A CNA Certified Nursing Assistant works with patients to provide basic care. They provide their patients with not only physical support but emotional and social support as well. Certified Nursing Assistants CNAs work in a variety of medical facilities helping doctors and nurses care for patients.
The healthcare field is full of wonderful opportunities for individuals to provide care for patients. Nursing is one of the fasting growing careers of all industries so there is a great deal of opportunity for those who wish to enter this field. Now there are varieties of options to earn a quality education to become a Nursing Assistant.
Each type of Nursing Assistant has specific responsibilities that are needed when caring for patients. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are one of the amazing individuals that provide specialized nursing care to patients.
This article will provide an in-depth overview of certified nursing assistants. If you want to learn more, make sure to browse our CNA information database.
The History of Certified Nursing Assistant Nursing
Certified Nursing Assistants CNAs provide valuable services to that the nursing community depends on to care for patients. The need for CNAs developed from an enormous need for nursing professionals during World War I. Just as there is a shortage of trained, professional nurses now, there was once a shortage during that time. There were too many patients to care for and not enough nurses during this time. The American Red Cross created the Volunteer Nurses’ Aide Service in response to this vast need for nurses.
These nursing professional were trained before they were allowed to perform their duties. After receiving training, these nursing professionals performed the daily tasks of nurses. Some of the responsibilities that they performed were very tedious. Later, congress passed an act that would make way for these nursing professionals.
The Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA) was created due to the poor quality care of patients in nursing homes around the country. The safety of patients was the driving force behind this act. Due to Medicaid and Medicare requirements, these nursing professionals had to be certified in order for the nursing homes to be certified. Nursing homes wanted well-trained professionals to care for patients.
Boards of nursing control the practice of nursing in individual states. They ensure that these nursing professionals are certified and that they provide reliable, safe nursing care to their patients. They are required to meet strict criteria to hold the designation of Certified Nursing Assistant.
As Certified Nursing Assistants continue to flourish in the nursing industry, organizations such as The National Network of Careers Nursing Assistants celebrate their accomplishments in the nursing industry.
What is a Certified Nursing Assistant?
Certified Nursing Assistants CNAs work with patients to provide basic care. They provide their patients with not only physical support but emotional and social support as well. A CNA works in a variety of medical facilities helping doctors and nurses care for patients. They also serve as a liaison between patients and doctors, providing vital information regarding patient care.
A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is the individual that patients meet at the beginning of their patients care. Medical facilities could not operate without the daily care that these individuals provide. They must not only be skilled in nursing but also compassionate for the needs of their patients. Ill patients may also be stressed so CNAs must help to minimize their suffering. They work under the supervision of doctors and nurses to assist patients with many of their daily living tasks.
- Dressing and undressing
- Running Errands
- Taking Vitals
- Emptying catheter bags
- Ambulatory care
- Changing linens
- Performing housekeeping
- Preparing Beds
- Feeding assistance
- Recording feeding output and input
An enormous portion of what Certified Nursing Assistants do involve following orders from doctors and nurses so they must have the ability to respond to the requests of their supervising medical professionals in a timely manner.
How to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant
Choosing to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) begins with choosing the right place to receive a quality education. Most individuals who want to become CNAs choose to receive their education by earning a certificate in a variety of way. To earn a certificate online, it is necessary to attend a nursing program for 75 – 125 hours. The programs usually last a few months, and students earn their certificate to become a Nursing Assistant. Another educational route is to earn the certificate from the Red Cross. Students who participate in these programs are trained to work with the Red Cross Society. Students can also attend classes on college campuses to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.
Students learn to apply their learning experiences to real world experiences in medical settings. The courses that students take may consist of courses such as nutrition, anatomy, medical calculations, CPR, infection control, medical terminology, legal issue, and First Aid.
Students must choose to attend an accredited program if they wish to receive the credentials of Certified Nursing Assistant. It is a good idea to check with the Board of Nursing for accredited program in the state. They can also provide students with the specific requirements to receive these credentials.
Nursing Assistants are required to earn a certain number of clinical hours during their clinical experiences. Each state has a specific number of hours that each individual must acquire.
Students are required to take a competency test to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. Each state mandates that students take the exam before practicing as a Certified Nursing Assistant. Each state may have additional requirements that students must meet before sitting for the examination. It is necessary to gain permission from the Board of Nursing in the state of practice before taking the examination. Once Nursing Assistants meet the Board of Nursing requirements, they are Certified Nursing Assistants.
What Is the Certified Nursing Assistant Exam?
The Certified Nursing Assistant Exam also goes by other names such as the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) or the Nurse Aide Assessment Examination. This examination is needed to gain employment and listing in the Nurse Aide Registry in specific states. The examination evaluates the skills, knowledge, and abilities to perform nursing duties in a responsible, safe manner. The examination consists of 2 parts: hands-on skills, and an oral or written exam. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing is the organization responsible for developing this exam.
The skills that Nursing Assistants need to know to pass this test include, but do not exclude, the following:
- Recording patient’s respiration
- Assisting with bedpan usage
- Making occupied beds
- Recording and measuring blood pressure
- Performing range of motion exercise with patients
- Washing hands
- Donning sterile gloves
- Giving modified bed baths
- Measuring urinary output
- Counting patient’s respiration
- Dressing patient’s
- Recording and measuring weight
- Transferring patients to wheelchairs
- Providing mouth care
- Providing catheter care for patients
- Positioning patients
- Recording radial pulse
Test takers can choose between taking the oral or written version of the examination. They must also display their competency in 5 areas out of 25 for the hands-on portion of the examination. 5 skills are selected randomly, and test takers are expected to perform the skills that they learned from their Nursing Assistant training. Students are evaluated on their performance by a designated evaluator. They must pass either the oral or written, and hands on portion to pass the exam. Many states require that students retake training courses if they do not pass the exam after 3 attempts. Students should check the requirements with the Board of Nursing in their state for a more defined set of requirements.
How to Pass the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Exam?
Most nursing assistant students use a study guide to help them study for the Certified Nursing Assistant CNA exam. Study guides will help break down the material the student learned in CNA class. It will help the student focus on what material to study and what type of questions will most likely be asked on the exam. Since the CNA exam is ususally two parts, nursing assistant skills and book material, it is imperative the student practices their skills learned in class as well.
A great study guide to help nursing assistants pass the CNA exam is called “CNA Certified Nursing Assistant Exam Cram“. Here is what it looks like:
Another great tool to help students learn nursing assistant skills they will be tested on before the receive their CNA certification, is a Mosby’s Nursing Assistant Video Skills DVD. This DVD contains videos with step-by-step instructions on how to perform CNA skills. It is a great study tool. Here is what it looks like:
Employment Setting for a CNA Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) usually work in several settings, including residential facilities, hospitals, clinics, and private home. Other work environments that Certified Nursing Assistants can work include urgent care centers, staffing agencies, and hospices.
Those who provide private home care usually provide their services because a loved one does not want to disturb the daily living arrangements of a family member who is ill. CNAs offer specialized care by meet the needs of their patients. The Certified Nursing Assistant becomes a trusted friend who works with the patient on a one-on-one basis. Responsibilities of the nursing professional include laundry, cleaning, and cooking along with the other medical responsibilities that they have.
CNAs also work in hospitals and clinics to help patients. Hospitals and clinics can be very busy environments that are very demanding on the nursing professional. Hospitals may have a high turnover rate for patients in some cases. Nursing professionals are responsible for providing care for people of all ages and levels of medical care. CNAs provide their services according to the doctor’s or nurse’s request. CNAs who work in these environments must get used to seeing different people every day.
The residential setting is one of the work environments that provide the greatest number of opportunities for nursing assistants. An increasing number of people are living in retirement homes, assisted living facilities, and centers for those who are developmentally disabled. Certified Nursing Assistants can also work in adult daycare facilities providing medical care. They have the opportunity to get to know the patients well so that they can provide better services to them.
The salaries that Certified Nursing Assistants receive depend greatly on their level of education, experience, work environment, and location. The salaries generally range from $17,790 to $34,580 annually. The median annual salary for CNAs is $25,140. The median hourly rate for CNAs is $8.35 – $14.34.
The hourly salaries for the a few of the industries with the most opportunities include nursing homes – $8.53 to $13.78, home health care – $8.19 to $14.41, healthcare – $8.58 to $14.43, hospitals $8.87 to $14.95, and long-term care – $8.52 to $13.80.
The hourly salaries for Certified Nursing Assistants are as follows: associate’s degree – $8.71 to $14.80, bachelor’s degree $8.40 to $14.49, GED $8.20 to $14.60, high school diploma – $8.14 to $14.92, and nursing certificate – $8.06 to $13.45.
The top paying Certified Nursing Assistant positions are in the following states: Hawaii, Nevada, Alaska, and Connecticut. The lowest paying positions for CNAs are in the following states: South Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, and Oklahoma. The greatest opportunities for CNAs are in the following states: Alabama, New York, Arizona, New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Michigan, Nevada, Indiana, Georgia, Kansas, and Maryland.
CNA Certified Nursing Assistant Job Outlook
The outlook for Certified Nursing Assistants is excellent. The profession is expected to grown faster than the average of other occupations. An 18 increase in this area of nursing is expected until the year 2018. The increase in jobs is due to the increasing number of elderly people in the world today. These individuals will need long-term care as they get older and Certified Nursing Assistants are just the professionals to help them with their needs. Growth in job opportunities in community care facilities, residential care facilities, and nursing care facilities will grow faster than in hospitals.
The advancements in modern medical technology will also create the need for more Certified Nursing Assistants. New medical advancements help patients to live longer so they need medical professionals to provide long-term care for them.
Being a Certified Nursing Assistant comes with a great deal of physical demands and opportunities for advancement. Many CNAs choose to work for medical facilities and work on the side providing in home care for ill patients as a way to increase their income potential. More opportunities become available as Certified Nursing Assistants increase their education level and experience as Nursing Assistants. Many CNAs choose to further their education to earn higher education degrees to increase their salaries and job responsibilities.
The healthcare field has an enormous number of opportunities for those who want to work in the nursing industry. Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant provides the opportunity to help patients in need. This entry-level position in the nursing field allows CNAs a chance to work directly with patients to care for their emotional and medical-related needs.
Certified Nursing Assistants are usually the first person that patients see when they enter a medical facility. CNAs must have great rapport with their patients to help them handle the stress related to their medical issues. CNAs have many job responsibilities that begin and end with their patients. As one of the fastest growing careers in the healthcare industry, Certified Nursing Assistant positions are a great way to enter the nursing field.