Over recent years, hospitals have been experiencing shortages in the number of operating licensed nurses. The reason for this is that medical cases have been on a sharp rise. This is in sharp contrast to the number of licensed nurses being absorbed into health facilities. As such, the workload on licensed nurses is too high and this can lead to inefficient medical service delivery.
These conditions have led to increased demand for certified nursing assistants (CNA). As the name suggests, CNAs work under the supervision of licensed nurses performing basic nursing duties. The demand for certified nursing assistants is on the rise not only in hospitals but also in private residences and nursing homes. This is a rewarding career and can be used as a stepping stone towards a nursing career. If you want to become a certified nursing assistant, here are the aspects that your career entails.
Certified Nursing Assistant Job Responsibilities
Certified nursing assistants work involves performing basic nursing activities. They can work in hospitals, nursing homes, retirement homes or even private residences. The job involves performing the following tasks. As a CNA you will be observing the patient and reporting any health conditions observed to the supervising nurse. You will also be charged with feeding, bathing, dressing, turning bedridden patients and helping the patient move to different locations. Another responsibility is checking and recording vitals such as temperature and blood pressure. Other duties you will be expected to perform include making the patient’s bed and ensuring the patient’s surroundings are kept clean and tidy. These are the basic duties you will be expected to perform. However, other duties might be assigned by the supervising nurse.
Certified Nursing Assistant Training and Education Requirements
A certified nursing assistant training course shouldn’t take you more than 1 year to complete. Depending on your chosen mode of study and the scope of the course, it will take you anything between 3 weeks and 9 months to complete the course. The scope of the course is determined by the state in which you wish to practice in. Each state has its own training and testing requirements for CNAs.
CNA training is offered in hospitals, colleges and online. Online courses offer a flexible study timetable and you can study at your own pace. One thing though that you must consider when applying for online courses is the practical skills acquisition. Ensure to check if the course provider also offers this since practical skills are an important part in CNA training. Before enrolling for the course, you also need to ensure that the institution offering the training is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accredited Commission. Note that this commission doesn’t endorse any institution as their preferred training institution. Also, studying in a non accredited institution will mean a waste of your time and money.
The training involves both theory and practical sessions. At the end of the course, you will sit for a final exam and receive your credits. On passing, you can either apply for a nursing assistant’s job or apply for certification.
The educational requirements for application are either a GED or high school diploma. You don’t have to be in a medical field to apply for training. If you want to become a licensed nurse but still not sure if putting in the time for a nursing degree or don’t have the qualifications, CNA certification is a great place to start.
Once you have completed the training and passed the final exam, you can apply for state certification. In some states, this isn’t mandatory but it is a great way to get employment. Many institutions won’t hire non certified CNAs. Prior to state certification, you will have to take and pass another set of tests to determine of you are qualified to work in the particular state.
Certified Nursing Assistant Salaries and Wages
As a certified nursing assistant, you will earn and hourly rate of between $7 and $15. This rate depends mainly on the institution and of course, if you are certified. Many CNAs work two shifts (each averaging 7 hours with 1 hour breaks) to increase their earnings. Given the fact that demand for certified nursing assistants is on the rise, you are assured of a decent salary in this career.
Certified Nursing Assistants Professional Associations
In order to link up with other certified nursing assistants, you should join professional associations. One professional association dedicated to CNAs is the national association of health care assistants. You can also join state based certified nursing assistant associations.