Work in the medical sector isn’t limited to jobs of doctors and nurses as several assistants always accompany the operations and facilities to coordinate all the tasks. If you are interested in patient care and assistance over surgeries, a certified nursing assistant is a post for you. Check ahead all the details to become one successfully.
What is a CNA – Certified Nursing Assistant?
Among all the professions related to personal assistance and nursing care, CNA or certified nursing assistant is the primary job post with a licence. These healthcare workers aren’t patient monitoring nurses or personal healthcare assistants but accompany the registered nurses to help them take care of the recovering patients.
How to become a CNA?
Aspirants have to follow the following steps:
- Complete high school education (passing grade 12th) or obtain General Educational Development (GED) test score.
- Apply for the CNA certification exam and join training courses. Courses are available in offline medical and nursing colleges or remote online programs. Their duration ranges from 3 to 6 months.
- Appear and clear the CNA certification exam. The exam includes a written exam with 90 questions and a practical session to test clinical skills. The candidates should secure around 70% and above to qualify.
- After obtaining the certificate, they can register in the online Nursing Assistant Registry or Nursing Aide Registry to obtain the licence. The licences stay active for two years, after which CNAs can renew them or upgrade with more skills.
- They can apply for medical practice directly in hospital vacancies or through reliable job hunting platforms like Care Assistant.
What do CNAs do?
As the name suggests, a certified nursing assistant isn’t a registered nurse or a legal nurse consultant but someone who assists them. CNAs perform all the personal assisting duties to help the patients with various tasks but don’t suggest and administer medication without a doctor’s or nurse’s supervision. In short, they take care of the recovering patients by becoming active limbs.
Skills and duties
As CNAs assist the nurses, they learn all about caring and nursing tasks in their academic courses and internships. Even if they aren’t trained in medication administration and treatment skills, they can easily pick up the skills after the practical experience with the nurses.
Apart from certification knowledge, their skills include:
- Impeccable communication skills to understand patients of every age and gender.
- Social skills to extend help for any need without negligence or hatred. They should be dedicated to the patients’ well-being.
- Jovial personality skills to be rigid support to the patients. They should be healthy, vigilant, and hygienic enough to assure the patients a great recovery.
Their clinical duties include:
- They assist all the patients in performing daily chores like eating, changing dresses, going on a stroll, and bathing.
- They monitor the patient’s vitals and raise alarms in emergencies when the concerned nurses aren’t around.
- They maintain the place clean and hygiene by regularly changing the sheets, curtains, water supply and cleaning the room for a sanitised environment.
- If the patients are bed-ridden, CNAs constantly stay with them to attend to their calls and satisfy their needs. It includes feeding, changing clothes, and setting up their beds.
- If the patient requires constant medical attention that includes changing bandages, motoring health vitals, replacing saline bottles, or injecting IV medicines, the CNAs are often appointed to help out if practical nurses aren’t available.
- They can often assist the doctors and nurses in attending to remote patients. They help with wound cleaning and dressing or assist doctors in executing first aid.
What is the difference between nursing and medical assistant?
Unlike CNAs who work under nurses to support the patients, medical assistants support the hospital and doctors. Instead of helping patients with their chores, they schedule appointments, set up the operation theatres and laboratories for operations, maintain patients’ recovery records, update the patients about their treatment, and provide medicines or emergency requirements like oxygen and saline supply.
A registered medical assistant also needs to be technically sound for managing timely reports, informing about the tests or medication prescribed, and keeping the lab equipment functioning without any fail. Compared to them, CNAs need to have social and communicative skills to support the patients physically throughout their recovery.
What’s the difference between CNA and LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)?
As CNAs help in daily care and performing different tasks, LPNs help in health monitoring and recovery. Both assistants work under registered nurses but have a difference in their skills and work.
LPNs or Licensed Vocational Nurses have medical knowledge and can administer drugs, medicines, and emergency injections when required. They also take record vitals, obtain blood or urine samples for testing and suggest changes in their patients’ routines for a progressive recovery. Thus, LPNs have more training and higher responsibilities compared to CNAs.
How much do CNAs make?
According to the latest survey of United States nursing assistants, the CNAs’ annual salary is around $36,000. However, they can earn extra in established medical facilities or overtime work.