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CNA Path

What Is a CNA

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is an entry-level health care professional who provides personal basic care to patients, or the injured, infirm and elderly, in hospitals, long-term care centers, private homes and other health care settings. Also known as a State Tested Nurse Aide (STNA), a Patient Care Assistant (PCA) or a Nursing Assistant (NA), the person who carries this title needs strong work ethic and ability to give compassionate care to all types of patients. Nursing assistants typically work under the supervision of a registered nurse or licensed vocational nurse or other licensed health care professional and are an important part of the patient’s healthcare team. The CNA position offers a great way to enter the medical profession. One of the many ways you can get a foot in the door in the health care sector is to work as a nursing assistant. By becoming a certified nursing assistant, you can assist in the healthcare field so you can get a taste of whether nursing assistant is a career you’d like to pursue. This position has a very high rate of turnover as many nursing assistants choose to obtain further education in order to move up into more involved medical careers and earn higher wages. Because of this, demand for CNAs is always high, especially among those institutions that provide continuing care and assisted living for the elderly, and it’s therefore very easy to find a job as a nursing assistant. If you’d like to enter this field, a number of CNA classes are available to help you become a nursing assistant. These courses are typically offered through community colleges, vocational training centers, local healthcare providers, the Red Cross and sometimes even online. Those willing to commit to working at a particular facility may even be able to find free CNA training programs in their area at long-term care facilities as well. There are few prerequisites to enroll in these programs and often students won’t need any previous experience or, in some cases, even a high school diploma.

How to Become A CNA

Becoming a certified nursing assistant or nurse aide requires completion of a certificate program in nursing assistance, which typically includes classroom education and a clinical rotation. Coursework taken as part of a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) or registered nurse (RN) training program may also satisfy certified nurse aide training requirements. Passing a competency exam is needed in order to obtain a CNA license. Many vocational schools and community colleges offer training programs and work closely with their state’s Department of Health to ensure that graduates have met the minimum hourly and education requirements for CNA certification. These training providers generally require applicants to possess a high school diploma or receive qualifying scores on basic math and reading competency tests. Most schools also require prospective nurse aides to acquire First Aid and/or CPR Certification before or during the program. In addition, applicants must meet a number of health requirements, which may include physical exam, TB screening, drug screening and submission of proof of vaccinations. Training programs can last anywhere between 8-10 weeks. Federal laws require training institutions to offer a minimum of 75 hours classroom and practical training. Sixteen of those hours must be allocated for hands-on practice and the remaining 59 hours dedicated to classroom learning. After completion of the training, candidates are eligible to sit for the CNA practice test – which leads to certification.

What Are CNA Duties

Are commonly employed in nursing homes, hospitals, hospice, assisted living, correctional institutions, community based long-term care, and other long-term care settings. So the job duties of a CNA vary depending on the setting he or she chooses to work in. For example, responsibilities of CNAs working in nursing homes are a bit different than those working in public and private hospitals. Nonetheless, CNA job description primarily entails assisting LVNs/LPNs and RNs with the basic care of patients. Since nurse aides have direct, daily contact with patients as they help them with their daily activities, they are responsible for gathering and relaying essential information to physicians or nurses in charge pertaining to such things as changes in patients’ condition and/or behavior. The job requires long hours and many responsibilities, and the workload can become intense and fast-paced. As a result, being in possession of a few key CNA skills can be very handy. Important CNA skills include: strong work ethic, desire to serve the ill, patience, outstanding organizational skills, good communication skills, compassion and empathy. Those who do possess these necessary traits to be a successful CNA often find the nursing field a highly rewarding environment. Certified nursing assistants are responsible for duties such as bathing, dressing, serving meals or feeding patients, and keeping rooms clean and ready for observation. Nurse aides are also trained to measure and record basic signs such as temperature or blood pressure. In addition, these professionals may assist with therapeutic activity such as exercise or providing hair or skin care for bedridden patients. A nursing assistant’s duties don’t typically include the more advanced medical care, but they are often involved in setting up medical equipment and assisting with some medical procedures.

How Much Do CNA Make

Traditionally, certified nursing assistant may not be a high paying position. That being said, there’s no denying the fact that one can make more being a nurse aide than at many other hourly positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the current average CNA salary is $10.67 an hour. Nursing assistants earning the highest salaries typically work in local government medical facilities while those earning the lowest work in community care institutions for the elderly. Those who work as nurse aides in people’s homes earn less, with an average certified nursing assistant salary of $9.34 an hour. In addition, home-based nurse aides are much less likely to get benefits and are often required to pay for their own travel costs – which can put a huge dent in their earnings. Nurse aides working in psychiatric facilities make the most money of all. These types of nurse aides make an average CNA salary of $11.49 with those working in public psychiatric hospitals making as much as $13.30 an hour. The high remuneration is due to the increased amount of stress and potential risk involved. While generally the certified nursing assistant salary may not be huge, working as a nurse aide does have some other benefits besides a steady paycheck as well. Certified nursing assistants in both public and private hospitals receive at least one week of paid vacation, if not more, after just one year of service as well as paid holidays and sick leave (if they need it). To make things even better, overtime pay, medical benefits, and pension plans are also available to many of those who work in hospitals or medical care facilities. Depending on the type of institution you decide to work in, you may enjoy other benefits as well.

What Is the Job Outlook for CNA

Being a nurse aide is a job that comes with many stressful responsibilities and one that people often use as a springboard to attaining other more lucrative nursing positions as they complete additional certifications. Because of this, it’s a profession with a lot of turnover. This, coupled with a growing elderly population and an expanding and understaffed health care sector, make it so that there is always many CNA jobs available at any given time. Because of the never-ending high demand for licensed nurse aides, graduates of training programs and especially those with some experience usually have little trouble finding employment in this field. The BLS estimated that the demand for nursing assistants, attendants and orderlies will increase by 20% during the period 2010-2020. Currently, about 50% of certified nursing assistants work in residential health care situations, like assisted living residences, nursing homes and continuing care retirement communities, while about 30% work in public and private hospitals. According to industry insiders, the biggest increase in the number of CNA jobs in the coming years will be witnessed in the field of home health care, though hospitals and other medical facilities will offer a wide range of employment opportunities as well. However, it’s worth noting that: as with any other field, job opportunities will vary location. It is also good to keep in mind that not every situation will suit every person. So you’ll need to take your time to figure out just where and with whom you want to work. For example, if you’re dedicated to caring for the elderly working in a hospital may not make you feel truly satisfied and happy. With adequate experience, you can gain access to more lucrative job opportunities that can help you further refine your career goals and set you on the path to a happy and rewarding career as a nursing assistant.

Top 10 Nursing Schools in the US

While performing the job duties of a nursing assistant doesn’t really require any special training or experience, becoming a certified nursing assistant does. So if you want to work as a licensed nurse aide in any health care work setting, you’ll have to get the requisite training and obtain certification as per the requirements of both federal and state laws. So what’s the best place to get the necessary training? The answer is simple …in one of the top ten nursing schools in the United States. These schools offer reasonably priced and high-quality training programs that have been designed to make it easy for students to get into this field. The CNA training programs offered by the top nursing schools in the U.S. typically require little to no previous experience and some will not even have a high school diploma as a requirement for admission. Training through these programs can take from a few weeks to a few months depending on the nursing school and the type of training they offer. A number of leading nursing schools offer online courses that not only help CNA students enjoy flexibility and convenience, but also enable aspiring nurse aides to save time and money when it comes to obtaining CNA training and certification. Online CNA schools provide reading material and instructional videos over the internet to help students learn the basics of what it takes to be a nurse aide. These schools usually have contractual affiliated site agreements with local, medical facilities – which provide students with the opportunity for real-life, hands on clinical experiences. With these programs, students are able to get the basic education and hands-on training they need to pass the nursing certification exam at an affordable cost. In some case, these training programs may be offered free of charge if the student is willing to commit to working at the institution after they complete the program. For those individuals who lack the initial funds to take CNA classes, this can be a good compromise to get training and experience for a new career. If you are currently in search for a good CNA training program, here are the top ten nursing schools rankings in the United States. But bear in mind that these are just a few of the options available and doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to decide on either of these. To meet your career goals, you need to find a nursing school that specifically meets your needs.

The top 10 CNA schools:

1. Washington University
2. California University
3. Pennsylvania University
4. Cincinnati University
5. John Hopkins University
6. Michigan University
7. North Carolina University
8. University of Western Governors
9. Illinois University
10. Pittsburgh University

Online CNA Programs

AlabamaHawaiiMassachusettsNew MexicoSouth Dakota
AlaskaIdahoMichiganNew YorkTennessee
ArizonaIllinoisMinnesotaNorth CarolinaTexas
ArkansasIndianaMississippiNorth DakotaUtah
DelawareLouisianaNevadaPennsylvaniaWest Virginia
FloridaMaineNew HampshireRhode IslandWisconsin
GeorgiaMarylandNew JerseySouth CarolinaWyoming

Widely available from vocational training centers, universities, community colleges and other nurse training institutions, online CNA programs prepare students to deliver quality routine health and patient care under the direction of qualified nurses or other medical professionals. These CNA classes online programs are typically a single class in which academic assignments are completed electronically and labs are completed online. Like on-campus programs, online CNA programs focus on providing the knowledge and skills needed to give supervised basic patient care and prepare for state certification exams. They are typically designed to provide quality nurse aide education to those with busy schedules who may need to fit their training into what free time they have rather than try to plan around classes which may not always be convenient. Many states do allow certain portions of CNA training to be taken over the internet; however, the training program must be accredited by the State Board of Nursing. Therefore, the most important consideration to keep in mind when choosing an online nurse aide certification training program is whether or not they’re accredited by your state. The best way to confirm this is to visit your State Board of Nursing website and locate the current list of accredited nursing assistant training programs. The CNA classes online programs will vary in their methods of teaching and the materials that they provide. Some will send DVDs while others will provide a large amount of written material online for you to read and soak in. Either way, as a student in one of these programs you’ll be largely independently responsible for the pace and depth of your studies. If you don’t study well on your own, you may not take away as much of the material as you would in class and this is something you should keep in mind.