Certified Nursing Assistants are para-professionals in the healthcare industry that perform nursing care to both acute and chronically ill individuals. They work closely with their patients to assist in the daily living skills. These assistants can be found in hospitals, adult day care centers, assisted living facilities, hospitals and homes. Any time there is a specific need for personal care, a Certified Nursing Assistant can provide most of the basic needs for their young or older patient.
The Nursing Hierarchy
A Certified Nursing Assistant works under the guidance and supervision of a registered nurse. They typically have extensive daily contact with each of their patients, to provide care to the sick and disabled person. To achieve a certificate as a nursing assistant you typically need to be a high school graduate that can present a diploma or a GED as proof of its completion. Some schools require only a TABE (Test for Adult Basic Education) examination for admittance into their program curriculum.
Roles and Responsibilities
CNA classes are designed to teach all of the duties and responsibilities required of a nurse’s assistant. The classes will help you receive your certification, which is the proof that you have the capable training necessary to perform the duties expected of the nurse’s aide in any hospital. The certificate builds your image with the patients in your care, along with your supervisors and the doctors treating your patients. These certification programs are ideally suited for community and home health care, and help you exceed in your profession as a nurse.
The length of time it takes to become a Certified Nursing Assistant varies between states and schools. On average, the entire program takes approximately 100 hours long with minimum requirements in Utah at 80 hours, and 150 hours in California. As dictated by federal guidelines, at least 16 of those hours will be on discussions of communication and interpersonal skills, emergency and safety procedures, infection control, respect for patient’s rights and promoting patient independence.
Structuring Your CNA Classes
The variety of information you will achieve in your CNA class will include basic anatomy and physiology, along with general science. You will learn basic healthcare methods, first aid techniques and principles for ambulatory movement. The courses are based on basic healthcare theories, skills and principles. You will study developing skills, interpersonal skills and nursing ethics, and will come to understand medical terminology, nursing ethics and disease control.
Health and Fitness
Part of your duties as a Certified Nursing Assistant is to deal with your patient’s health and fitness. Many of those you care for me have experienced a heart attack, stroke, orthostatic hypotension, bold fractures, pneumonia or other debilitating condition. In addition to experiencing many of the side effects of growing older, your patient may be express continuous degrading dementia. As a CNA you will need to assist your patient in a variety of physical care including assisting them with bathing, dressing and grooming, making sure they are getting all their nutrition and hydration, along with monitoring their bowel and bladder outputs.
When caring for the elderly or infirmed, it is important to continually monitor infection control. Many patients require special needs from their CNA in dealing with a variety of infectious diseases from MRSA, Tuberculosis, C-Diff and others. By using proven methods of cleaning procedures including hand washing and bathing, you can keep your patient, yourself and others protected from a further spread of the infection.
Basic Life Support Training
As a member of the medical team, you are always responsible to perform basic life support procedures for emergency situations. You will learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), the Heimlich Procedure (to stop choking) and other life-saving methods.
Accredited CNA Schools
Now that you have made a decision to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, the next step is to find an accredited CNA school that provides a quality program curriculum. All accredited CNA schools have been proven to follow strict guidelines of federal standards and provide the highest quality of education. Men and women that have earned their certification from an accredited school will command a higher salary throughout their entire career.
A nursing assistant taking the exam to become certified will first be required to take a written test followed by the performance of a hands-on test in front of an instructor. Generally, the written portion of the examination is centered on approximately 70 questions (multiple choices). The hands-on portion of the test is a specific skill performance examination, where you will be evaluated on what you have learned. Some of these performance skills might include procedures on patient transfers, measuring urine output, taking vital signs and methods of washing hands.
Furthering Your Education
Many Certified Nursing Assistants further their education by becoming a Certified Patient Care Technician. As a patient care technician, you can record vital signs, weight, height, input output, along with recording and reporting on the patient’s condition and treatment. You can also collect blood and urine specimens and help the patient with their nutritional needs including different levels of feeding assistance, if necessary. Additionally other CNA’s advance their education to become LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurse) or, LVNs (Licensed Vocational Nurse), and earn an Associate’s Degree or even an RN (Registered Nurse) Degree.
If you enjoy your work as a CNA, consider an online MSN nursing program to further your healthcare career.
With your education you will come to know exactly how to correctly assess your patients in their mobility abilities including turn and positioning procedures, range of motion exercises, assistance with ambulation and transferring the patient to and from the wheelchair.
With the successful completion of your training in your CNA classes, you will become an official Certified Nursing Assistant. As this entry point, you will have become a significant member of the health profession, and now possess the required qualities of compassion, kindness, patience, friendship and care necessary to perform your job. Your certification will open doors in the health industry. Many hospitals, doctor offices, adult care centers, nursing homes and home healthcare companies will be eager to hire you for your abilities, interpersonal communication skills and practical knowledge.