The position of the CNA is by no means an easy job. The majority of the tasks that are needed to keep a health care center or hospital functioning properly are all performed by the nursing assistant. CNA’s are in the front line of providing care for hundreds of millions of aging patients, recovering patients and terminally ill patients. The CNA job description provided here will give you a more in depth insight as to all the duties and requirements of becoming a certified nursing assistant or certified nurses aide.
Certified nursing assistants are currently employed by nursing homes, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and private citizens to care for and provide everyday needs for patients. The majority of the CNA’s work is performing personal duties for patients, such as grooming, bathing, dressing, brushing teeth, combing hair and feeding patients. The CNA is often required to be able to help lift the patient in and out of bed, and needs to be in a good physical state to perform this duty regularly.
In addition to lifting the patient to and from bed, it is often required to take a patient to and from treatments and surgeries, and to help them with walking if necessary. For patients with the inability to walk, the nurses aide may be required to lift the patient out of bed and help them into a wheelchair. If the CNA works for a long term health facility, additional duties may be to ensure that the patient gets out of bed and has plenty of exercise each day, participates in field trips and participates in the facilities group activities.
Whether the nurses assistant works for nursing homes, hospitals, outpatient clinics, or private citizens, they are responsible for taking the vital signs of the patient, monitoring physical and mental behaviors and to answer the call for help from the patient if applicable. Because the CNA is so involved in the day to day activities of the patient, activities such as cleaning soiled clothing, cleaning bed pans and soiled bedding is not uncommon. There are some other duties around the facility the CNA may also be responsible for such as cleaning the room of the patient, keeping the storerooms clean and doing laundry. The nurses assistant will work under the direct supervision of experienced nurses and must report any conditions concerning the patient’s health to the staff at the facility.
The leading requirement for anyone considering a position as a CNA is that they have an extreme amount of patience and compassion, and a sincere concern for patients. Excellent communication skills are vital in the nursing field because of the involvement with injured, serious ill and many times confused patients. Patients can become very angry, irritable and uncooperative when first entering a long term facility, and the job of the CNA is to understand the underlying concerns of the patient and to make them as comfortable as possible during their stay. The position of certified nursing assistant or certified nurses aide calls for a dependable and dedicated person who can take orders, work on repetitive tasks daily and be able to report findings to supervisors on a regular basis.
The certified nursing assistant or certified nurses aide must be physically fit to perform the day to day operations in the facility with their patient. The CNA will most likely be on their feet for extended hours each day and escorting the patient to and from the bathroom, hospital, physical therapy, group activities and just walks around the center. Having upper body strength is a must for the certified nurses aide because they will have to lift patients to and from bed, the bath and the toilet each day.
The certified nursing assistant should also have excellent personal habits. The working conditions in a hospital and long term facility are sterile and excellent hygiene and the ability to keep your area or the patient’s area neat and organized so they are free from contaminants is vital.
To get started in the certified nursing assistant or certified nurses aide field, a GED or high school diploma are sufficient enough to get started in the field. Depending on which state you reside in, there are in state training programs that require 6-12 weeks to complete and are state approved. Each state has different requirements concerning the number of hours the applicant must log before becoming eligible for certification testing. You can contact the Nurse’s Aide Registry in your state for more information or details concerning the exact training requirements needed.
To be able to work in a hospital or nursing home, the nurses aide must pass a certification exam to become a CNA. The tests are different dependent on which state the applicant is applying, but the overall certification usually consists of a practical exam and a written test. The practical testing involves potential applicants to demonstrate their abilities of handling the patients properly in a live setting. The applicant will need to perform certain duties in a live setting to demonstrate they have the capability and understanding to become a CNA. The written exam will be an in depth testing of the applicants knowledge in patient care, safety, disease prevention, and a general understanding of all areas of patient care.
The applicant will be notified if they pass the certification and once the testing is passed, they become certified and their name is then a part of the state registry for certified nursing assistants. Depending on the state you reside in and practice in, you may be required to take part in continued educational training either on the job or in a classroom every two or four years.
Programs are offered through both public and private venues. A good place to start if you don’t know of any nearby schools that have CNA programs is to get acquainted with the Red Cross. They offer Certified Nursing Assistant training, though often the prices for the program are higher than a public institution. Going through the Red Cross is valuable, however, because they cater to non-traditional types of students. They offer day and night classes, and have more available times to take the state examination test. The downside is that the class could be held in a far off distance from you depending where they are able to hold it.
Public institutions, such as community colleges, and trade centers offer CNA training. You would have to apply to the school and be accepted into it to be able to register for the classes. Public institutions are a great way to take training classes because they are able to offer financial aid and license pre-requisites are usually included in class costs (whereas with the Red Cross it is an additional cost). However, the cost for books is not included and is often at the student’s own expense.
Private institutions that offer CNA training can be at either high school or college level. High schools can offer training through a local trade school, and although the high school might be public, you would need to be enrolled in that high school to qualify. Private institution price ranges for CNA training are much like that of a public college or university. Although, private institutions regulate their own price ranges so it could be of higher or lower cost.
Another route for training is to enroll in an online CNA training program. Online Certified Nursing Assistant programs are a good fit for individuals whose schedules keep them from being able to attend in-person training program. Generally, online programs are with “for profit” businesses. Even online schools can be considered for profit, though not all of them are. When enrolling in an online program be sure to get an exact amount of all the costs required for the program. The costs posted online are subject to change and don’t always include book fees and other costs. You also want to make sure that the online training meets your state’s CNA certification requirements.
Sometimes nursing homes, hospitals, and home health agencies will offer free CNA training for potential employees. In return, the individuals who received this training agree to work for the employer for a specified period of time after their CNA training is complete.
Unless you recieve Certified Nursing Assistant training from a potential employer there will be a cost associated with the training. Depending on where you live and who provides the CNA training, you should usually expect that it will cost between $350 and $1,000+ for training.
There are several requirements you must complete before you can go through Certified Nursing Assistant Training. Age requirements for program participation vary per state; however, most states require a person to be at least 16. Other requirements include current vaccinations, additional certificates or licenses (such as CPR), and additional fees.
To officially receive a Nursing Assistant certification, you must have completed all of the required hours (both in the classroom and out) as well as take a state examination. The state examination has two parts. The first part is a proctored test of skills, how to make a bed, take blood pressure, and so on. The second part is a written test. The test, although called written, is taken online and supervised. It is broken into sections, much like the coursework is and it is multiple choice. You must receive a certain percent correct on the test to pass. You cannot pass one part of the test, and not the other, and still receive certification. You will also have to pay to take the test; prices vary per state.
Certified Nursing Assistant training is a great place to be introduced into the medical field. CNA jobs are in high demand and, in most places, pay nine dollars and up. And if you already plan on going into the medical field, a Nursing Assistant certification under your belt will certainly help you along the way.