You may have heard the term and might even be interested in becoming one but are still left wondering, what is a CNA? This is an abbreviation for a certified nursing assistant who is hands on with patients and residents as a caregiver. As a vast portion of the population ages this field offers a great deal of job security and is an ideal way to begin in the medical field. Training options are available with courses that take as little as two weeks or up to six months. Federal and state laws apply to certification and testing and the classes will thoroughly prepare students with everything they need to pass exams and go into their career.
What is required to become a CNA?
What is required to become a CNA and why are common questions when considering this career. Federal regulations require that a student is 16 or older in order to become a nursing assistant. A background check is performed and the student must not have committed a crime which is related to the practice. The English language must be fully understood and spoken by the applicant or in the event that another language is used by most of the residents they must understand the one at the facility. The number of hours provided with the training as well as the test must meet the guidelines set forth by the issuing state.
After taking the training and passing the CNA exam the student will be expected to perform the duties they have just learned. A typical morning with a single patient may include, measuring urine output, and helping the resident to dress, use the toilet and brush their teeth. Often they will then be transferred to the dining area in a manner which corresponds with their ability to walk. Some will require the use of a lift to transfer to a wheelchair while others are able to transfer or possibly walk using their own mobility. The nursing assistant may use this time to straighten or change bedding and then go to help the next resident with the same duties. After the resident has finished eating they will return to the room and may settle into a chair or back into their beds. Different schedules and needs for each resident exist and may include baths, physical therapy, hair cuts or possibly socializing and games.
What is the roll of a CNA within the healthcare community? While they may perform the most menial of tasks at times, being a nursing assistant is a very rewarding job in many ways. They are on the low end of the payscale as far as healthcare providers go, however many opportunities to advance exist, such as becoming a med aide. Being able to provide physical comfort and care to the residents and helping them cope with tasks throughout the day provides a deep sense of satisfaction.