How can I get the training I need to become a caregiver?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

I began working as a caregiver almost a month ago. My boss is a family friend, and she emailed me one day asking if I would like to work in her carehome part time....and that she would train me. Well she has given me almost NO training. I know she is glad to have much needed free time. But I feel really neglected. I am caring for four adults, she leaves me alone with them, and it's just too much. I try to use as much common sense as I can, but I really need advice. When I ask her, she acts like she wants to roll her eyes at me, acts annoyed, or just says, I have to just "do it" (whatever the task is at hand) These are examples: getting them to brush their teeth, take all their medicine, or allow me to help when going to the bathroom. My boss wants me to be in there with them, and make sure their pants are pulled down all the way so they dont make a mess on their clothes. But when they go into the bathroom and shut the door, and don't want me in there....what do I do? I just started, so I don't know ways around things like this. And sometimes, I am so busy with meal preparation, or other residents, that I don't realize they've gone into the bathroom, until they are already in there. My boss is European, and has her own ways, but she makes me feel so stupid for asking. And I know these aren't stupid questions, because How am I supposed to know....not ever having done this before?? I'm a very caring and gentle soul, and I understand how hard it is for the residents, and I'm trying to respect their privacy. But knowing that I need to assist them, I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. I need to know what words to say, or tips or tricks to assist me with this. She says she is going to send me to classes at one point. But for the time being, she acts rushed, and never wants to be around, she is always leaving. I don't even think it's legal at this point, to leave me alone with them. I want to stay in this line of work, but this isn't working out, I don't think. I'm so tired and frustrated. Help!

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Caregiving, even with experience, is tough work. I appreciate that you are trying to do a good job, and I think it is great that you are so caring!

There are two basic issues that you raise in your question. First, you were hired as a caregiver with the assumption that you would be trained by your boss. From what you are writing in your letter, you have received absolutely no training whatsoever, and when you do ask questions, you get feedback from your boss that you are bothering her. You need to ask yourself if this is a situation you want to stay in, as I do think you will eventually learn what to do, but in the meantime, it will be a tough struggle for you. You could try talking with your boss, and remind her that she said she would send you to the training classes she promised. However, if she will not send you to classes, and if she continues to not be helpful after talking, I would look for another job.

Your second point is about proper training for this role. There are many vocational schools and community colleges that offer Certified Nursing Assistant training, which is what you are looking for. They offer classes at night and on the weekends, so it is something that you could fit in your schedule. I would look on the internet for schools in your area. Many are flexible with payment and even offer loans.
Good luck!