A certified nursing assistant is trained to care for patients and carry out basic medical care but under the supervision of a licensed medical professional. They cannot work independently but have to work with a registered nurse or RN, a licensed practical nurse or a LPN or a medical physician in clinics, nursing homes, private homes and hospitals. However, the CNA may also be assigned a range of jobs like administrative jobs, record keeping and coordinating with the laboratory to collect and file reports for review.
What is the role of a certified nurse assistant?
Most jobs for a certified nurse assistant will be assigned by a medical professional or a licensed nurse and they will have to work under their supervision. However, trained certified nurse assistants are allowed to work in hospitals, nurses, Private clinics, homes and nursing homes to assist nurses and doctors in their patient care procedures.
They have to carry out basic procedures like providing medication for patients, bathing them, getting them in and out of bed, help bedridden patients through their day to day life, carrying out basic hygiene procedures, and feeding and exercising them if required.
They may also be supposed to take patients to their medical appointments, laboratory appointments, help them through the procedure and then clean up their rooms.
Also, they are supposed to record medical signs and vitals and assist the nurse by informing them about any changes in the patient’s condition.
What are the educational requirements for CNAs?
Students have many options by which they can become certified nurse assistants. They will complete their high school education and then apply to vocational colleges or community colleges which offer the course.
It is also advisable to take on additional biology, chemistry and health classes to learn more about the profession and to provide a background in medicine and human anatomy. Students can also work as volunteers in hospitals where they can work on the job and learn about the CNA profession.
A few hospitals do have courses where you will be taught the job for free. For example, you can try calling up local hospitals and HR departments and inquire about free training courses for CNAs. At present, most hospitals have a serious shortage of trained certified nurse assistants and they are more than willing to hire inexperienced but interested candidates and help them in their studies.
You might have to sign a work contract with the hospital though so that is can recover its training fees. The International Red Cross also offers a course for free that you can enroll yourself in. However, this course is offered in a few limited areas.
If you want an accredited course, there are more than 50 accredited courses that are offered in the US that you can choose from. Before you enroll, make sure that the course is accredited and approved in the US by the National League for Nursing Accredited Commission or the NLNAC.
The course will usually be for 12-18 weeks or it may involve 75-150 hours of clinical and theoretical training. After completing the course, the student has to apply for certification exam that is conducted by the state. The exam and certification cost about $75 and it has to be renewed every year.
After completing the course, the students may continue his education to get additional degrees like a Certified Medication Assistant where they are allowed to dispense and provide medications to patients.
Job Outlook for a certified nurse assistant
The job outlook for certified nursing assistants is very good. According to the current labor statistics, there is a severe shortage of trained CNAs in hospitals and nursing homes. By the next ten years, there is going to be a 10%-45% hike in demand for trained CNAs. Salary prospects are also very good as trained CNAs were paid about $11.50 per hour in 2008. As the current population ages, there is going to be an even higher demand for trained CNAs in affluent retirement areas like California, Texas and Florida which will pay an even higher than normal basic salary.