Have heard the term “certified nursing assistant”, but you really don’t know what is a CNA? This is an extremely rewarding position that is very much in demand and should remain so in the near future. A certified nursing assistant is an entry-level healthcare provider who gives personal care to the injured, infirmed and elderly. In this article we will be discussing what a CNA is, what they do, and what you need to know.
The CNA nurse position is great for getting a foot in the door in the healthcare industry. By starting your career as a CNA, you can gain experience in healthcare, get a taste for whether nursing is a field you’d like to pursue, and make a living in the process.
This position has a high-turnover rate because many CNAs choose to obtain further education in order to move up the nursing hierarchy and earn higher wages. Some people also choose to pursue nurse assisting work as a long-term career. Due to the high turnover rate, there are typically many CNA jobs available at any given time.
What is a CNA? – A Closer Look
The following is a quick overview of what nursing aides do. If you are looking for a more detailed CNA job description, please go to our article on this subject specifically which can be found here.
- The CNA assists patients or clients with their healthcare needs, and works in a wide variety of settings. Some work in hospitals, while others work as in-home aides for patients in hospice care, at assisted living facilities, in nursing homes, or at adult daycare facilities.
- All nurse aides work under the supervision of a Registered Nurseor a Licensed Practical Nurse.
- They operate as a liaison between groups of patients, and a smaller group of RNs or LPNs who serve those patients, carrying crucial information about the patients’ condition, needs, and wants.
- Due to the amount of patient information that they handle, nursing assistants are crucial to the record-keeping process of the medical facility.
- CNAs tend to a patient’s basic quality-of-life needs, assisting the elderly or disabled with asks of daily living, and watching over anesthetized or recovering patients to ensure their safety.
- They administer medication and other treatments to patients under the direction of an RN or LPN, and also change bandages and wound dressings.
- CNAs are responsible for keeping patients’ rooms or living quarters clean and sanitary.
You may still be asking, “What’s a CNA, and why should I become one?” Though the tasks involved may seem tough, they provide the backbone of the healthcare industry, and CNAs can take comfort in knowing that they ease the pain of patients, help them recover, and make them as comfortable as possible during what can be a trying time.
What Qualities Define a CNA?
There are a few key personality traits that experienced nursing professionals say define a successful CNA.
- The first is a strong work ethic, as nurse aides are often stretched quite thin, reporting to their supervisors on a large number of patients, while also tending to the patients’ quality-of-life needs. They are also often required to work long hours, and, in some cases, to be on call at any time of day or night. Though these may seem like daunting tasks, the rewards of a career in nursing are immense for those who truly love the job.
- The next key trait is patience, which goes along with the first. When dealing with information regarding a large number of people, tending to people who are elderly or disabled, and reporting to a variety of superiors, the Certified Nursing Assistant must have the patience to handle all of their human interactions with tact and care.
- The last keys, compassion and empathy, are vital in any position in the healthcare field. To be a truly successful healthcare professional, you have to truly care about the people you are serving.
Those who do possess the necessary qualities to be successful working as a CNA will find the nursing field a highly rewarding environment. They get to actively help patients recover from injuries and illness, and improve quality of life for people who are truly in need of a helpful, caring hand.
How Do You Become a Nursing Assistant?
There are several steps you need to complete in order to become certified as a nursing assistant. These steps are detailed more so in this article, but below is a quick breakdown.
- The first step to working as a CNA is to complete an accredited training program, which can be completed in as little as six weeks. One of the top accrediting bodies in the country is the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
- You can find classes at many of the community colleges or vocational schools around the country. There are also some fantastic online courses are widely available for those with too busy a schedule to attend in-school classes. There are also “free” programs offered by the American Red Cross.
- After the completion of your training, you must take and pass a CNA exam, which consists of both theoretical and practical examinations. One of the more common tests is the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP). To take the test, you must register in advance.
Once you complete your training and pass the exam, you will be licensed and ready to pursue a fulfilling career as a Certified Nursing Assistant.
So, in conclusion, “What is a CNA?” A CNA is someone who is compassionate, caring, hard-working, and eager to assist patients. If that sounds like you, it’s time for you to look into a career in the nursing industry.