Certified Nursing Assistant, Nurse Assistant, CNA or NA are all terms you will see that refer to those who have taken a state test, passed and now have a license through their state to assist patients with activities of daily living (ADL's) Nursing Assistants will help patients with dressing, eating, bathing, walking, or any other task that a patient might need help with.
You can find CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants) in every area of healthcare: hospitals, nursing homes, assistant living facilities, doctor's offices, labs and more.
This is a great time to take advantage of the explosion in demand for Healthcare and Nursing professionals. These positions are offering great wages and excellent benefits. The U.S. Department of Labor expects the demand for C.N.A (Certified Nursing Assistant) professionals to double in the next 5 years.
CNAs and Certified Nursing Assistants are the primary care givers of patients in hospitals, assistant living facilities and nursing homes. They are with their patients through out the day helping with any request the patient may have in dressing, bathing, grooming, toiling, hygiene, walking and eating.
CNAs and Certified Nursing Assistants have more contact with the patient then any of the other healthcare providers in a facility. Your job is vitally important to the ongoing health of the patient. It is the Certified Nursing Assistant that knows from day to day, hour to hour what their patients are doing, how they are feeling and if there is ANY change in their physical, mental or emotional state. ANY changes in a patient should be reported to the charge nurse and that is a vital part of the nursing assistants job.
TRAINING TO BECOME A CNA OR CERTIFIED NURSING ASSISTANT
Each state has their own Board of Nursing or Health and Services Agency. It is these agencies that sets the standards and requirements for becoming a nursing assistant in their state. Typically there are a number of school hours that must be completed. These classroom hours usually consist of reviewing chapters in an approved textbook, practicing skills that an NA must know to help their patients, and clinical hours. Clinical hours are time spent under the supervision of the instructor in a facility or hospital caring for patients
When deciding where to take your CNA or certified nursing assistant training program it is best to call (or go online) the Board of Nursing and ask them for a list of all the APPROVED training programs in your area. If you take the course from an agency that is not approved buy your state's licensing regulatory agency then you will not be eligible to take the nursing assistant state test to become licensed or certified to work as a nurse aide in your state.
Be very careful about taking the course online. In many states, if you do not have clinical hours (hands on patient care supervised by an approved nurse aide instructor) you will not be able to take the state test.
After completing your state CNA or certified nursing assistant training program and taking a state qualifying test and passing the test you will then be able to work as a nurse aide in your state. If you move to another state you should call the Board of Nursing in that state and tell them that you ARE licensed or certified in another state. Ask them what you need to do to become licensed or certified in their state. In many states you will just have to fill out some paperwork to become licensed or certified in that state.
You owe it to yourself and your family to take on the challenge, educate yourself and be able to compete in the new economy. C.N.As and certified nursing assistants are and will be in the future in high demand.