If you are looking for a job in the medical field, becoming a CNA ( Certified Nursing Assistant) is one career you may want to look into. Becoming a certified nursing assistant doesn’t require an extensive degree, but knowledge in the medical field is a plus. Certified Nursing Assistants are valuable jobs, but they require a lot of skill to do well. As a CNA certified nursing assistant, you will be required to take on a lot of roles, from caregiver to bookkeeper, and everything in between. However, as far as nursing careers go, being a certified nurses assistant is one of the least demanding jobs in terms of workload and duties (though there will still be many nursing assistant duties that the CNA will need to undertake). This article aims to outline exactly what it is a Certified Nursing Assistant does, and how to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.
What is a Certified Nursing Assistant? (CNA)
A Certified Nursing Assistant is essentially a caretaker to one or more patients, usually in their own homes. CNA’s are responsible for taking care of the health and wellbeing of their assigned patient, and often help to increase the quality of life that a patient has. Many different types of patients require a CNA, from diabetic patients to those with mobility disabilities. A CNA needs to be able to handle each patient with their own brand of care, to meet the needs of the patient to the best of the CNA’s abilities. Because of this, the CNA needs to employ a variety of skills that are pertinent to the many different jobs they will be performing.
- Intrapersonal skills: the ability to talk to patients in a way that will make them feel comfortable.
- Knowledge of over-the-counter and prescription medications as they pertain to a patients needs
- Book-keeping and record-keeping: A CNA is often the patient’s main caregiver; as such, the CNA may need to update and keep a record of the patient’s health.
Nursing assistant duties that you may be expected to uphold:
- Bathing patients, or ensuring that the patients hygenic needs are met.
- Serving meals at appropriate times, and assisting the patient when eating if they cannot do so themselves.
- Administering prescription drugs as instructed to do so by the patient’s doctor or primary health practitioner.
- Communicate with doctors, nurses, and caregivers about the patient’s health
- Schedule both regular and intermittent appointments with health practitioners as the patient requires.
- Keep up to date records on the patients health and status, including vitals, prescriptions, and other important data
- Provide a clean living environment for the patient, such as providing and cleaning bedpans or other hygienic needs.
CNA Classes and Education:
Becoming a CNA doesn’t require that you hold a bachelor’s in medical science, but you will need to do some post-secondary training in order to be considered as a CNA. Many Certified Nursing Assistants take formal training that results in a certificate in order to denote that they have the training and knowledge necessary to do their job to the best of their ability. The Certified Nursing Assistant courses often pair technical knowledge with practical training in order to fully train prospective CNA’s. Training can be taken at a specific location within the state, or there is CNA training online for those who cannot get to a location themselves.
This certificate or award is the beginning of what it takes to become a fully registered CNA. Many states require that a CNA nurse meet certain requirements before they can be registered. In some cases, moving states will require that you take a cna recertification exam. These CNA requirements may include, but are not limited to:
- A certain number of practical hours in which the CNA has participated in
- Passing the CNA exam to ensure that the CNA knows what is required and has the proper training
- Complete evaluations that gauge physical and mental state
- Complete a criminal background check
- Pass an HIV/AIDS test - because CNAs work so closely with patients, it is very easy to exchange bloodborne diseases by accident.
Once you finish the CNA certification, you do need to have some additional formal CNA training as required by the state, as well as a CNA state exam to complete the process. There are many courses that are offered at colleges across the U.S., and every prospective CNA must complete these courses if they are to be considered. Because being CNA requires things such as medication and patient vitals, these courses cover all the basics regarding becoming a CNA, and may include subjects such as short and long term care, as well as patient-caretaker relationships and emergency procedures in the event that something goes wrong. Many common procedures that a CNA might encounter are also covered.
In terms of completing this education, you don’t have to go to a physical college. There are numerous CNA courses online that allow you to take tests and coursework in order to become a CNA. However, the CNA exam is one that will need to be taken in a physical location.
CNA Salary and Career Outlook
A CNA nurse can expect to make an average of $36,000 per year, a number that will change based on hours worked. A CNA does not make a lot of money compared to other jobs in the medical profession, but many people who choose to become a CNA will look past the meager salary with the intent to better a patient’s life on the whole. In truth, being a Certified Nurse’s Assistant is one of the jobs that the medical field can use more of. Hospitals are constantly on the lookout for good CNAs as space in hospitals is limited, and a home care nurse goes a long way in ensuring that the patient’s needs are met without having them in the hospital 24/7.
CNA’s may also be requested by family themselves (though they may have to go through a third party, such as insurance or other determining factor). A CNA nurse can work either at the patient’s own home, or work in a care facility that houses a number of patients. Regardless of where the CNA works, they are usually only assigned to one or two patients at a time to ensure the best possible care and attentiveness.
There is a demand for becoming a CNA; while it is not the most glamorous job, and you will be getting your hands dirty, it’s one of the more rewarding jobs in the industry. As a CNA, you will be actively helping people with their day to day life, improving the quality of their home situation while also helping them get better. While the salary isn’t large, the rewards for becoming a CNA are numerous. Because being a CNA is easy to get into as well, there is plenty of opportunity to get into this budding career.