A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a medical professional that provides basic nursing services to a wide variety of patients. The majority of certified nursing assistants work in nursing and residential facilities and hospitals. In order to become a certified nursing assistant, you must complete the training from an accredited college or online school. After training, you might be required to complete an exam to be certified. Once certified, you can begin locating jobs in the growing nursing workforce.
Training at CNA Schools
Training programs vary from state to state, but most states require that CNAs complete a basic certification or award course in order to become certified. The training students receive at CNA schools will prepare them to work in a professional medical environment. During the training program students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to deliver high quality nursing services to patients. Some common duties of a certified nursing assistant may include:
- Bathe, dress, and groom patients.
- Transfer patients from bed to wheelchair.
- Measure and record patient vital signs, such as temperature and blood pressure.
- Serve meals and assist patients with eating and drinking.
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Certified Nursing Assistant Exam
Once you have completed the training program from a variety of the CNA schools around the country, you may be required to take a separate exam to become certified. These exams are required for many allied health care occupations, such as gerontology nurse and radiology technician.
Important Qualities of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified nursing assistants are directly responsible for the care of their patients on a daily basis. Being able to maintain professional standards of care and deliver high quality services requires certain qualities. CNA schools will help students develop many professional and personal qualities. Here are some of the important qualities that certified nursing assistants should have:
Compassion. Many patients need nursing services because they are unable to care for themselves. A certified nursing assistant must have the compassion and empathy to understand and care for their patients.
Patience. Most nursing patients do not move at the pace of regular able-bodied people. Also, some patients may get frustrated with their living situation and disabilities. Having the patience to deal with these circumstances is a highly valued quality.
Communication. Certified nursing assistants need to be able to communicate with patients, but also communicate with other professionals about their patients’ concerns and medical condition.
Certified Nursing Assistant Salary
A certified nursing assistant is an entry-level job in the allied health care field. The requirements to become certified are minimal and therefore students can move into the workforce much more quickly. In fact, some CNA schools offer certificate programs that can be completed in one semester. However, because this is an entry level position, and salary is often affected by experience and education, certified nursing assistant salary is lower than some occupations, such as dental hygienist or gerontology nurse. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual certified nursing assistant salary is $24,010, or about $11 per hour. However, salaries may be higher in certain areas. For instance, CNA salary is upwards of $14 per hour in California and $15 per hour in New York.
Certified Nursing Assistant Jobs
The BLS has projected that certified nursing assistant jobs will grow by 20% between 2010 and 2020. This is a growth rate raster than average, resulting in over 300,000 new CNA jobs in the U.S. CNA schools can prepare you to take advantage of this exciting career opportunity. Finding certified nursing assistant jobs is easy. One of the simplest ways to locate jobs in your area is through the large online jobs websites such as Indeed.com or Monster.