Career as a Certified Nursing Assistant

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Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) are significant members of the healthcare team who works under the direct supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN). Healthcare of the patients would’ve become difficult without the CNA’s as they are a vital part when it comes to daily operations and care activities. CNA’s mostly work in various public and private hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, health agencies etc. Most CNA start with long term nursing homes, that’s where they polish their skills before entering any hospitals or clinics. Below is an overview of the whole career in CNA.

Basic Career Outlook:

Educational BackgroundHigh School or GED diploma
LicenseCNA training program (must be approved by State’s Nursing Board)
Job fieldHospitals, Clinics, Nursing care facilities, community care facilities.
Projected Job Growth18% between 2014 and 2024
Key SkillsExcellent verbal and written communication skills, Interpersonal skills, Empathy and compassion, Quick Thinking Skills, Time management and organizational skills.
Median Annual Salary$27,710 per year

Duties and functions of a CNA

Certified Nursing

Certified nursing assistants (CNA) primary role is to provide basic care to patients like assisting them in their day to day activities, for example eating, bathing, dressing up, and other basic needs.  Apart from taking care of their basic needs, duties of a CNA often include serving meals to patients, making beds and helping clean rooms. Besides their regular duties certified nursing assistants often calms the patients and provides mental support to them when they are upset and needs someone to talk to.

CNA’s often work with multiple patients at once so one of their core skills is multitasking, they are also very organized and well managed as they do not usually have time to do the same thing twice. The CNA’s often develop an intimate relationship with the patients as they work on more personal level with the patient than any other healthcare members.

Aside from the patient-centric tasks, the CNA’s also works in the operating department under the direct supervision of RN or LPN. CNA’s are like the eyes and ears of RN’s, they relay information among themselves and the patients; they also support the RN’s by maintaining charts and making lists, admit new patients, observe the physical and mental condition and make reports based on it. To sum it up, the duties and responsibility of CNA’s are almost never ending, starting from most common responsibilities such as recording vital signs, heart rate and blood pressure to assisting doctors in medical procedures.

 Why you should become a CNA

Career in Certified Nursing Assistant can be very physically demanding, as they are always on their feet, always ready to do something but there are more pros than cons in the field of nursing, in the field of Certified Nursing Assistant. Here are some of the reasons why career in CNA is certainly fruitful.

  • It only takes 4 – 12 weeks to compete a CNA training program! These means only about 75 hours of classroom is required to gain knowledge in CNA and train in practical clinical skills, after that they can take the certification exam.
  • To get enrolled in a CNA training program, you only need a high school diploma or a GED, no further degree is required, there are some age limitations though, some state only accepts after 18 years old while some does from 16.
  • The average annual salary of a CNA is about $27,000 and depending on where you live and your workplace, it can increase or decrease. Salaries also increase/decrease depending if you work full time or part time, for the part timer they are paid on hourly basis. There is also the option of doing overtime, you can always fill in the shoes of someone who is sick or absent and earn some extra cash as well.
  • A solid stepping stone in your nursing career. Being a CNA can be fresh start in your path of nursing, working as a CNA can earn you a lot of experience and knowledge, it’ll flourish your potential and polish your skills. You’ll also know how an organization functions and how everything works so there will be fewer obstacles to face.
  • Being a CNA is extremely fulfilling and wholesome; the job might be physically demanding but knowing you’re making someone’s day better can be very satisfying. A CNA always works on personal level with the patient who leads to developing compassion and empathy in them.
  • Changing jobs is very easy in this field, let’s say being a CAN has become less challenging or boring or you might want to progress your career further or might want to try something different, switching careers can be done very easily and you won’t be even leaving empty handed but with knowledge, experience and relationships which could last a lifetime.

How to become a CNA

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If you’re determined to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, there are various process and steps that you can take to become a CNA. The first step to becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is to get a high School degree/diploma or a GED. Then join a CNA training program that generally lasts less than 12 weeks, these programs are usually offered by community colleges, online schools and medical facilities. Some organizations even hire untrained members and provide them on-spot training. Many colleges or Schools also have some of these courses as part of their educational curriculum.
After completing the program, there will be state exam, the candidates must pass the exam in order to become a CNA.

The test is generally on basic nursing knowledge and skills. Passing the exam will give you a certification that’ll allow you to get jobs in medical facilities. The process usually ends with certification unless the candidate wants to further their career as a RN or any specialized nurse. There are programs offered that act as a bridge to CNA-RN available in government or private medical organization or even in the organization you work under. The best way to start a successful career in Certified Nursing Assistant is to learn and gain experience as much as you can, the job outlook looks promising and there are chances for growth in the future as a nursing field.

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