- February 2013
- Posted By ThomBastian
- 0 Comments
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of nursing aides, orderlies and attendants is expected to grow an astonishing 20 percent by the time 2020 rolls around. This is significantly higher than the national average for other occupations, and makes now a better time than ever to consider a lucrative career in the health care sector. For anyone looking for the ideal entry point to their vocation, you would be amiss not to consider the CNA designation.
So what is a CNA exactly?
In a nutshell, a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA as they’re referred to, is responsible for general patient treatment procedures under the supervision of a Licensed Practical Nurse or Registered Nurse. Because nursing assistants directly interact with patients, having a designation such as the CNA is crucial. It ensures that patients receive high quality care from individuals that have achieved a certain standard of competency.
Sometimes also referred to as a home health aide or patient care assistant, a CNA is qualified to perform inside of a variety of settings, ranging from hospitals and nursing homes to assisted living facilities and personal residences. Demanding yet rewarding, the Certified Nursing Assistant job is an excellent springboard to advanced careers in the health field.
The CNA and nursing sector
Because many CNAs eventually move on to more advanced careers in health care, such as becoming RNs or LPNs themselves, many clinics and hospitals experience high CNA turnover rates. This just means that the demand for newly qualified nursing assistants is almost constant, and the job opportunities abound. Registered Nurses and nursing aides both are subjected to very much the same stresses in their day-to-day duties. Therefore, it’s important that prospective nursing assistants learn how to develop strong work ethics right from the beginning of the CNA training period.
Duties and Responsibilities
On the subject of role, it’s important to note that the duties of a CNA differ from that of orderlies and medical aides. Orderlies are responsible for managing equipment servicing, wheelchair issuance and other technical day to day operations. Medical aides work directly under the doctor; however unlike CNAs, they don’t require any kind of formal certification.
The standard accountabilities of a CNA include the following:
- Vital sign taking - Vital sign taking and observation are standard practices which are required to obtain a comprehensive patient evaluation. Vital indicators would be the body temperature, respiratory rate, pulse rate and blood pressure level.
- Patient turning and repositioning – In order to prevent bed sores amongst bed-ridden and post-operative patients, nursing assistants are tasked to reposition the affected person every couple hours. Health and safety of both the patient and CNA is a first concern subsequently basic fundamentals in proper body position needs to be practiced. A nursing assistant can be assigned by their managing LPN or RN to undertake general bedside care. CNA-to-patient interaction and communication is oftentimes a sensitive process, so discretion and confidentiality are key.
- Helping maintain hygiene – To make sure of the patient’s well-being, nursing aides additionally aid in looking after cleanliness regularly. Ranging from shampooing to basic oral care, nursing aides are responsible for keeping the patients clean and restful.
Education and Certification
CNA training programs are constantly expanding in most US states as baby-boomers continue to age. Depending on where you’re located, a State Licensing Board generally calls for a prospective CNA to pass a certification exam. The certification only comes after one effectively completes the CNA training necessary by law. Training periods can range quite a bit depending on the state where you intend to work, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the programs offered in your area.
About the Author: Thom Bastian is a leading writer and publisher of CNA and nursing education content. For more information on the CNA program, including specific CNA schools as well as free CNA classes offered in your area, visit www.cnatrainingchannel.com.