What Does It Mean to Be a CNA?
CNA stands for Certified Nurse Assistant. A CNA provides care to patients in a variety of medical situations but always works under a nurse’s supervision. CNAs assist by getting the vital signs and measurements of patients and helping with the tasks they can no longer do alone such as bathing, eating, and getting dressed.
Is Becoming a CNA the Right Decision for You?
Starting as a CNA is a great option for those who are interested in nursing. You can gain experience by working directly in the field and seeing doctors, nurses, and other CNAs in a real-world setting.
You will then be more informed as you decide if moving forward is the best choice for you.
You also have the option of working full-time as a CNA without progressing to another field. The work is physically demanding with little pay, but you will form connections with your coworkers and patients and will have the satisfaction that you are providing care to your patients when they need it the most.
Working as a CNA requires compassion, patience, physical endurance, a tough stomach, and a strong work ethic. This type of work can be physically and mentally exhausting, so understand what you will be getting into and be sure that you have the dedication to give your best to all of your patients no matter how tired or emotionally drained you may feel.
Finding Work As a CNA
A CNA can always find work. The field has a high turnover rate because many new CNAs drop out when they realize that the work is much harder and doesn’t pay as well as they were hoping for.
The high turnover rate ensures that there is almost always a demand, especially in nursing homes since federal law stipulates that nursing homes always have CNAs on staff.
CNAs primarily work in hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities, but they can work anywhere as long as there is a licensed nurse available to supervise and assign duties.
Becoming a CNA: Training and Certification
Becoming a CNA requires an intense process of training and certification. The best places to go to find training classes are nursing homes, the Red Cross, and technical colleges.
Training only last a few weeks, but it’s incredibly intensive. Plan on spending most of your time reading, studying for quizzes, and doing clinicals. Clinical hours are the hours spent visiting the medical setting and putting what you have learned into practice with real patients. Here is a great school: http://tkhci.com
After training, you have to pass your state’s competency exam. The exam consists of a written portion and a clinical portion, so study well what you learned in training and practice on your friends and classmates.
If you fail the first time, you can schedule to re-take the exam. Once you pass both portions, you are certified to work as a CNA.