Monday, November 22, 2010

15 years in the making

15 years ago I seriously thought about entering the health care field as a physical therapist. I went as far as taking a couple of science classes and putting in 150 hours as a volunteer in a hospital and sports rehab clinic. I think I would have enjoyed being a pt but was discouraged by the thought of going back to school and nixed the idea. 3 or 4 years ago I started thinking once again about the health care field. This time I was considering pt or nutrition but again the thought of school slowed me down. I really don't like sitting in a classroom and I also don't want to be a broke student again so the thought of school doesn't make me happy at all. I didn't really nix the idea of pt or nutrition this time, I just didn't make any moves.

So here I am once again, thinking things over. I thought about social work for a ny minute. Mostly because mine helped me so much and partly because I wouldn't need so many prerequisites to get into that program. I often find myself thinking about new careers when I move to a new area and have to start looking for work, as is the case right now. And I have finally made a move towards that career in healthcare. A lot of factors have pushed me over that edge of indecision. For one thing, I found myself applying for the same job as I did years before. I have been working as an accounts payable clerk for the last 8-10 years and while I am great at it, I really can't go further into the accounting field unless I take more accounting classes. And while I love math and loved the hectic pace of ap life, I always felt that if I had to work holidays and crazy hours (to meet deadlines) then I wished it was for something more worthwhile like saving lives or something. More importantly, I found myself applying for jobs that I wasn't qualified for at all, such as patient care assistant at one of the hospitals. I actually called the hospital to see what I could do to try and get one of those jobs and I discovered that you can take a course to become a certified nursing assistant (cna). Yes, in as little as 5-8 weeks I could get enough training in and take a test and start working with patients/residents.

After much research and some soul searching and a leap of faith, I am now a week and a half into my cna program. I have already put in 25 hours in the classroom and 16 hours in at a skilled nursing facility and am loving it so far despite my inadequate bed bath skills today that left me sweating (and not from a hot flash). I have to admit that I was a bit nervous that I had to put in my clinical hours working with the elderly as I have posted before that I'm a bit afraid of them. I've never been around the elderly too much. None of my grandparents lived near us or lived too long. My one grandma did move in with us the last couple of years of her life but she could get around pretty well on her own. We didn't have to dress her or bathe her or feed her. We cooked for her but I bet she could have done that on her own. So anyway, 2 days in and I really enjoy my residents. Many of them don't speak much, if at all but I talk to them because I know they can understand me some of the time and sometimes I can get a smile out of them. I find my hours in the classroom pretty tolerable because it is practical and I'm learning so much.

Where do I go from here? Well, I will be looking for work once I get my certificate and will most likely end up at a skilled nursing facility. My days at the nursing home are filled with feeding, giving bed baths, changing and cleaning residents, using lifts to get them out of bed and transferred to a wheelchair and dealing with dementia and depression. And while that is going on I'd like to start taking a bunch of science classes I need before I can apply to get into nursing school. That could take me a couple of years which is why I wanted to go ahead with my cna program. I've had this burning need to start helping people and couldn't wait to get started. It's hard work especially for someone like me who likes to be good at something immediately. Giving a bed bath (quickly) and taking care of multiple residents (in a timely fashion) is going to take lots of practice. But it sure is rewarding.


  1. You go, girl!!! And getting poop in your hair isn't really all that bad. Glad you are loving it. :) wt

  2. Janine! How awesome! I bet you'll be great at it.