Nursing assistants play a vital role in the care of residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They are essential providers. They help patients with the activities of daily living. As well as support nurses by taking vital signs and giving medications. Being a CNA is a challenging but rewarding job. It’s also a great way to embark on a medical career. What does being a certified nursing assistant involve? What are their responsibilities? How do you become one?
What You Do as a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants take on a multitude of tasks on a daily basis. While some of the job is routine, no two days are ever alike. The main responsibility of a CNA is to care for patients and help them to do things they can’t do on their own. You will need a certain amount of strength as you’ll often be working with people who may be frail or ill.
Working with RNs and LPNs
Most times, a CNA works under a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). It’s important for you to have great communication skills. This is because you will be acting as the go-between for the nurse and the patient. You’ll be asked to perform daily tasks such as bathing patients to keep them clean and comfortable, helping them eat and drink, and making sure their rooms stay clean and sanitary. You’ll be asked to assist patients in and out of bed and help them to change positions.
It is also the job of nursing assistants to support the nurse in the medical care of a patient. You may answer call buttons and fulfill personal patient requests as they come. As well as take and record patients’ vital signs such as temperature and blood pressure. Nursing assistants become very close to the patients in their community. That’s why they are often the ones who notice health changes first. It’s important for them to be able to convey these changes to the nurses so that appropriate measures can be taken.
Nursing assistants are in charge of a lot of things, but there are tasks that they are not allowed to perform. For example, while they are allowed to administer medications, they are not qualified to give intramuscular shots or IV injections. They also don’t work with open wounds, insert catheters or administer tube feedings. These are procedures that only nurses have the training and skills to complete.
What is the difference between a PCA and a CNA?
A Patient Care Assistant’s primary job is to be a caregiver to a patient, whereas a CNA is a ground-floor healthcare worker. You do not need to become certified to be a PCA, but a CNA must have certification status before embarking on a career. PCAs work with patients to make sure they eat, keep good hygiene, and work on mobility needs such as pushing a wheelchair. Nursing Assistants have more training and are therefore expected to take care of the medical needs. Both careers are worthwhile jobs that are important within the patient community.
How Do You Become a CNA, and Where Can You Work?
Whether you are interested in getting in on the ground floor of a nursing career or just think getting a job as a CNA is something you want to do, getting started is easy. If you have a high school diploma or a GED, you can enroll in a state-approved CNA program. The length of the program will vary depending on your state’s requirements, but most education programs take anywhere from 4-12 weeks to complete. Your training and education will include courses in health, science, and hygiene; as well as building skills in the field. Once you are certified, you can search for a job at almost any health facility, including hospitals and nursing homes. Salaries vary depending on employers and location, but you can expect to make a salary anywhere between $20,000 – $45,000 per year.
Start Your Career as a CNA
The need for CNAs on a national level is expected to increase due to the aging population in the country. If you are a compassionate person who loves to work with people, becoming a certified nursing assistant may be the perfect career for you.
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