Certified Nurse’s Aides (CNA) also referred to as Certified Nursing Assistants are members of the healthcare industry who are responsible for providing general patient care. A CNA’s duties include taking care of patient’s personal hygiene, monitoring vital signs, feeding patients, and reporting health issues and patient’s concerns to the supervising nurse among many others. If you are eying a career as a CNA, the following guidelines are worth taking into account.
- Determine your state requirements. Contact your State Nurse Aide Registry and/or State Registry Board for specific details on requirements applicable in your state. Understand that apart from the type of setting you would like to work in, prerequisites and regulations on practicing a career as a certified nurse’s assistant may vary significantly by state.
- Obtain a CNA training program. Visit or check agency websites that provide CNA training programs. The official site of the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants provides a list of agencies by state for your easy reference. You may also find programs from healthcare facilities especially nursing homes. Take note that the minimum amount of time required for nursing assistant programs may vary depending on the school or facility providing the training.
- Take the certification exam. The CNA certification exam is comprised of written and clinical tests that assess knowledge and skills mandatory to practicing a nursing assistant’s job. The program is developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. You will have to pass both written and clinical components of the exam in order to be eligible for certification and listed on the Nurse Aide Registry. You may then apply for an entry-level nurse aide position although some institutions that provide CNA training may allow you to work with them up to at least three months or so after you have completed the program minus the certification. Should you fail the CNA test, you are allowed to retake the exam only three times within two years your CNA training has been completed otherwise retraining is mandatory.
- Pursue continuing education. Depending on what is applicable in your state, you must complete a set number of hours of continuing education every two years to maintain your certification. Doing so will also provide you opportunities to advance your position and keep you updated with all the developments in your chosen career.
With the growing needs of the elderly population and the scarcity of caregivers nowadays, the demand for CNAs is unsurprisingly on the rise. However, it is not a career you can simply opt to pursue because the demand is expected to continually grow in the coming years. Being a part of the health care industry makes you a valuable professional not because of your training or your certification but because of your service to people. It is not an easy job but if you have compassion and desire to help patients, it can be very rewarding.