A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a medical professional who aids patients by providing their healthcare needs. CNAs work under the supervision of either a registered nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). The position of CNA requires an individual who is focused, can work long hours, is not afraid of unpleasant duties, is quick on his/her feet, has great experience, and has a high level of ability. It is not a career route for the weak hearted yet it can be very satisfying and rewarding.
To qualify for CNA training, you have to be a high school diploma holder or have a GED. There are many educational institutions which offer the accredited course leading to qualification as a certified nursing assistant. Additionally, groups such as the Red Cross offer accredited courses. There are also online programs where one can study to become a certified nursing assistant. Many medical institutions also offer on-the-job training in addition to the accredited course for qualification as a certified nursing assistant. After taking the accredited course in an accredited institution, one must also the examination for certified nursing assistants before one can qualify. Many students find it beneficial to start early by using aids such as taking a weekly CNA Practice Test in preparation of the final test.
Most training institutions for nurses have practical programs where the trainee nurse gets to face real life situation in a hospital setting. Most accredited training institutions will offer something like 100 hours or other recommended number of hours of supervised clinical training for nursing students. This may also include about 60 hours of lab work conducted in a classroom setting. The training is typically through lectures, exposure of students, and demonstrations of nursing techniques and procedures.
The main duties of a certified nursing assistant are to help the patient access health and medical needs, to ensure hygiene, and to assist patients with daily living. Additionally, CNAs have to take body function measurements such as pulse rates, heart rates, body temperature, and respiration rate. Trainees will learn nursing procedures such as giving injections or enemas.
A Certified Nursing Assistant’s duties vary greatly depending on the work location. Some of the locations where a CNA may work include general hospitals, pediatric hospitals, adult care centers, personal homes, nursing homes, or other places that provide assisted living services.
If a trainee finds free CNA practice test opportunity, then he or she will be better prepared to handle the duties even after passing the examinations.
Salary and Advancement
According to the US bureau of labor statistics, there is a great shortage of CNAs countrywide. CNAs have a median starting salary of slightly higher than $24,000 per annum. Those with at least 3 years’ experience enjoy an average annual salary of $35,000. The highest paid CNAs work for exclusive institutions and private homes and earn up to $90,000 per year.
Given the national shortage of health care workers, the bureau of labor statistics estimates that there is urgent need to increase the numbers of CNAs by at least 20% by the year 2015. The situation is further exacerbated by RNs and LPNs. Moreover, the number of aged people is increasing at a fast rate. This high demand and low supply, will ultimately increase future earnings and salary over a short period of time. Additionally, CNAs with at least 3 years’ experience can easily advance to supervisory and management positions.
A Certified Nursing Assistant assists patients by supporting their medical and health needs. They also promote patient hygiene, safety, and mobility. To become a CNA, you need to have either a high school diploma or a GED. You need to be active and compassionate since you will mostly likely be dealing with ailing people.
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Susan Padmore has been a Certified Nursing Assistant instructor since attaining her Bachelor of Science of nursing degree in 2005. With at least 7 years of active nursing practice as a Registered Nurse, she is familiar with nursing concepts, new trends in nursing, and nursing examinations.
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