Now that you have landed your first job as a CNA, you want to show up as prepared as possible. Spend a little time reading up on tips that will help you navigate more smoothly and get along well with fellow CNAs and supervisors. Below are tips from experienced nurses and CNAs who have been where you are now.

Bring a notebook

Before your first day, buy a small notebook and pen that will fit in your pocket. It’s hard to remember all the details that you will be told at the beginning, so use the notebook to write everything down. If you have a question and there is no one around to answer it, write it down too so you won’t forget to ask later on. Write down the names of people you work with so you aren’t embarrassed by having to ask their names multiple times. Check the notebook periodically during the day so you don’t miss doing something crucial.

Watch and learn

Pay attention to the other CNAs and nurses to see how they interact with residents and staff. Every nursing home has its own way of doing things, so observe what’s going on around you and go with the flow. Find out exactly what is expected of you and carry it out to the best of your ability. You may spend the first few days just trying to acclimate yourself and remember which resident is in which room and what each one needs. Writing down these details in your notebook will help you learn more quickly.

Treat patients like you would treat your own parents

The best CNAs treat patients with real compassion. Even when patients are stubborn or difficult, a high quality CNA will think about how she would want her parents to be treated in the same situation and act accordingly. The patients are not trying to make your life hard; they are suffering and lashing out the only way they know how. Even if a patient is not assigned to you, if there is no one else around to help, be compassionate and do the right thing.

Remember that it gets easier

The first days in a new career are always the hardest. Being a CNA can be challenging but once you get the hang of it you will get into a rhythm. You will get to know the workflow, the residents and the other staff members and start to feel more at home. Come in every day with a positive can-do attitude and you will be a valued staff member in no time at all.