Burnout as a Nursing Assistant

Those who decide to pursue a career in the medical field as a Nursing Assistant set out to show compassion and help others. Their hearts are in the right place, but they may soon find their minds and bodies suffering from burnout. This is the result of continually feeling like you can’t meet your work requirements. Soon you find you are completely drained and exhausted due to feeling overwhelmed. Often, the result is losing the motivation that lead you to take on that role in the first place.

The role of a Nursing Assistant is a demanding one. One of the biggest complaints from them is that they have too much to do, and not enough time to get it all done. Burnout is dangerous because it affects individuals emotionally, physically, and mentally. It is tough to see bright, compassionate Nursing Assistants leave the medical field because they have come to resent the role they have taken on. It no longer serves a purpose for them. What was once a positive experience has become a nightmare.

The stress of burnout on a Nursing Assistant can lead to problems with their health as well as lead to depression. Often, they either quit their job or they are fired. This leads to financial difficulties and many times issues in their relationships. Nursing Assistants report burnout in their profession is common because they are overworked, unappreciated, confused about work expectations and priorities, worry about job security, they are overwhelmed by the number of responsibilities, and they do not feel their pay is sufficient for the amount of duties that they are required to perform on an ongoing basis.

It is important that Nursing Assistants understand burnout, and the havoc it can reap in their professional and personal life. Understanding what burnout is, why it happens, and the signs of it can help Nursing Assistants deal with the situation before it spirals out of control. The first step in avoiding burnout is to take care of yourself physically and emotionally.

Signs you are experiencing job burnout or soon will be include no longer finding enjoyment in areas of your job you once really liked, becoming cynical or bitter about your job, and you are starting to experience problems in relationships with co-workers, friends or family as a result of the conflicts of your job.

Other important signs to watch for are looking for excuses to not go to work, calling off or asking to go home early on a regular basis, becoming easily annoyed with co-workers, envious of those who do enjoy their work, and not caring if you do a good job or not. It is likely you will start to experience physical and emotional exhaustion.

Being a Nursing Assistant can be stressful. However, stress and burnout are different. They are often confused because they signs and symptoms of the two are very similar. The defining factor is stress comes and goes, so the signs and symptoms do as well. With burnout, the feeling doesn’t go away, so the signs and symptoms linger ongoing.

As a Nursing Assistant, you can’t eliminate stress, but you can help control and reduce the effects of it. It is important to get plenty of rest and take care of yourself. Since most of us stretch ourselves too thin with too many commitments, see if there are areas you can cut back in. If you have solutions to issues at work, write them down. Ask to meet with your supervisor. Explain the problems, then offer solutions. This will show that you are interested in resolving the issues rather than just complaining.

It is very important to take time for yourself. Relax with a warm bath or read a good book. Too often we take care of everyone else’s needs at work and at home, leaving nothing of ourselves for us! Since the healthcare profession is the top contender for employees suffering from burnout, Nursing Assistants need to really take head of this advice and put it to good use early on in their career. This will help ensure they continue to enjoy their work, offering patients the best possible care.

Posted by Jennifer | in Nursing Assistant | 14 Comments »

14 Comments on “Burnout as a Nursing Assistant”

  1. Kelly Says:


    Please sign this petition. CNA’s and the patients will both benefit. CNAs won’t have to worry as much about burnout, will get more help in providing care, and patients will be able to receive the care they deserve.

  2. Jim Bean Says:

    I just took a job as a CNA because I needed a full time job. I can honestly tell you I hate it. One nurse calls me constantly for things she could do, I’m running here and there for no good reason and then I forget what it was I needed to do before I was called away so urgently only to find out it wasn’t urgent at all. I’ll be looking for a new job as soon as I can transfer I have to be in this hospital 6 months before I transfer. In closing this job sucks! Don’t do it!

  3. Rebecca Says:

    I started my quest to be a nurse because I thought it was my calling. I realize a job is not the focal point of having a purpose in life it is a job. who you are should be the focus. When my job as a CNA compromised that focus, I was over worked, under appreciated and persecuted. It almost destroyed all the relationships I had with everyone, including my sanity. This may not be the experience of others, but it was for me. I no consider myself a medical field survivor. The biggest thing I saw was the abuse of CNA’s and staff, it should not be ok for others to punish those who are caregivers.

  4. Nicole Says:

    Ive worked in psychiatric wards for 18 yrs,worked with Autistic adolescents,elderly dementia patients,and for the past 6 months ive been working in a hospital setting as a Nursing assistant.I love my job,however,ive notice the RNs and physicians (not all but a good amount)treat the Nursing assistants pretty badly.they talk down to them,boss them around,telling them to do things they were supposed to do,and ive heard on several occasions,a nurse saying” what do you even do?your job is not so hard.I can initial papers too! And then laugh to each other.I can’t believe this is going on.were supposed to be a team.not only that,but alot of us are pursuing nursing degrees and will be a colleague..so,why then??

  5. Sharen Says:

    Entering this Field of Healthcare over 10years ago…has been rewarding in so many ways…as I really care for people. With that being said: been a Home Health aide, in the ED…travel for those in Residence for assistance- currently at a SNF….the day goes by so fast and so busy that Lunch isn’t an option as people need the CNA….of course Mngmnt come by to ensure all have signed in…and go back to their office. Having over 32 Patients in one Wing with 2 CNA’s getting them up for Breakfast at 6am, dressed, cleaned up to be presented to the Dining Room for Nourishment and ensuring the Feeder table is manned 2 CNAs for 4 residents ignoring the Rule of the Lights on said Wing we compromise One for each Responsibility..is very inappropriate to those who essentially make our wages. Incorrect treatment of those we studied about to receive the care deserved…

  6. Emily Says:

    This is unfortunately very common. I have been a nurse aide for almost 3 years now, and I can tell you i’m totally done. It is a very fulfilling job at the end of the day but also will completely deplete you. Emotionally and mentally I am exhausted from being overworked due to being understaffed in nursing homes. Now, I do believe caring for others is a beautiful thing, and still what I believe to be my purpose and gift in life. HOWEVER. I am 110% burnt out where nursing homes are concerned. I’m a good aide but i’m only one person, and nursing homes don’t seem to understand that. They staff the bare minimum and then expect us to perform flawlessly above standards like everything is fine. I have had as few as 7 patients and as many as 25. Most of the time I work with 12-18 residents. Let me tell you something RIGHT NOW… Nursing homes will overwork you 150% and then be like, “we had a call off, do you wanna do a double?” RUN. JUST RUN.

  7. Becca Says:

    I volunteered at a long term care facility for 3yrs before taking a job as a CNA at the same facility. I have only been doing CNA work for 3 months, I have 4 children and a disabled Veteran husband of whom I am sole caregiver. I am already very tired and mentally strained. Being a caregiver is hard mentally, I get called all sorts of bad names by residents, some yell at me, grab my arms, scratch, make threats, I know they don’t understand what they are doing (some do understand) but it’s still hard considering I suffer from depression due to caregiving for my husband. I took a CNA job because I seriously believed I would be good at it and frankly we were getting ready to lose our home and I needed a good paying job right away. I’m wondering if I made a mistake.

  8. Nia Says:

    I started this job cause I needed the money to leave my abusive mothers house. However, I NEVER liked nursing or working with the elderly even before I took the job. Nothing against the elderly. My client is ADORABLE, and I want to help them and make the rest of their lives as comfortable and fun as possible. I just don’t like the dirty work or the insane hours. ( 14 hr days 5 days a week). I am a singer, actress ,artist , musician and writer. This is NOT what I want to be doing.
    First of all, I’m not trained. I was first hired last year as a PCA. I HATED it. I worked in a Narcissistic hoarders house , who smoked ( I don’t smoke), smelled AWFUL , hated black people ( I’m black), and had a demon cat who peed everywhere and tried to kill everyone who walked past it. I eventually left that job and started working at a nursing home. My co-workers treat me like a child and keep telling me things I already do, but won’t help me when I ACTUALLY need it. My client has Alzheimer’s and isn’t always compliant ( which is expected), but then the boss yells at me for not getting her to bed before eight, when she doesn’t see how I tried for hours to get the client dressed and I don’t want to yell at her or be mean. I am a shy introvert and like to keep to myself, but my client needs stimulation and I don’t know what to do, as she sleeps most of the day. I HATE the diapers, I HATE being pulled out of my bed to do random shifts ( I’m not on call. I have a ft job, but boss claims she doesn’t have anymore girls). I just want this to end. I’m so tired and don’t know if I can make it most days . I can’t even IMAGINE what’s it’s like for people with kids at home. In that case, im lucky

  9. Kathleen Says:

    I’ve worked in healthcare as a CNA in various settings most of my life. Yes, for the dire worked needed, and that we provide we are looked down on by management and nurses. Not all but in general. These places could not run without us. These places are understaffed usually, esp. in nursing homes. The work is hard enough and when you do not get support from management or staff is takes a toll on a worker. I am getting out of this field, and reccomend a person not making this a lifetime profession until there are changes in the healthcare system including low pay.

  10. Daysi Says:

    I left one resident without being changed out of 15 we had because we were short of staff, sadly the next shift changed the one resident and reported it to the DON and the DON wanted to fired me only for one diaper. It is insane because it doesn’t usually happen, and my coworker was crying like a baby for changing one diaper. Maybe wanted a big break when everyone was clean. No fair. Directors of nursing are mean, brutal decisions, why families don’t help out at all, hardly visit, when their lives have changed their diapers and care for them for many years. It should be a law, is hard to see that we are the family instead of them

  11. Daysi Says:

    Families won’t feed their parent or love ones

  12. Judy Says:

    I’ve been a CNA for 20 years and I’m so burned out. I don’t enjoy my job anymore. It’s so monotonous. I’m always behind in my bills. I can’t do this job anymore. The salary hasn’t increased at all.

  13. Jess Says:

    I became a CNA when I was 16 (I’m now in my mid 30s) & still in high school, throughout the years I’ve worked in nursing homes, doctors offices, and in home care. Not only has it taken a toll on my body physically (bad back, bad knees) it’s taken it’s toll mentally. It’s to the point I give up, nothing I do is enough. Stress is one thing but the way I feel now is completely different. CNA’s are over worked, under appreciated (one time for CNA week we was given a certificate for a $6 free lunch), and not to mention underpaid. You can make more money working at McDonald’s currently than you can in my area as a CNA.

  14. Keva Holmes Says:

    Being a CNA is Stressful with all you have to do in 7.50 hours but the only problem is it doesn’t pay enough being stressed and over worked,working from paycheck to paycheck is slavery being a CNA does not pay off physically or financially It takes decades to gain a livable wage if you worked at the same job for years and by the time you get that the cost of living has tripled ten times so your 15 or 16 dollars an hour is just 10 an hour now .so you still stressed,still overworked and still broke. And to tired and too old to go back to school to get a real livable wage so know you stuck. As a slave to the company with a good heart

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