A certified nursing assistant is a skilled professional who supports the hospital staff, healthcare facilities, doctor’s offices and rehabilitation clinics, in providing basic patient care for patients. Since you work directly with patients, you should learn basic patient care skills. There may be a lot of instances wherein things can get crazy and for someone who has had no prior experience in the healthcare industry or has no proper schooling may find this overwhelming. The job requires ability to carry patients comfortably, patience, people skills and ability to manage cleanup and care of patients who cannot fully care for themselves.
Most nursing assistants, who may also be called healthcare providers, undergo training through programs offered by colleges and universities, medical or technical schools, and through organizations like the Red Cross. The CNA classes include classroom work, skills labs, and clinical experience. The course is an 11- week, daytime course of 200 hours. Training is usually completed within a few weeks to a few months, depending upon the individual program. The CAN classes are normally taught by registered nurses. The tuition fee covers the cost of the course and the books.
Near the end of the course, the students take the State Certification Examination. Most nursing assistant jobs require certification, which may be gained through participating in a class and passing examinations at the end.
The course covers:
- Safe patient care delivery
- CPR and Basic Life Support
- Body mechanics and mobility skills
- Infection control principles and practices
- Age-specific care
- Assistance with daily activities
- Nutrition and Assistance of patients with meeting nutritional needs
- Common health problems and nurse assistant care
- Communication skills
The skill laboratory sessions are very important in establishing and practicing basic patient care. Students practice taking vital signs, taking care of patient’s hygiene and cleanliness and assisting with patient mobility. While the clinical experience lets students interact with patients on nursing units.
The following are minimum requirements for CNA applicants:
- TABE score of 11 or above
- Two (2) copies of a picture ID with signature (driver’s license or State ID card)
- Copy of proof of High School Graduation or equivalency
- 2 written references (one professional & one personal – not from a relative)
Most schools now require CNA applicants to take a TABE test which would determine q person’s skill levels and aptitudes. TABE stands for Test for Adult Basic Education that tests skills and aptitudes in reading, math, and English. It is a diagnostic test that many companies use in hiring, promotions and for selecting employees for training programs for skilled positions.
Of course, a person cannot be a CNA if he/she has been convicted of theft or sexual abuse in a health care setting, or any crime for which one could have received a 3-year sentence.