Becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA)

There are many reasons why a career in health care can be an attractive prospective. Whether you have a natural instinct for taking care of other people, or are looking for an interesting career that provides great opportunities, nursing is an excellent option to pursue. Before taking your first steps in order to become a Certified Nurse Assistant, however, it is important that you learn more about the training that will lead to your CNA certification, as well as what you can expect as a part of your daily duties once you are employed as a Certified Nurse Assistant.

Working in the world of health care can be, in turn, challenging, rewarding, exciting and frustrating. Many people are drawn to a career in health care because of the daily interactions they will have with the patients for whom they care. Those patients rely upon the knowledge and skillful actions of their health care professionals in order to enhance their quality of life while providing measures of relief for whatever medical problem they are facing. Although there are many happy outcomes in the field of health care, there are also times when patients are lost. It can often be difficult to balance maintaining positive relationships with patients while remaining detached from sad occurrences in order to stay focused. Certified Nurse Assistants will deal with this challenge on a daily basis.

Certified Nurse Assistant Training

Certified Nurse Assistants must train to meet certain federal and state health regulations before they can enter into their newly chosen profession. On the federal level, Certified Nurse Assistants are governed by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation act of 1987. Each state in the United States has additional regulations that further refine the national standard as well. At a minimum, training to become a CNA requires at least 75 hours of instruction time that is split between classroom learning and clinical hands-on experiential learning. There are many topics that you will cover during your Certified Nurse Assistant training.

When you first begin your Certified Nurse Assistant training, some of the important topics that will be covered are learning what patient care involves and really understanding the patients you will care for as a CNA. Certified Nurse Assistants are involved in the day to day care of many patients, and learning to recognize what those patients are going through, often in long-term health care settings, will help you to become successful in you profession. Additional training will help you to learn more about anatomy and physiology as it pertains to the care you will administer to your patients.

Compassion cannot be taught, it is a quality you must already have when you become a Certified Nurse Assistant. What you can learn through this training however, is how to best care for individuals who may be difficult to understand or who may not be appreciative of your care. Many people who are terminally ill or require constant nursing care will express their fears and frustrations in ways that seem mean or grouchy. While training to become a CNA, you will learn techniques to deal with this type of behavior while continuing to deliver the highest quality of care.

During your Certified Nurse Assistant training, you will also learn the ins and outs of working in various health care settings. Often, you will have a set number of hours where you will receive hands on training in a certain facility. So many functions go into a patient’s daily care and by experiencing the wide variety of activities to expect, you will become more knowledgeable about what will be expected of you later on.

Certified Nurse Assistant programs will also help you to understand certain common ailments or occurrences you will regularly encounter once you have entered your profession. It is through this understanding that you will be able to provide the highest quality of care possible on a day to day basis later on.

Certified Nurse Assistant Duties

The daily duties of a Certified Nurse Assistant can be drastically different from day to day. One of the largest factors that will determine what you average day is like will be the type of setting in which you work. Within a hospital setting, your pace of work will often be more frantic, as the needs of your patients will be more urgent. You will see different patients on a day to day basis and likely not work with the same patients for any great length of time.

Within a nursing home setting, the pace of your work will likely be less frantic. The residents of your facility will likely remain fairly stable, allowing you to form long term relationships with those people for whom you provide care. Patients in a nursing facility often require the same types of care day in and day out, allowing you to be able to predict how your time will be used on a regular basis. Within a nursing facility, you will often also get to know the families of the patients for whom you are providing care. This can help you to better understand not only your patients but also the ways in which you can go over and beyond your typical duties to provide an extra level of care and compassion.

Certified Nurse Assistants can also work in home health settings. In this type of position, you would travel to the homes of your patients on a set basis, whether daily or several times per week. Being invited into someone’s home adds an entirely different dimension to the care you will provide as you will be able to see your patient outside of a purely clinical setting. It will be your responsibility to not only respect your patient’s surroundings but also to ensure that the care you provide is appropriate for the setting you are in. As a Certified Nurse Assistant, you will also need to be watchful of any factors within a patient’s home environment that may affect their ongoing care.

Becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant can be both challenging and rewarding. With valuable training and hands-on experience, you will find that you’ve entered a profession that will affect you profoundly for a lifetime!

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