What is a Certified Nursing Assistant?

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A certified nursing assistant, sometimes referred to as a nurse aide or orderly, is an entry-level nursing classification that provides basic nursing services and care. Most CNAs operate in residential care facilities and nursing homes. However, some certified nursing assistants act as caretakers in a patient’s home. In order to be a certified nursing assistant, you must first attend a training course and then become certified.

How to Be a Certified Nursing Assistant

Unlike other nursing occupations, such as a registered nurse or gerontology nurse, in order to be a certified nursing assistant you don’t require years of education and a degree. Most CNA schools offer training programs that can be completed in one semester, and almost always within one year. Because the duties of a certified nursing assistant aren’t so extensive, a long training or degree program is not necessary. Once training has been completed, a student may be required to take a CNA exam to become certified. After becoming certified, many CNAs are placed on the CNA registry for that state.

Certified Nursing Assistant Duties

A CNA provides the basic level of care to patients. Certified nursing assistant duties do not include nay health care or medical related services. Unlike a registered nurse, CNAs are not licensed to take blood samples, diagnose illnesses, or provide other medical services. A CNA helps patients with their daily activities and assist them to make life easier. Some of the common certified nursing assistant duties may include:

  • Bathing patients.
  • Transporting and transferring patients to wheelchairs.
  • Helping patients eat and drink.
  • Take patient temperature and blood pressure readings.

Certified Nursing Assistant Wages

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for a CNA is $11.50 or about $24,000 a year. Certified nursing assistant wages are often determined by a variety of economic factors. The most important factors that affect wages and salary are location, cost of living, education, and experience. Depending on where you live and work, certified nursing assistant wages may be sufficient income for your financial needs.

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