Are you interested in a career in healthcare that involves working closely with patients and providing essential care and support? If so, you may want to consider becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA).
CNAs play a vital role in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare settings – helping patients with activities of daily living and providing crucial emotional support. In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the CNA job, from the basics of the role to the different types of CNAs as well as the education and certification requirements.
What is a CNA?
A certified nursing assistant, or CNA, is a healthcare professional who provides basic care and assistance to patients under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). CNAs typically work in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities, and are responsible for a variety of duties, including helping patients with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, monitoring vital signs, and reporting any changes in a patient’s condition to the nursing staff. Overall, the role of a CNA is crucial in providing quality care to patients and supporting the work of other healthcare professionals.
Responsibilities and duties of a CNA
CNAs have a wide range of responsibilities and duties in their role as a healthcare professional. Some of the tasks that CNAs are responsible for include:
- Assisting patients with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and eating
- Helping patients move and turn in bed
- Providing emotional support and companionship to patients
- Monitoring vital signs such as blood pressure and temperature
- Reporting any changes in a patient’s condition to the nursing staff
- Helping with patient transfers and medical equipment
- Maintaining patient hygiene and cleanliness
- Documenting patient information
- Communicating with other healthcare professionals to ensure patients receive quality care
While these tasks above are the most common responsibilities of a CNA, there may be additional tasks that a CNA may be required to perform, depending on the specific healthcare facility they work in or the needs of their patients. Some of these tasks may include:
- Assisting with patient rehabilitation exercises
- Administering medication under the supervision of a nurse
- Performing basic wound care
- Assisting with end-of-life care
- Providing patient education on health and wellness topics
It’s important to note that these tasks may require additional training or certifications beyond the standard CNA certification. Additionally, CNAs should always work within the scope of their training and seek guidance from their nursing supervisor if they are unsure about a particular task or responsibility.
Different types of CNAs
There are several different types of CNAs, each with its own specific focus and requirements depending on where they are hired in a healthcare company. Below are some of the common classifications categorized by different field work:
Home Health Aide CNA
A home health aide is a type of CNA who provides care to patients in their own homes. Home health aides may assist patients with basic household tasks such as cleaning and cooking, as well as providing healthcare services.
Some of the advantages of working as a home health aide include the opportunity to develop close relationships with patients and their families, and the ability to work independently. However, home health aides may face challenges such as dealing with difficult family members, working irregular hours, and working in unfamiliar environments.
Hospital-based Nursing Assistant
A hospital-based nursing assistant is a type of CNA who works in a hospital setting and is responsible for providing care to patients who are receiving treatment for a variety of medical conditions. Hospital-based nursing assistants may work in a variety of departments, including emergency, surgery, and intensive care units.
Some of the advantages of working as a hospital-based nursing assistant include the opportunity to work with a wide variety of patients and medical conditions, and the ability to gain valuable experience in a fast-paced healthcare environment. However, hospital-based nursing assistants may face challenges such as dealing with difficult patients or families, working long or irregular hours, and facing exposure to infectious diseases.
Long-term Care Nursing Assistant
A long-term care nursing assistant is a type of CNA who works in a nursing home or assisted living facility, providing care to elderly or disabled patients who require long-term care and support. Long-term care nursing assistants may assist with tasks such as feeding, bathing, and dressing patients, and may also provide emotional support and companionship.
Some of the advantages of working as a long-term care nursing assistant include the opportunity to develop close relationships with patients and their families, and the ability to provide continuity of care to patients over an extended period of time. However, long-term care nursing assistants may face challenges such as dealing with difficult or uncooperative patients, working in understaffed facilities, and facing physical strain from lifting and moving patients.
Also read: How do you become a Qualified Nurse in an Assisted Living Facility?
A traveling CNA, also known as a travel CNA, is a type of CNA who works in various healthcare facilities across the country. Traveling CNAs work as temporary staff in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities, often filling in for permanent staff members who are on leave or vacation.
Some of the advantages of working as a traveling CNA include the opportunity to gain experience in a variety of healthcare settings, the ability to travel and explore different parts of the country, and the potential for higher pay and benefits. However, traveling CNAs may face challenges such as working in unfamiliar environments, adapting to different workplace cultures, and having limited job security due to the temporary nature of their assignments. Additionally, traveling CNAs must be willing to relocate frequently, which may not be suitable for individuals with family or other personal commitments.
What are the basic educational requirements for a CNA job?
In the United States, there are basic educational requirements that must be met in order to become a certified nursing assistant. These requirements vary by state, but typically include completing a state-approved CNA training program, which can be completed in as little as 4-12 weeks. These programs are offered at community colleges, vocational schools, and healthcare facilities.
Here are some helpful sites that provide information on CNA training and certification, as well as resources for continuing education and professional development for CNAs:
- Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training
- NCSBN Nursing Regulation
- The National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP)
- The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
- The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE)
CNA training programs include both classroom instruction and clinical training, and cover topics such as infection control, patient care, and communication skills. After completing the program, candidates must pass a state certification exam, which typically includes a written test and a practical skills demonstration. Some states may also require a criminal background check and a certain number of hours of continuing education in order to maintain certification.
It is important for aspiring CNAs to check the specific requirements in their state, as they may differ from those in other states.
How much can you earn from a CNA job?
The salary for a certified nursing assistant (CNA) can vary depending on several factors, including location, experience, and employer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for nursing assistants, including CNAs, was around $35,760 as of May 2022.
The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,000, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $42,900. CNAs who work in hospitals tend to earn higher salaries than those who work in long-term care facilities or home health care, but hospital jobs may also be more competitive.
CNAs with more experience, specialized skills, or who work in high-demand areas may also be able to command higher salaries. It’s important to note that the above figures are for the United States and may vary in other countries.
Here is more wage information from online sources:
Becoming a certified nursing assistant can be a fulfilling and rewarding career choice, with opportunities to make a real difference in the lives of patients and their families. Whether you’re just starting out in healthcare or looking to transition to a new role, a CNA job can offer stability, job security, and a chance to develop new skills.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to De Vore Recruiting. Good luck on your journey towards becoming a CNA!