A C.N.A. or a Certified Nursing Assistant is also known as an Orderly, a Home Health Aide, or a Personal Care Attendant. The terminology used would more or less indicate the work place associated with the job title. A Certified Nursing Assistant usually works in a hospital setting. A Personal Care Attendant could be working in an assisted living facility while a home health aide is directly employed by the patient for home caregiving.
There is a growing need for certified nursing assistants or its equivalent in today’s society. As the first generation baby boomers are in their early retirement years, the elderly population is on the rise. A certified nursing assistant can provide hands on care for those who cannot do so themselves. Basically the job of a certified nursing assistant is to assist registered nurses (RN) by assuming tasks such as: bathing, feeding, grooming, dressing and other mundane tasks for the patient. A C.N.A. does not only take care of the elderly but of children and adults of all ages too.
Becoming a certified nursing assistant is easy enough. All you need is a high school diploma to be able to enroll in C.N.A. classes. Different localities have varying C.N.A. training programs. Most of these training facilities have programs that last anywhere between 6 to 12 weeks. C.N.A. classes include subjects like basic nursing skills, rudiments of anatomy, physiology, nutrition and an overview of communicable disease and how to contain them. Instructions also deal with a general view of mental illnesses and how to deal with them.
Classes are taught by registered nurses. Hands-on experience during clinical activities is expected. There is much to learn that the training period is hectic and fast paced. Most C.N.A. training programs offer certifications that by the end of the training period, a competency test is given by the State. The National Association for Home Care offers home health aides.
The competency test is of two parts: written and clinical. The written exams cover basic caregiving questions that include the subjects taken during the training classes. The second part of the exams deals with performing five nursing duties while being watched and graded by a highly qualified RN sent by the qualifying State. The five nursing duties could be anything. An examinee could be asked to change the beddings of a hospital bed in spite of a “patient” on the bed. An examinee could be asked to weigh a patient or take his blood pressure. The important thing is that a C.N.A. should always prioritize a patient’s need without compromising the patient’s dignity and privacy.
If you think you are cut out for this job, find the right school for your training. You might ask the local Red Cross for C.N.A training classes.