Tag Archives: CNA blogs

Cinnamon Rolls Out of Control

Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon Rolls

This butterless brioche dough concept is getting out of hand.  However, I believe it has made the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever tasted, and being something of a cinnamon roll fiend, I really think I speak from authority on this topic.

The rolls pictured above were made using the butterless brioche dough I stumbled onto accidentally.  Follow the steps listed, but instead of creating a braided loaf with half the dough, make the cinnamon rolls instead as follows:

1. Preheat oven to 375 (350
if convection). Spray a cake layer pan (9″ diameter) with cooking spray. On a floured surface, roll out 1/2 of a batch of Butterless Brioche Dough into a rectangle roughly the size of a cookie sheet, and approximately 1/2″ thick. (I like to do this on a silicone cookie sheet liner to make my life a little easier – helps with the rolling step.)

2. Spread rectangle with 2 T melted butter, then sprinkle with (already blended) 1/4 cup sugar+2 tsp cinnamon.

3. Starting at the narrow end of your rectangle, roll dough tightly, pinching to seal.

4. Cut dough roll crosswise into 8 equal pieces. Place pieces, cut side up, in the cake layer pan, one in the center, and the remaining 7 along the periphery.  If you would like your end pieces to look the same as your center pieces, place them cut side up in the pan.

5. Allow to rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place, for about 30-40 minutes.

6. Bake on parchment-paper lined pan on low rack of oven for 15 minutes, until golden-brown.  Tent rolls with foil, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven, invert onto heatproof plate.  Allow to rest for a minute, then remove pan.  Place another plate on top of rolls, invert, and remove original plate.  Your rolls will be right-side up and ready for frosting, if desired. You can stop here, and have these slightly sweet, cinnamon-infused rolls:

Cinnamon Rolls - Prior to Frosting
Cinnamon Rolls – Prior to Frosting

7. If you desire frosting, blend 1 cup powdered (confectioners’) sugar with 1 T milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, until smooth (add more milk if the consistency is too thick – think somewhere between stiff frosting and a thick glaze).  Spread glaze atop rolls – no need to be too precise – but do keep it toward the center of the rolls or you will find quite a bit of it on the plate, and not on the rolls.



No More Cable Bill. . .Also Known As Saving Over $100 a Month

Guess what?  When you work as a CNA and are a full-time nursing student, you don’t have very much time to watch TV. 


So unless you absolutely must have ESPN, switching to free, over-the-air broadcast television, supplemented by a couple of other goodies, will help you save a bundle while still getting your Grimm on.  (Yay for a nationally broadcast series that not only gets the whole “Keep Portland Weird” vibe but also features a leading lady who is the niece of my CNA course teacher.)


How do you still watch football, OPB (yay for muppets and McNeil-Lehrer) and other stuff without cable?  Here is my personal collection (thank you husband for the research and installation) of components you can easily install to get back some of the features you’re giving up:

1.  The Mohu Leaf antenna:  this flat little insanely amazing piece of engineering goodness installs in seconds and has amazing range.  I use the amplified version of this indoor antenna (can be powered by USB or electrical outlet), but if you live in a major metropolitan area, you can probably get away with the original or the non-amplified HD antenna.  Price tag?  $38-74 plus shipping (about $10).  Look, just buy it, OK?  This company also sells a digital-to-analog converter box if your TV is not able to receive a digital signal. 

2.  Orca Antenna:  $70 plus shipping as charged (varies).  Advantages?  Looks like it came out of Star Trek, signal strength reception independent of whether it is mounted on/adjacent to exterior wall.  Disadvantages? Some assembly required, requires electrical outlet, makes husband feel silly for buying it.  You could mount it outdoors (have fun finding the needed pole/adaptor) or in your attic.  Or, you can be like lazee me and stick it on top of a bookcase and have done with it. 

3.  Channel Master CM-7000PAL Tuner/Dual DVR:  The other half bought this one through eBay. Someday, there will be no more from this source, as this particular model is no longer manufactured.  Features an easy-to-use channel guide and DVR recording setup.  This product was manufactured for DISH network; DISH has since switched to another product, but this one works extremely well!

4.  Subscription TV service of your choice.  Netflix (about $8/month) has been around the longest.  If you’re a procrastinator, don’t bother to add DVD delivery service to your account.  You’d be better off with a quick trip to the store or McDonalds to visit Redbox or Blockbuster’s vending machines.  Hulu Plus (about $10/month) is favored by others (different offerings).  Amazon Prime ($79/year) allows pay-per-view viewing. Beyond that?  Waaaaay more expensive!

Yeah, I’m spending my savings on movies at the theater (with beer, thankyouverymuch), more beer, textbooks, and support socks. 

Happy Idiot Box watching!


2009 National Nursing Assistant Survey

Just in case you were wondering, there is a study that supports the common knowledge that the nursing home CNA position is not a high-paying position.  (Really?) 

Excerpts from This Study’s Discussion Section:

…CNAs are low-income workers (GAO, 2001) and add that years of experience do not translate into substantially higher wages. Although the median hourly wage is above the federal minimum wage, total family incomes for CNAs nationally indicate that more than half are within the 200% poverty level. Previous studies indicate that low wages do contribute to turnover and the need to work additional jobs or overtime (Harris-Kojetin et al., 2004). Moreover, working long hours may contribute to mistakes, affecting resident safety and quality of care. Strategies that increase CNA income and also meet growing care demands, such as career lattices that enable CNAs to take on additional responsibilities and receive higher wages or career ladders through which CNAs can advance in a career path (e.g., pursuing a nursing degree), may help stabilize staffing and increase the supply of licensed nurses.

Receipt of Public Benefits

A substantial proportion of CNAs are poor or near-poor. This study finds that one third of CNAs reported receiving some kind of means-tested public assistance. Moreover, our results indicate that CNAs access public assistance at higher rates than the general population…These findings may suggest that the use of public assistance is supplementing low wages for at least some working CNAs. Additional descriptive information from the NNAS allows for assessment of which CNAs are receiving which types of public benefits. For example, controlling for age, children, and wages could provide greater insight into CNAs’ receipt of benefits.

Health Insurance

Uninsured workers can adversely affect nursing home staffing stability. More than 40% of the uninsured CNAs in this study did not participate in their employer’s plan because they could not afford their share of the premium.


Our study and others have found that more than half of CNAs incurred at least one work-related injury within the past year, rates that exceed those for almost any other profession (Hoskins, 2006). Although three quarters of the injuries in this study did not result in loss of work time due to the injury, the difference in mean and median number of injuries and time lost suggest that there is a small subgroup of CNAs with a much higher injury rate and/or more severe injuries. High injury rates and insufficient or no health insurance and sick benefits may jeopardize CNAs’ financial stability and commitment to their job or field; it may also adversely affect nursing home staffing stability…Lack of equipment (e.g., for lifting and transferring residents), lack of training on the proper use of equipment, lack of training on managing resident behaviors (e.g., combative or aggressive residents), and working short staffed are some of the reasons for CNA injuries.”

Link to the PDF document for further reading:  http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/2009/NNASeb.pdf

Advice for Working the Night Shift

I found this piece on working the night shift when I first learned I’d be working nights. Although the intended audience is the English physician (“Junior Doctor” – such a delightful term – do they wear child-sized scrubs?) the advice given would be helpful for anyone preparing to work nocs. Working the Night Shift: Preparation, Survival and Recovery

Words of Wisdom from Auntie Jo. . .

I love Head Nurse – she’s got lots of stories and advice for us all.  Plus, her cute animal vid links are great fun.

For those of us preparing to head back to clinical this term, here’s some good advice from Auntie Jo.

It’s FAFSA Time, Boys and Girls!

If you’re a student like me, you’re in the midst (hopefully) of filing your FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  I don’t know personally if I’ll take out any loans, since I attend a dirt-cheap community college ADN program – I’m thinking probably not.  But, it might be fun to find out what’s out there, and see what the options are.

Students should file their FAFSA ASAP (how’s that for consecutive acronyms) in order to avoid missing out on aid deadlines.  Additionally, some schools require you to file a FAFSA to be considered for scholarships, even if you don’t take grants, loans, work-study or other aid.

Lastly – ever wondered how the EFC (Expected Family Contribution) is calculated?  Well, here’s all the detail you could ever want: 

 THE EFC FORMULA, 2012-2013

And now for something completely different. . .

When I’m not stressing about examinations or stumbling through a caffeine-powered night shift (or sleeping), I enjoy hanging out with my character trip-hazard of a cat. 

She’s a Maine-Coon style beastie I acquired about three years ago from a nice lady who stated that said cat was “trying to kill her mother.”  Since this sounded quite extraordinary, of course I had to adopt her. (Turns out the prior owner’s elderly mother had quite a lot of vision deficits – couple that challenge with a cat that insists on following your every move and enjoys being at your feet – and you’ve got a recipe for  disaster.)

Her hobbies include coughing up hairballs, hunting for spiders in closets and cupboards, sleeping, chasing squirrels, and planking.

Cat Planking the Couch

 But she has another life, it seems.  She becomes quite antsy in the morning if she isn’t allowed out, ostensibly to perform cat activities such as hunting and, well, eliminating in the neighbor’s barkdust garden.  However, she also apparently has quite the social life.  I’ve seen her zigzag across the neighborhood from house to house, where she waits patiently at patio doors until unsuspecting neighbors (her “regulars”) let her in for treats and company.

She’s vanished overnight, only to be found locked in a neighbor’s car (thank goodness it wasn’t August).  Additionally, she’s acquired a new bowl, given to her by her neighbors across the street (her favorite friends) when they put their home on the market and moved out.  Once, she accompanied the girl-child on a walk to a nearby grade school, and didn’t come home because she got too tuckered out to walk back (cats are sprinters, not marathoners).  When she was gone overnight, we put out the alert to all the neighbors to watch for her.  We located her the next day – crouching in the ivy median in the middle of the street near the school, patiently waiting for her hoomans to get a clue and come get her.  Bless the neighbors – after that incident, we went through a week of various folks showing up at our door with her, proudly proclaiming “Hey, I found your cat!”

But this evening was a first!  She came home with a small lump taped to her flea collar.  A quick snip of the ol’ trauma shears (yeah, I know, they’re so fun to use! – and not just for cutting those annoying non-IV gowns off patients admitted to our floor from the ER!) revealed a ziplock bag containing a note:

Creepy Cat Note

Oh for heaven’s sake, I thought – what flippin’ now??? 

With no small amount of trepidation, I called the number on the note, hoping it didn’t belong to the owner of a pet hamster or mouse consumed by my darling furball, or worse.  Instead of an ear blistering, I got a lovely chat about how much fun our cat is when she comes to visit their family (and their two macaws, who apparently don’t intimidate her in the least).  The writer of the note had been enjoying visits from her for about two years, and finally, curiosity got the best of him (lucky for him he’s not a cat, right?) and he just had to know about her “permanent” family.
I’m happy el gato has such a vibrant social life, and that we apparently live in the nicest neighborhood in the entire world (because there are other places where people might try to keep her permanently, take her to the pound, or worse) – but a bit concerned that she has more friends than the entire rest of the family put together.  But, I guess that’s a side effect of working nights, after all.

Amazing ICU FAQ site

This, ladies and germs, is simply the most amazing collection of intensive care nursing lore I have found on the web:  Notes on ICU Nursing

Just read it, even if you don’t work in Intensive Care – extremely interesting.

Some of the jargon might be unfamiliar if you’re not used to caring for the sedated/intubated/restrained, but if you ever might float to the ICU, or are curious about full-time work in one – look, just give it a visit. You won’t be disappointed.