Certified nursing assistants usually work on the front lines of patient care. These positions are very important to daily operations in a variety of health care facilities. Compassionate and skillful patient care is necessary to helping individuals who are sick or cannot care for themselves properly. Are you ready embark on a rewarding career path? Are ready to learn how to become a CNA?
When it comes to becoming a CNA the following are general requirements:
- Complete a CNA training program
- Meet licensing standards for your area
- Apply for CNA positions with healthcare facilities
Under the supervision of registered nurses or other healthcare professionals, CNAs are responsible basic services such as taking vitals and feeding patients. They may also perform routine maintenance duties by cleaning rooms and changing beds. Most CNAs work for long-term care facilities, hospitals and clinics.
Educational Requirements to Become a CNA
Individuals who want to know how to become a CNA can begin by researching various training programs. Generally, programs that prepare you to become a CNA are offered through trade schools and community colleges. Most programs can be completed in less than a year.
The curriculum for CNA training programs cover subjects such as:
- Medical terminology
- Personal care
- Infection and disease control
- Communication skills
- Nursing support
- First Aid and CPR
A considerable amount of training involves hands-on instruction during a clinical experience or in-class lab sessions. You will have an opportunity to practice skills you have acquired in class under the supervision of medical professionals and/or instructors. An evaluation of your performance will determine if you are on the right track of learning how to become a CNA.
In addition to the clinical experience of an actual healthcare facility, your training will also cover communication skills. Not only should you be able to communicate effectively with the patients under your care, but you will also interact with nurses and other staff. Training will also include proper techniques for lifting and moving patients safely.
Licensing and Certification Requirements for CNAs
Once you have successfully completed a CNA training program, you may also need to meet licensing and certification requirements. Actual requirements may vary based by employer or the state in which you live. Typically, there are federal standards for CNAs employed by a nursing facility regardless to where you live.
Most states require passing a certification exam to enter this field; others may call for additional certifications based on the type of duties you will perform. The nursing and/or health board in your state might be responsible for regulating the CNA profession and will set the standards for obtaining certification.
Start Your Career as a Certified Nursing Assistant
After completing the educational requirements and receiving the proper certification to become a CNA, you are ready to begin your career. Generally, CNAs are employed at:
- Nursing homes
- Rehabilitation centers
- Adult homes
- Psychiatric care centers
You may also find CNA jobs for at-home care. While the skills taught at a CNA training program are appropriate for different facilities, your actual duties may vary based on the health setting.
Career advancement will require additional training and education. There are some certified nursing assistant training programs that allow transfer credits for advanced nursing or CNA certificate programs. If this is part of your career goal, you could become a LPN or RN.
Your education may continue by earning a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in nursing. This additional education credentials may open doors for teaching, research studies or advanced patient care.
Responsibilities of a CNA
The job description of CNAs entails different responsibilities based on the needs of the healthcare facility. Responsibilities are essential to the daily operations of patient care. In general, your duties may include the following:
- Patient personal hygiene care – providing urinals, bedpans, baths, shaves, shampoos and backrubs. You may also assist patients with going to the bathroom and help with baths or showers.
- Assistance with daily living activities – serving meals, feeding patients, turning and positioning patients, ambulating, providing nourishment and fresh water.
- Adjunct medical care – administering douches, enemas, surgical preps, non-sterile bandage changing, therapeutic baths, ice packs, applying physical restraints.
- Vital signs – regular checking of weight and vital signs, urine tests, update patient medical records of how much a patient takes in and their elimination of waste.
- Patient comfort – transporting patients, responding to call lights and requests, reporting observations of changes to nursing supervisor.
- Documentation – complete forms, logs and reports as necessary.
Risk of injuries is an important consideration as you pursue this career. You will have to perform physically demanding tasks like lifting patients and will need proper training to reduce your risk of injury.
Salary Expectations for CNAs
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNAs have a median wage of just over $24,000. Actual earnings may vary based on your geographic location, healthcare facility and specific job duties. When these factors are taken into consideration, some CNAs may earn less than $17,800 per year; others could earn over $34,500 annually.
Most CNA positions are full-time with varied hours associated with the healthcare facility. It is not uncommon to work nights, weekends or even holidays.
Difference between CNAs and Medical Assistants
It is important not to confuse CNAs with medical assistants since there are differences between the two. While both involve collaboration with medical professionals regarding patient care, CNA duties are usually more specific.
Typically, CNAs are directly involved with patient care such as checking their blood pressure, taking a temperature, bathing and feeding. This is fulfilling the general role of a patient caregiver when constant medical attention is not needed but assistance is necessary.
On the other hand, medical assistants perform a variety of administrative and clerical tasks. They may also perform minor clinical duties such as taking vital signs, but that is where similarities with CNAs stop. Medical assistants are usually responsible for scheduling appointments, collecting patient history information and preparing laboratory samples.
Career Outlook for Individuals Who Become a CNA
The career outlook for CNAs is expected to experience significant increases for many years. In part, increased opportunities are related to population growth among the elderly. The increase is also attributed to the expansion of the healthcare industry. More job opportunities may arise as CNAs currently working in the field are promoted or leave for a different career.
Wrap Up: How To Become A CNA
If you’re interested in learning more about the requirements or exactly how to become a CNA, please keep exploring our site. There is plenty of useful information found in the Recent Posts menu found on the right. Check back soon for updated features and topics of discussion. Thanks for visiting.