CNA stands for Certified Nursing Assistant. She is a part of the medical team that provides primary care to patients, families and clients. A CNA is a nurse’s assistant; she is not a registered nurse. She will only be able to operate under the supervision of a licensed nurse or head nurse.
The typical duties of a nurse include providing care for her patients. She collects patients’ vital signs, assists patients in having their meals, taking their medications, dressing wounds, collecting medical specimens for laboratory purposes, assisting patients in ambulation, pre and post-operative care and serving patients and families in communities or in a company setting. The nurse needs the help of a certified nursing assistant to finish all her duties. In a hospital setting where nurses are assigned to more than one or two patients at a time, she may not be able to fully provide the best quality nursing care for all her clients. This is where a CNA helps a licensed nurse.
Job description of a CNA
A CNA’s job description may depend on where she works. It could be helping the elderly in a nursing home, assisting nurses with patients in a doctor’s office, taking care of patients in a dialysis clinic or helping patients in a community. Regardless of the setting, a CNA always works under the direct supervision of a licensed nurse.
- She may take patients’ vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, respiration, cardiac rate and intake/output in a shift)
- She may help arrange a patient’s bed and room
- She helps in feeding a patient and makes sure that the patient follows his required diet
- She assists patients in ambulation
- She accompanies patients to testing areas or to the laboratory for blood works, X-rays, scans and so on
- She reminds patients to take their medication and assists in treatments given by doctors and specialists
A CNA may also work as a freelancer. She may be hired to work in patient’s homes, in home for the elderly and in taking care of young children. She is hired based on a doctor or specialist’s recommendation.
CNA training is needed before she is able to work or to help clients as a freelance worker. Usually, certified nursing assistants are schooled for two years but there are programs that are offered for a year or maybe even less. Training includes learning all about the human body, an overview of the different illnesses, the most common medical and surgical procedures, nursing techniques, establishing rapport and trust with patients and so much more. On the job training is done before a certified nursing assistant gets his diploma. After she completes her training, she must secure certification through passing a test.
A certified nursing assistant may work locally or abroad. There are a lot of work opportunities with varying ranges of compensation and benefits. A CNA may continue studying and become a registered nurse or work as a trainer or educator. There are many programs available for certified nursing assistants online, from universities and colleges.
CNA training is a challenging and comprehensive course. It will challenge aspiring nursing assistants physically, mentally and psychologically since the program prepares students for the following:
- To exhibit the skills that is necessary to be able to care for patients. This includes patients with different kinds of illnesses and medical conditions. Nursing assistants must have the right set of skills to take care of a particular medical condition and it is not merely taking care of patients but also taking care of them with the highest quality.
- To have the most updated knowledge in the care of patients and to carry out the orders of her supervisor. With the right set of knowledge a CNA will be able to make the right decisions in taking care of clients. It is a given that nursing assistants should work closely and follow the orders of registered nurses but still they have to make their own decisions despite this.
- To be able to have the right set of attitudes to take care of patients and to become a wining part of the medical team. She must learn how to be compassionate, attentive to her patient’s needs and to be cooperative in working towards the patient’s health.
CNA is short for Certified Nursing Assistant. This career involves helping registered nurses with their duties. Anyone that would like to become a certified nursing assistant is required to undergo training which usually lasts anywhere from as short as a year to two years. Training is done either in a classroom setting or in an online course.
Training usually involves studying various subjects related to nursing. CNAs learn about the human body, common illnesses, how to care for patients in different age groups and illnesses and so many more. Training is very comprehensive pertaining to the needs of CNAs and after the program; an on-the-job training will be done. After passing all the requirements of the course, the student has to undergo certification. CNA certification is a written test that a student has to pass to be able to practice his profession. Certification is asked in all hospitals, medical centers, clinics, schools, business establishments and private patients in the state.
Certification requirements vary from state to state. If you plan to take up a certified nursing assistant course you should start checking on certification requirements in your area. If you think that you do not need to be certified to become a nursing assistant then you are making a big mistake. Nursing assistants need certification because of the following reasons:
- Certification is needed in every profession especially in careers hat deal with direct contact with clients or patients. Being certified means that you provide quality nursing care and that you have underwent specialized training before handling patients.
- Certification is conforming to state or country’s regulation for providing high quality nursing care for patients. Patients or clients are more confident in the hands of a certified health care personnel while doctors, nurses and other members of the health team are also confident in working with a certified partner.
- Certification is a nursing assistant’s passport to a securing a higher position in the place where one is working. CNA certification is your step towards a managerial position once you have gained enough on-the-job training, experience and have attended programs for CNAs. Should you want to become a nurse, a certification will help you be absorbed in the program right away.
- Certification will give you the confidence in dealing with patients, working with members of the medical team and in working with families and with different clients. You will be able to provide the best medical care when you know you have the knowledge and skills in dealing with your clients no matter what illness or medical condition they may have.
- Certification will enable you to become a member of a certified nursing group in your area. A group or association dedicated to improving the knowledge and skills of nurses and nursing assistants will empower their members to become responsible and efficient members of the health team. Therefore you must learn about nursing assistant certification requirements beforehand and to prepare for passing the certification exam the best way you can.
Being a certified nursing assistant means that you have passed the requirements of your country or your state and this would mean a huge deal when you are applying for work abroad. International companies, hospitals and medical institutions all prefer certified employees. Non-certified personnel needs further training, more time to adjust to the workplace and may need a manager to directly report to which is an additional workload for the company management.
If you have plans to work internationally you will find that certification will open your doors to new work opportunities and travel opportunities too. There is so much to learn and to see when you work abroad. However most employers abroad require work experience as a primary requirement for their applicants. With certification you will be able to provide high quality work, have rich job experience and work closely with patients and other members of the health team with ease. And having a good working relationship with everyone in the company especially the client is a plus for your application anywhere.
If you are an aspiring nurse assistant then aside from training and education you should keep in mind certification requirements even before you take a certification exam.