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Certified Nursing Assistant/Nurse Aide

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA)

When queried about why they became a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), a number of CNAs stated that they wanted to eventually use their roles as CNAs to jumpstart their goal of becoming registered nurses or explore other healthcare opportunities. Still others cited the flexible work schedule, high demand for healthcare professionals, and the renewed sense of self-worth wrought from providing an invaluable service to other human beings, as the determining factors in their decision to become healthcare professionals. Some stress that they became CNAs because of their commitment to advancing the well-being of others, the bond they sometimes experience with their clients and/or families; and lastly, because they feel passionate about providing quality healthcare and equal access to all people.

Important Qualities as a CNA

Compassion—Nursing assistants provide care for the sick, injured, and elderly. Doing so requires a compassionate and empathetic attitude.

Patience—The routine tasks of cleaning, feeding, and bathing patients or residents can be stressful. Certified nursing assistants must be patient to provide quality care.

Speaking skills—Nurse Aides must be able to communicate effectively to address patients’ or residents’ concerns. They also need to relay patients’ statuses to other healthcare workers.

Education and Training

To become a Certified Nursing Assistant, you must complete an approved training program and pass a two-part competency evaluation (written exam and skills test). Once you successfully pass both parts of the evaluation, your name will be placed on the state’s Nurse Aide Registry. When your name is listed on the registry, you are eligible to work as a Certified Nursing Assistant. You must renew your certification every 24 months—be sure to check when your state’s renewal cycles are. Federal OBRA regulations require Nursing Assistants to work a minimum of 8 hours and complete 12 hours of in-service training each 12-month period. There may be additional state requirements for your renewal—make sure you check on what your state’s regulations require.

Job Description

Nursing assistants work as part of a healthcare team under the supervision of licensed practical or vocational nurses, or registered nurses. The majority of CNA’s work in nursing and residential care facilities. Others are employed in hospitals, home care, and hospices. Because nursing homes and hospitals provide care at all hours, nursing aides may need to work nights, weekends, and holidays.

Some of the daily tasks as the role of a CNA include the following:

• Assisting patients with activities of daily living, including bathing, brushing teeth, skin and nail care, getting dressed, toileting and exercising.
• Providing nutritional care and helping people eat and/or drink when necessary. Stay with your client as they eat and observe their ability to process food. Make notes on anything unusual to report to your supervising nurse.
• Record patient’s vital signs. Take their blood pressure, temperature, pulse, and respirations.
• Collect urine and stool samples for lab tests.
• Observe your patient’s physical and emotional behavior and note any significant observations or changes in their behavior.
• Help client’s transfer from their bed into a wheelchair.
• Some states allow nursing assistants to also dispense medication, depending on their level of training.
 

Job Outlook

Employment of nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants is expected to grow by 20 percent from 2010 to 2020. Because of the growing elderly population, many nursing aides will be needed in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. Growth in the demand for healthcare services should lead to increased opportunities for nursing assistants in hospitals and clinics as well. (Source: www.bls.gov)