The health sector in the US is expanding rapidly. Consequently, numerous opportunities abound for those with skills and interest in working in the health sector. One of those opportunities is the position of the Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA).
The job of a CNA is a vital one in the everyday running of a hospital or other health facility. There is need for anyone interested in the job of a nursing assistant to take on a nursing assistant training course so that he/she can be considered proficient in the job.
A CNA works as an assistant to a registered nurse (RN) in a health facility. They are also referred to as orderlies, nurses’ aides, home health aides, and patient care technicians. The basic care services offered by a CNA include bathing, feeding, grooming, checking a patient’s vital signs, providing information about the patients to the nurses, and helping the nurses with medical tools and equipment. In addition, the CNA is required to provide social and emotional support to the patients.
To be able to carry out all these responsibilities, one is required to have some level of training in order to be considered competent enough to handle the patients. The nursing assistant training equips the aspiring nursing assistant with the requisite skills necessary to perform the job. CNA courses are offered in various institutions including medical and community colleges.
The basic entry requirement for a nursing assistant training course is a high school diploma or completion of the General Education Development (GED) qualification.
A nursing assistant training course takes a period of about 6 to 12 weeks. By the end of the course, the trainee is required to have completed between 100 to 150 hours of both classroom training, as well as the practical bit of it. The CNA training course covers a number of areas, which include learning the responsibilities of a CNA, caring and handling of patients, basic nursing skills, legal and ethical issues, handling and use of various medical equipment, anatomy and physiology, infection control, and bathing methods, nutrition and feeding practices, among others.
The classroom work in the nurse assistant training course is not complete without the hands-on experience. The practical experience allows the CNA trainee to apply what he or she has learnt in the class from the teachers (most of whom are RN’s) and textbooks. At the end of the course, the trainees are required to take a certification exam to determine their competency.
The nurse assistant training exam is usually two-fold: a written paper and a clinical test. The written exam contains questions on topics covered during regular classes. The clinical test, on the other hand, involves carrying out five tasks under the supervision of a highly qualified RN. The tasks include taking a patient’s weight and cleaning of bedpans. The RN supervising the test will be looking out for your hygiene practices, patient courtesy skills, and one’s ability to explain various procedures to the patient before carrying them out. All of these examinable skills prove vital in a real life situation, and they ultimately determine the success of a CNA in this health profession. On completing the nurse assistant training course and passing the state exam, you are now eligible for certification to practice your trade as a CNA. Some training institutions also provide the new CNA an opportunity to work with them. Alternatively, one may seek employment in health facilities or residential home care institutions. A CNA’s job requires lots of patience as it comes with many challenges, ranging from difficulties with patients to understaffing at the workplace. It requires you to be calm even in the most stressful of situations, even when physically or verbally abused by a patient. The job also needs you to have or develop good people skills to be able to get along with others. Teamwork is essential for your own success as well as that of your co-workers.
While the starting salaries may not be much (ranging between $19,925 and $29,964 for entry level CNA’s), the job itself is gratifying when you know you have helped another human being. It is thus worth considering taking a nursing assistant training course today.