"The pay is my least favorite part of the job. What surprised me? Having switched industries, I was surprised at the number of interviews and background checks I had to go through. Although I realize that is a good thing for client safety!"

Do you feel that you, your fellow CNAs and the nurses work as a team? If so, can you give an example? If not, why not?

"I have not been in a setting so far where lack of team work has taken place. I conduct my reports to the appropriate people. I am, however, disappointed by the lack of communication that takes place within different branches at the facility where I work. Some information that I feel is pertinent from, for example, the physical therapists, is not transmitted to the nurse aides."

Do you feel respected at work? Do you feel respected when you tell people you are working as a nursing assistant?

"No one has been disrespectful. Mostly, I have encountered nice people who are surprised but supportive. Nurses at the facility where I work really respect the nurse aides."

What would you say to people who are interested in becoming a nursing assistant?

"It is definitely a field that has need for lots of employees. It is an enjoyable job to have if you like working with people. For me, it is a way to "test the waters" and find out if I'd like to go to nursing school."

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