Becoming a certified nurses' assistant can be a wonderful way to open the door to a career in nursing. Although the CNA salary is less than other medical professionals, if you love helping people this can still be a great option for you to consider. Certified nursing assistants work in a wide variety of places. These include hospitals, nursing homes, home health care and sometimes clinics.
What is a CNA?
A CNA is a shortened term for a certified nursing assistant. A certified nursing assistant can expect to work one to one with patients. What work responsibilities you have will depend on what type of environment you are working in.
Certified nursing assistants in the hospital environment may be responsible for taking vitals, answering call buttons, and retrieving items for patients, such as water cups, towels.
Nursing Homes or Long Term Care Facilities
A CNA who works in a nursing home may have more responsibility and more patients. An average CNA does most of the patient care in a nursing home. This includes daily care such as showering, dressing, toileting, and dental hygiene, vitals, feeding, and positioning. The CNA is the eyes and ears of a nursing home. This job can be physically and emotionally taxing. A lot of CNA's work in a nursing home because they love helping people, not because of the salary.
Home Health CNA's
CNA's can also work in the home health industry. This job includes going to one or more patients homes and providing them with one-on-one care and companionship. Depending on the patient and their needs, you'll be expected to help with daily care, cooking, cleaning, errands, doctor appointment, vitals and communication with other family members.
Education & Certifications
Unlike other nursing careers, becoming a certified nursing assistant does not require a degree. This makes this profession a great start for someone wanting a career in nursing.
To become a certified nursing assistant you have to take an in person or online class that is typically 4-8 weeks long. Although this training is short compared to other nursing degrees, you will still be taught a great deal about a wide variety of topics. Some topics covered include:
After completing the course for a certified nursing assistant, there will be two tests you have to pass. One is a multiple choice written test, and the other is a hands-on clinical test. There is normally 2 hours given to complete the written test.
The clinical test will require you to show 3-5 clinical skills under the supervision of an RN. Don't freak out if you make a mistake. They normally give you one chance per skill to correct and do over. Practicing with your classmates before the test day can help a great deal. The skills are scenario based and are not random. You'll normally have about 25-45 minutes per skill. They give the two tests on the same day, and you are required to pay to take the test.
Other Related Requirements
Depending on where you take your course, some schools will also ask for:
Every 24 months CNA's have to apply for recertification through the state board of nursing. For every 24 months, a CNA has to have completed 48 units of continuing education. Continuing education is often provided by and paid for by your employer. If not, you can call your state nursing board, and they can give your locations. You also have to submit proof that you were paid to work as a CNA during that time. Most states require a minimum of 12 hours per each year.
Some topics they may cover that in continuing education include:
Becoming a CNA is the first step into the nursing field. Although a CNA salary is not up there with other medical professionals, it can give you a great start to several other higher paying positions. After becoming a CNA, you can go on to be:
Average CNA Salary
The CNA salary has a median range of $10-$15 an hour or $20,000-$35,000 a year. Depending on where you work, your location and what type of CNA job you have will highly influence the rate of pay you make. For instance, the CNA salary of someone who works in a hospital setting in the surgery ward can easily make $16 an hour in some larger cities. Also, CNA's who take extra training may be able to work for a higher rate of pay.
While this salary isn't the highest earning, and may not be ok for every person or situation it can be a great starting point in a young person's career. It can also be a great starter for someone who is looking to see if nursing is the right career move for them. Depending on where you work, you can make a decent living.
Becoming a certified nursing assistant is a rewarding and fun career. It can have its stress and toll, but the positives far outweigh the negatives. If you're a person with a big heart who wants a career helping others in their time of needs, this may be a great position for you. It's a position in the medical field, yet it's a position that allows you to get to know your patients, to bond with them, their families and learn about their cultures.
Being a CNA is all about helping your patients reach their full potentials. It's a position that allows you to be there for someone every day, helping with their daily needs. You will manage their nonmedical care and will learn to communicate with family members, nurse supervisors, and other members of the medical team.
It takes a special person to be a certified nursing assistant. Patients need to know that you truly care. The patient needs to know that they can trust you with their care. A CNA can make a huge impact on the person going through a health crisis. As a certified nursing assistant, you are often the person that the patient will deal with one-on-one in their daily interactions.
Whether you become a CNA as a career choice, or just on your way to a more advanced medical position, it will allow you to learn so much about both the medical field and the patients you serve. Being a certified nursing assistant is one of the hardest jobs in the medical field. It is also one of the most important. Remember, what you do as a certified nursing assistant will help other medical professionals decide what is best for your patients. You are the eyes and ears of your superior nurses and doctors.