CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants) work in nursing homes, hospitals, and assisted living centers throughout the country. They play a vital role in patient care and assist in activities such as grooming, bathing, feeding, dressing, monitoring vital signs, and more.
What Job Duties Are Involved in Being a CNA?
CNAS work under the supervision of a nurse to assist patients with tasks of daily living. Your specific responsibilities will vary based upon the facility you work in and the time of your shift.
For example, a CNA working the night shift will answer call lights, assist patients in getting ready for bed, help patients use the restroom, restock linen cabinets, prep for the next day, take vital signs, empty catheters, ensure the safety of patients, and any other tasks necessary.
Day shift CNAs perform similar tasks as well as washing, dressing, and feeding. All shifts are required to maintain charts, keep patients safe, answer call lights, and support patients.
The median annual salary for CNAs is around $25,090.
What Education is Necessary to Become a CNA?
To become a CNA, you will first need a high school diploma or GED. Next, it is necessary to complete an accredited CNA course – usually offered at community colleges or medical facilities. These programs can be completed in a short period, usually within 6 to 12 weeks.
They involve a mix of classroom and clinical experience. Classroom instruction generally involves studies in:
- Basic patient care skills
- Infection-prevention measures
- Hands on clinical experience
- Privacy laws
Upon completing the coursework and program, you will be required to pass a state exam to become licensed as a CNA. This exam tests your patient care skills (transfering a patient, feeding, bathing, dressing, etc.) and knowledge in areas such as patient rights, ethical behavior, and other topics.
Benefits of Being a CNA
Working as a CNA is a fulfilling job that allows you to form relationships with your patients and help people on a daily basis. Also, each day is different than the last. This keeps the job exciting and keeps you on your toes.
Downfalls of Being a CNA
Being a CNA requires close contact with patients that can lead to strong emotional bonds. This can make it difficult when a patient passes away or faces an illness.
In addition to the emotional demands, working as a CNA requires significant physical demands as well. The job requires heavy lifting that places strain on the back and also involves a lot of standing and general physical activity. CNAs are also extremely busy – this can be good since the time passes by quickly but it can make it difficult to address all of the necessary tasks throughout your shift.
To be a great CNA, you should be compassionate, good with people, able to cope with stress, good at problem-solving, excellent at multi-tasking, empathetic, have a positive attitude, and enjoy the medical field. Additionally, you should be in good physical shape to meet the necessary demands of the job.