What is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

So you met someone with the job, or are looking into careers and wondering what is a Certified Nursing Assistant?  A Certified Nursing Assistant, also know as a CNA has many jobs within the healthcare sector.  To sum it up in one simple sentence they help patients perform daily tasks, care for their basic needs, monitor their condition, and assist the Registered Nurse (RN).

What are some examples of tasks a CNA may perform?

While a CNA has so many tasks we can’t possibly list them all, here are a few common ones to give you an idea of their daily role.

  • assisting patients in eating, bathing, grooming and dressing
  • taking and recording vital signs
  • observing patients and reporting any changes to the RN
  • wound care and prevention
  • assisting in moving or positioning patients
  • assisting with activities, outings, and medical procedures
  • keeping the patients living area tidy
  • changing bedding

While not necessarily being an official part of the job CNA’s often get to know their patients well and end up being a strong part of their emotional support system while in their care.

What Skills are required?

  • the ability to lift and ambulate patients (strength & stamina)
  • patience
  • strong communication skills and the desire to understand patient needs
  • a strong attention to detail in observing small changes

many basic medical and cleaning tasks

The above list is just a start, the skills used by a CNA on a daily basis are unlimited.

What eduction is required?

This will vary depending on where you live, however, it is common for a high school diploma to be required, along with some relatively short additional training specifically for a CNA.  CNA programs can be found in several places, including colleges, medical facilities, and online education programs.  Additionally, CNA’s are required to obtain, and keep up to date their first aid and CPR.

It is generally mandatory that CNA’s complete an additional 48hours of continuing education every two years.  The healthcare sector is always changing and improving so it is important to keep up to date on the newest protocols!

A final competency exam is required before beginning work.  There are several study guides and practice tests available online.  A great place to start would be cna.plus for the 2018 practice exam.

What type of employment is available?

While there are various sources of employment for CNA’s the most common are in residential or longterm care facilities and medical facilities such as hospitals.  Where you work will depend on several factors including whether you chose to specialize in a specific area/age group or not.

CNA positions can be salaried with benefits such as paid vacation and holidays, medical insurance, and a 401(k), or paid hourly with flexible shift times and the potential to pick up extra shifts for additional money.  CNAs are very in demand so it is a career that will likely have a lot of job opportunities and stability in the future regardless of economic changes.

For more information check out the websites below

CNA PLUS – what is a CNA

Nurse.Org

EveryNurse.Org

Nursing Assistant Guides

All Allied Health Schools

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