The recent economic crisis may have got you thinking that your career is under serious jeopardy and that maybe switching to a more stable job will be the key to your success. If you had been planning to get a foothold into the healthcare industry, then becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant or CNA may be one of your options.
A CNA is known by many other titles, depending on the place where you intend to work. In the United States, they may also be called as a Nursing Assistant-Registered (NA/R), a State-Tested Nurse Aid (STNA) or a Patient Care Assistant (PCA). The basic role of the CNA is to do routine tasks in place of the LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) or RN (Registered Nurse). This is to help them do the tasks that only they can perform, such as administering medication, formulating care plans, assisting surgery room preparation and nursing assessments.
The CNA’s basic duties are to assist the patients with regard to their personal and room hygiene, exercise, feeding, checking of vital signs, as well as preparation and transport of patients to treatment, surgery or examination rooms. If there are any significant changes in the vital signs of a patient, the CNA should report this to the attending nurse of doctor immediately. In an emergency situation, the attending CNA should be able to administer CPR or to initiate a Code Blue, to alert medical staff for assistance.
To become a CNA, one must first undergo formal training by taking CNA classes. Ask your local hospitals or nursing homes if they offer any courses, or search the internet for ones you can take online. In case you prefer to take online courses, it is best to go with one that gives hands-on training during internships.
CNA classes will take you roughly 140 hours, but you must also need to go through an internship before you are eligible to take a certification exam. Some nursing homes and hospitals will offer free training for aspiring CNA’s. This is good if you are on a tight budget, as you get to work and train at the same time, but this also means that you will have to stay with the hospital for a period of time after you get certified.
Although you may be able to work as a nursing aid without certification, there are certain tasks that you will not be allowed to do due to issues on legality or liability. It is therefore recommended that you take the CNA exam to get certified and be able to make most out of your potentially good career in healthcare.