Everything You Should Know About Becoming a CNA

A CNA, or certified nursing assistant, is a vital profession in any hospital. CNAs play a significant role in the treatment of patients because of their wide range of duties. Although working as a CNA is frequently regarded as an entry-level occupation, it is an excellent starting point for various healthcare careers. Being a CNA is an excellent place to start your career and can help you in many ways to prepare for work in nursing or healthcare management.

The qualifications for becoming a CNA differ based on where you live, but the main process is the same. Learn about the responsibilities of a CNA, how to become one, and how your experience as a nursing assistant can help you advance into other healthcare careers.

What do Certified Nursing Assistants do?

Students practicing vital signs assessment during Nurse Aide Training.

To provide patients with high-quality care, a CNA works under the direction of nurses. Long hours and numerous responsibilities are part of the work, yet providing daily care for patients is among the best joys a profession may deliver. In addition, the knowledge and abilities you gain as a certified nursing assistant can equip you for a stellar career in the nursing sector.

These are the top five responsibilities a CNA is expected to carry out.

1. Feeding, bathing, and dressing patients

Patients receive basic needs assistance from certified nursing assistants. Typically, this entails assisting them with bathing, dressing, and feeding. These individuals could have suffered from a stroke, residents of senior homes, or people in hospitals recovering from an accident, injury, or surgery.

2. Take the patient’s vital signs

Some CNAs are in charge of taking and documenting the patient’s vital signs, including everything from temperature to blood pressure. Routine activities like these are usually the first stages of a patient’s visit to a doctor’s office or hospital, thus the CNA is responsible for providing a favorable first impression for the medical staff.

3. Serve food, make beds, and maintain a tidy environment

A certified nursing assistant also gives meals to patients, makes beds, and assists in cleaning up rooms in addition to attending to patients’ basic needs.

This can require cleaning the bedpan and changing dirty sheets. It also entails having the chance to routinely engage in one-on-one interactions with patients, the kind of relationships that help people manage their illnesses with dignity.

4. Set up medical supplies and assist with some medical procedures

Storing and arranging medical equipment may entail arranging tools for the next patient checkup or transferring huge medical equipment from one area to another. Many states allow CNAs who have completed the required training to take part in or perform some medical procedures, like blood samples.

5. Monitor changes in a patient’s condition or behavior and respond to calls for assistance.

CNAs observe not just the obvious changes in a patient’s physical health but also the complexities of their emotional state because they work so closely with them daily. That intuition can make a significant difference in how well patients recover from difficult procedures or cope with chronic conditions.

CNAs significantly impact the level of care patients receive, whether they take their blood pressure before the doctor arrives, serve them breakfast in the morning, or simply listen.

As you climb the nursing career ladder, becoming certified as a nurse assistant is a terrific place to start. After receiving your certification, you should take the next step toward becoming a registered nurse by earning your associate’s degree in nursing.

After that, you should become a licensed practical nurse (LPN). From there, you’ll have almost infinite alternatives to think about in advanced clinical nursing and administrative jobs.

Where do certified nursing assistants work?

CPR Training: Students learning how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).

CNAs can be found working in a range of healthcare facilities, such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Rehab facilities
  • Adult daycare facilities
  • Occasionally, clinical facilities

Nursing assistants are frequently required in nursing homes and other adult care institutions. Nursing assistants may occasionally work in clinical settings, but this is uncommon.

CNA training requirements

Due in part to less stringent educational requirements than other medical professions, licensed nursing assistants have relatively fewer healthcare responsibilities.

Because nursing assistants are entry-level employees in a healthcare or hospital facility, their training and certification requirements are less rigorous than those of other medical practitioners, like nurses.

Although state-specific CNA education requirements differ, they frequently include a state-approved training course. This might be provided in a community college, vocational school, high school, or even a hospital.

These CNA classes normally last 4 to 8 weeks and cover patient care, fundamental medical concepts, and critical ethical and moral reasoning. To help students get ready for working with patients in real life, there can be in-person or practical skill components.

CNA certification

Remember, each state’s standards for nursing assistant certification will be different. This frequently comprises a written or oral exam, in addition to a demonstration exam in which students show their competence to do specific activities. This licensing is essential since it will be necessary for students to apply for and get hired for specific employment. Also, this licensing guarantees that you have the expertise to deal with actual patients.

Exam for CNA Certification

Many states need the NNAAP exam, also known as the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program, to grant CNA licenses. Many states require passing this exam, which is divided into a written and oral portion. You may identify the local NNAAP testing site, study materials, and more with the aid of your CNA program.

CNA Career Prospects

While being a CNA is fantastic work, for many, it is a stepping stone to a career in nursing or another area of healthcare. Individuals considering a career in healthcare may begin as CNAs to ensure that they enjoy patient care and learn how to communicate with patients.

Those who begin as CNAs and enjoy working with patients will receive practical knowledge and abilities that will prepare them to become nurses. Working as a CNA allows workers to obtain experience interacting with patients and executing medical procedures.

There are also online nursing schools that can assist existing CNAs study toward their RN license and BSN degree while still working. This can lead to a lucrative nursing career, as well as opportunities in nursing administration and leadership.

In addition, some CNAs could discover that they prefer working in a healthcare environment but dislike providing direct patient care. Finding out if you enjoy working with patients is made easier by becoming a CNA. If you decide it’s not for you, you might be a better fit for a career in health services coordination or health information management.

Working as a CNA might be a terrific way to get started if you’re interested in a career in nursing or healthcare.

Integrity Health and Education Center is a Texas-based corporation that provides CNA Training and other accelerated healthcare education courses. Our school offers online classwork that delivers the core information and abilities that every member of a high-performing team healthcare team requires. 

Call us at (940) 323-1973 to get to know more about our CNA training programs.