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How to Be a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Should I Be a CNA?

If you want to be a nursing assistant, you should be helpful and have compassion towards people. While it is not a very easy job, there are many rewards to it. There are many times when Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are bogged down with workload and tired with the hectic pace of their work. When encountering problematic situations, nursing assistants who are able to manage best their stress levels are those who have the real compassion for their patients who they look after. On the other hand, nursing assistants who perceive their jobs as merely those that pay the bills are typically unsuccessful and are most likely to think that they have taken the wrong career path. Being patient is critical for the job, as well as being self-confident and mature. Having great social and interpersonal skills with a focus on being a team player are particularly important characteristics for those in the health profession.

How can I get a CNA Certification?

Each state is different in terms of the length of time needed for your testing and training. Every state also considers the type of environment you would like to work in. For further information about the specifics, please contact your State Licensing Board and/or your State Nurse Aide Registry. You should remember though that when you research your area, nurses with CNA Certification are known by several names such as Nurse Aides, Nursing Assistants, Home Health Aides, Patient Care Technicians, Orderlies, etc. This depends on the place where you live and work. Remember also that if a health care facility hires you, you must be ready to allow them to do a background criminal check as well as a drug test. This is actually a new requirement.

Nevertheless, no matter where you live, you will be trained. Usually, healthcare facilities, especially in the local areas, such as nursing homes, will advertise free classes or will even pay you as you learn the ropes. These types of classes are given to those without any previous healthcare experience and can go from as short as 2 weeks to as long as 6 weeks, full-time. You should be aware that these kinds of facilities need you to work for a set amount of time. In return for their training and sometimes even payment for the state test, these types of facilities will need you to work at their facility for a period of time. One other alternative for training is for you to go to CNA Certification training classes at a local community college or become trained at the Red Cross. These training classes usually go longer—up to 6 months—and can cost between USD 300 to USD 600. The main advantage is that your training becomes more extensive. It was noticed that nurses with CNA Certification are more often than not more confident when they have felt they have prepared and trained more. Many nurses with CNAs find that they quickly understand what is needed of them through on the job training. While this is true for many jobs out there, this is especially true for the health care sector.

After you train, you will need to take a state test for CNA Certification. This is typically accomplished at a particular date and at a particular place that has been prepared by your trainer. Some areas will give you permission to work once you have completed your CNA training within three to four months after your classes, even without your CNA Certification. Comprising the test is a written portion and a clinical portion. The written portion is based on common sense fundamentals. In this case, reviewing your handouts and class notes is recommended for you.

What do I need to know about practice tests?

Many nurses with CNA Certification have stated that it is the clinical portion of the test they find the most challenging because they are oftentimes nervous. The state examiners of course expect that you will be nervous. They will nonetheless be concentrating more on your basic care-giving expertise. During the practical portion of the test, you will have to show the different nursing assistant skills. In this instance, you should know the safety measures like utilizing a gait belt with transfers, locking a wheelchair, and raising bed rails when finishing patient care. In all these examples (and any other for that matter), you should always put into first priority, the dignity and privacy of a patient at all times. First, knock on the door before you enter, close the privacy curtains, and cover patients as much as you can when you provide them the best care. Second, always introduce yourself, refer to your patient using their first name in a professional way, and inform them of each step of your care before you proceed. Make sure you put on gloves before doing any kind of care that would need them, especially when you are handling bodily fluids. Keep in mind that when they ask you to show a skill, first demonstrate proper hand washing before you show the health care professional skill they have requested of you.

How do I know if a place is a good place to work for me?

Through word of mouth, you may be able to figure out if a facility or agency is a good place to work for you. Speak directly to other fellow nurses with CNA Certification. Another way to go about it is to talk with the families whose relatives are in these facilities or agencies. You can even visit the facility itself and speak with the staff about what the pros and cons are about their current workplace. Know more about the orientation process you will be attending, as well as the current nursing supervision and in-services that are included. What is also significant is for you to have a level of positive respect towards nurses with CNA Certification from whatever facility or agency they may come from.

CNAs Are A Hot Commodity!

Certainly, becoming a nursing assistant is not for everyone. More recently, many health care facilities have experienced many challenges in finding, hiring, and keeping qualified staff. The country has been experiencing a crisis in the direct care-giving arena, with a deficit in nurses with CNA Certification ranking as one of the top reasons for the said crisis. The salaries are usually not reflective of the challenging nature of the work usually performed by these nursing assistants. More often than not, short staffing is worsened by the fact that some CNAs become frustrated with their workload. This has factored into the very fast turnover rate. The caregiver shortage along with the increasing long-run health care demands of the elderly population is the reason why many have seen nurses with CNA Certification as a hot commodity and thus, the many, many job opportunities. If you want to be a CNA, do not be embarrassed or be ashamed of it. On the flip side, you should always keep in mind that you are a well-respected and important professional member of a health team that gives crucial care to those in need.

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