If you are considering to become a nurse but not sure if the healthcare career is for you or want to help others but becoming a nurse seems like a big commitment, you should be sure that you don’t waste your money and time for a career that might be wrong for you.
In this case, you may consider becoming a CNA (certified nursing assistant).
So what is the role of a CNA in the healthcare setting?
In the article below, we have gathered some information that can help you figure out if this path is right for you.
What is a CNA?
CNA stands for certified nursing assistant.
This is an entry-level position in the healthcare in which employees provide basic patient care, such as feeding, bathing, and moving patients.
This is an essential role in a healthcare facility that helps ensure it runs smoothly.
CNAs are also known as nursing aides, and it’s important to note that not all of them are certified.
CNA is usually used as an overall term for this position.
The requirements can differ from state to state, so nursing assistants can also be licensed (LNA), registered (RNA), or state-tested and approved (STNA).
What Does a CNA Do?
CNAs provide personal care to patients.
It may seem like not the most glamorous work, but generally working in healthcare is not pretty.
If you can provide the proper care to patients, many of them struggle with basic self-care, you will be well-versed in this job and can make the most of it.
The tasks CNAs perform are not everything there is to patient care.
But CNAs who recognize this can easier learn real skills in nursing, including assessment, planning, implementation, and delegation.
This is a great role to develop your skills and provide the necessary support to both patients and nurses.
You can gain valuable experience in medical technology for taking vital signs, communicating patient needs to nurses, charting, and of course, caring for patients who can’t take care of themselves.
Where Do CNAs Work?
CNAs commonly work in long-term care facilities or nursing homes.
Some challenges in this job include working with elderly patients.
Such conditions as dementia are common for this population as well as overall loss of function, so these patients need assistance and thoughtful care.
If you are considering a nursing career down the road, working as a CNA can be a great way to determine if working with the geriatric population is for you.
CNAs can also work with patients in their homes, usually being employed through a home health agency.
This way they can develop deeper relations with patients as you would work with one patient at a time.
Also, if you want exposure to other professions in healthcare, working in a hospital you can observe the work of nurses and doctors.
However, hospitals usually hire more experienced CNAs, so you can start working in a nursing home or providing personal care and then apply to a position in a hospital.
How Do I Become a Nursing Assistant?
One of the best things about becoming a CNA is that you don’t need a college degree to get into a CNA training program.
Mostly, you only have to be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and pass a few checks and tests.
This is a great option for high school graduates who want to determine if a healthcare career good for them before investing in undergraduate education.
It’s also a great start if you want to build interpersonal skills or gain hands-on life experience.
Despite your reasons, you will have to finish a CNA program and pass the state’s CNA exam.
The requirements are different in every state, but usually, it’s a combination of a written test and skill evaluation.
For example, in Minnesota, students need to pass a multiple-choice exam and demonstrate five skills, which include sanitary practices and catheter care.
What is the Career Outlook & Salary for a CNA?
The employment rates for CNAs are expected to grow by 9% through 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This growth is faster than the national average for all occupations.
Besides the stable job, the BLS reports that the median salary in 2018 was $28,540.
This may not seem like much, but remember that CNA programs can be completed only within a few weeks and can bring you good career clarity and valuable experience in healthcare.
Is CNA Training Right for You?
The CNA job can be a stepping stone to other professions in healthcare.
If you want to work in the field but aren’t ready to commit to long-term education yet, this is a perfect way to get started.
Though the CNA training, you will gain experience and understanding of the healthcare field as well as develop your skills and make a living.
If you are not scared of hard tasks, whether they are messy or personal, and if you can see a person for more than just their needs, you can become an excellent CNA.
All that you need is complete the right program.
Your First Step Into the Nursing World
Now that you know what is a CNA, you have a better understanding of whether this path in healthcare is for you.
This is a great entry-level position to gain experience and understand the field before committing to a long-term educational program.