From Springfield, Mo — 04/24/2008
Pay: Starting at 8.50 or so an hour on evening shift, with a shift differential. You can get paid more by working 12 hours a shift or every weekend. You can get paid more in a hospital, but only if you already have a certification (see Career Potential) and experience. For the options you have after getting certified the pay is pretty good.
Respect: From day one you are treated like an adult. If you do your job you get the respect deserved to you, just like it should be.
Benefits: I didn't really use them.. Your options for health insurance are right around a hundred a year or about ten times that depending on which of the two you want. You get what you pay for either way.
Job Security: Turnover is extremely high, and I'm sure that's the case industry wide for Nursing Assistants. If you do your job they will bend over backwards to accommodate you if you need time off, paid or otherwise.
Work/Life balance: As far as hours worked, it's the standard 40 hour workweek. If you need to miss a day, they require advance notice at least 2 hours before the shift with your reason why. Everyone gets paid to pull a double or an extra shift on occasion, but it's entirely up to you if you want to accept the proposition. When you work overtime, you get paid for it, standard time and a half. Holidays are all time and a half, and you must work at least one of the big five at the end of the year (Thanksgiving, Xmas eve, Xmas, New Years eve, New Years) and it's determined by ranking them by importance and then luck of the draw. You get something like 1 hour of PTO for each ten hours on the clock, and it's not a difficulty to fill out the slip and get it approved as long as they can still maintain staffing. You have the option of working a 5 day workweek (one weekday off each week and every other weekend off on a /fixed/ schedule), or working every weekend (at a dollar more an hour), or working 12 hour shifts (7-7, typically Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, wage bonus for the longer shift and working every weekend).
Career Potential/Growth: If you are not certified, they will get you in the classes and (assuming you pass) get you a certification. They offer, when they need them, to train aides to be Med techs.
Location: On the north side of town, with an on/offramp to I-44 within a mile on either side of it. There are plenty of places to run and grab a bite on break, at least a dozen different options in the area. Norton road is pretty calm traffic-wise except when people are heading to/leaving the nearby college. If you are a student at the college though, it's that much better.
Co-worker Competence: Everyone gets the same training and has to pass the same test, but not everyone expands their knowledge base too far beyond that. A good portion of the job is your capacity to lift and using proper body mechanics to maximize said lifting potential without tearing your back up, but some of the aides are lacking in that department. More than once I've been unable to find the aide working the hall with me and have had to search through rooms and make sure they weren't on their phone or just watching television. It really depends on your shift and your location in the facility, really, but most of the people are solid people to work with. Nurses can be a little iffy at times, but they are typically quite competent.
Work Environment: On my unit, pretty much everyone was friends with everyone else. The people are great, in general. Supervisors are either cool or don't care (which is another kind of cool in and of itself). The administration is firm in it's policies and they aren't too stringent. It's notable that the entire place is a christian facility, which is great if you do the whole church thing but otherwise it's best to keep quiet about it or you'll spend all your time listening to sermons (mostly from the Residents, who are the coolest old folk ever.)
All in all, I loved it there, and I'll miss it.