I currently work at a nursing home as a certified nurse assistant. The nursing home has taught me the basic 101 of being a CNA. However, like a lot of nursing homes they do a lot of sketchy things. Like giving CNAs dozens of patients even though it's illegal. I just accepted a dream CNA job in a top hospital working in the neurosurgery unit. I never regret working at the nursing home because it taught me a lot but I'm ready and anxious to move on.
Funniest conversation with a patient: a patient of mine once told me all about how he loves marijuana edibles. I know nothing about marijuana or marijuana edibles, and the entire time I just said, "oh cool."
Funniest thing I've ever had happen to me: this actually happened during a clinical rotation shift at the hospital. I was doing range of motion with a patient. I was very nervous because I was still a student so I was constantly asking him if he felt any pain at all. He kept saying no until randomly, he just started screaming like he was in the worst pain imaginable. I stopped the procedure immediately and said I was going to get the nurse. The entire time I was freaking out thinking, "Oh god, oh god, oh god. I just caused that." He then completely stops screaming. Very confused, I asked him if he was still in pain and he says, "sweetheart there's no need to get the nurse. I was just messing with you. I could tell you were nervous and decided to prank you." I laugh now, but back then it scared the shit out of me so I wasn't laughing.
My first code blue: My first code blue was unfortunately called for a favorite patient of mine. She has severe dementia but luckily she is continent so we try to let her sleep through the night. Because of her dementia when she does wake up, she wakes up freaking out wondering where she is and why she's here. You can tell her where she is, why she's here, answer any questions, etc. but give her a minute or two, and she will forget it all. Even if she doesn't forget it, nothing seems to resonate with her. However she is stubborn and a very independent woman. I've talked to her about her former life. She is from San Francisco, loves seafood, and loved seeing the "cute sailor boys" out on the pier. Sometimes she'll wake up and get herself to the bathroom. Because of her dementia, there's signs everywhere to assist her. One fateful night, she woke up and was trying to get herself to the bathroom. She was using her tray table for support, so it's no surprise that she fell. Her fall was so bad that she basically crack her skull which at the very least is a concussion and a broken hip. I heard my nurse screaming my name and sprinted to her. Blood was everywhere and the nurse had shoved the bed out of her way. The nurse was holding a towel to the back of her head and she told me to get her vitals signs ASAP. I didn't have time to get a piece of paper so I wrote her vital signs on a napkin. Vital signs were normal except her blood pressure which was understandably high. Once the paramedics got there, the nurse asked me to take over and hold the towel to her head. I tried to calm her as I held the towel, but nothing worked. She was screaming wondering where she was, why she here, and that she needed help. The paramedics then got the gurney in the room and a paramedic took over with her. Myself and another nurse gave an overview of her health and that her massive confusion was normal. She is back from the hospital and she's even worse. Nobody can get her to sleep. All she does is scream but she refuses help and she refusespain or sleep medications. I don't know what else to do with her. I've tried everything. And to think that the day before she fell, she was telling me about "cute sailor boys" on the San Francisco pier.
Creepiest thing I've ever seen: there's a ghost that haunts my work. Even though I'm atheist, I'll just say that I've seen weird things. One hall in the nursing home is basically all long-term or comfort care patients. With long term and/or comfort care patients, we take patients who are living their last days on this earth. We try to make them as comfortable as possible and keep an eye on them as they don't have long to live. So it does make sense that this hallway has had more patients deaths than any other hallway. In this hallway, people have seen weird things. White orbs have spotted. Patients who aren't confused, have seen people that employees can't see. There have a few times that I've spotted something that wasn't there. There is one particular "ghost" that is spotted most often. Sometimes people describe it as a black orb or a man in well tailored black suit. I've seen both. When I saw the black orb, I thought it was a coworker of mine who has black hair. I thought she was coming towards me to ask me for something but turns out this coworker was nowhere near where I saw the orb. When I saw the "man in the black suit" I thought it was a patients family member who came to visit. I would describe him as extremely skinny, very pale, and in an expensive suit. I was about to tell him that his suit was very nice and ask him if his suit was tailored or maybe if he needed help with anything like finding his family member's room. And then a split second later, I realized no one was standing there. When I told one of my nurses about this she said, "so you've seen it two." She then told me about how she could've sworn that I was coming out of a patients room and was about to ask me something. She stopped herself when she realized that I was on lunch break. My coworkers tell stories and rumors that wherever the "man in the black suit" is found, death follows him. I can't say anything definite, but in the same hallway where I saw the "man," two women are very, very close to death.
My Mentor: my mentor is a nurse who has been nicknamed "the Nazi." This nursing home has zero leadership so she almost has to be "a nazi." She is intimidating, hard to please, very concise, provides very "by the book" care, has a Polish accent, she runs a tight ship, and is good at her job. If you watch Scrubs, she is just like Dr. Cox. She was always kinder to me for some reason but with a dose of sarcasm. When I was new I wasn't given an orientation. Since I was new, I didn't want to piss anyone and demand one, so I let people walk over me since I was still in my probation stage. She demanded that I be given a proper orientation. And when the CNA that was orientating me asked her to give me some advice about working at the nursing home she said, "get out while you still can. Might be out of a job but you won't be out of a license." Just an hour before my first patient death, she asked me to take his vital signs. The patient was burning to the touch even though the thermometer said his body temperature was only 99.9 Fahrenheit. His body felt way hotter than that and his breathing was abnormal. Yes, he was slowly dying and everyone knew that but something was really bothering me. I reported the abnormal findings to her and she explained that he's unfortunately dying and that's normal. I remember sitting at the nurses station thinking that he probably has 8-12 hours left and in which case, it's day shifts problem to deal with the dead guy. The nurse came by because she said I seemed worried. We discussed his vital signs and what we could do to make him more comfortable like giving him morphine. I emphasized that his breathing was very abnormal and his body felt like it was burning, and she said this clearly bothered me so she would check on him herself. After that, I went to go start my last rounds for the night. I heard her call my name and rushed to her aid, she told me he was dead and she needed a witness when she pronounced him. She got her stethoscope while I went to his room. I saw him an hour before and his skin was bright red but now it was very, very pale. He was the first dead body I'd ever seen. She checked his breathing with her stethoscope. She looked up at me and nodded. I think she saw my shocked face and she said, "it's okay. It happens." She explained what needed to be done like not touching anything in his room and that we needed to call the coroner. I was upset at myself because I wish I was there for my patient. Even if it was just to hold his hand as he passed. The next day she asked how I was doing and she made sure I didn't blame myself. She even told me that she was shocked by his death. She thought the same thing that I was thinking, that he had at least another 8-12 hours left.