A CNA (Certified Nurse Aide), or a nursing assistant is a caregiver for people who need help with everyday tasks. A CNA may take vital signs, help clothe, bathe or assist the patient in other needed ways. This position is very important in any health care facility and typically spends more time with a patient than any of the RN’s (Registered Nurse) or doctors.
To become a CNA requires completing a program that typically takes about 2 years to complete. CNA programs can be found online or in person at many colleges and universities. Traditional CNA certification programs include theory that is taught in the classroom, and clinical practice that will offer hands-on experience. Students will learn basics in caring for various ages, communication skills, hygiene for patients, feeding and caring, health issues and basic care and life support. Online programs allow students to study theory on their own time, and to gain hands-on experience in a health care facility of their choice; often a nursing home, school laboratory or a hospital. The CNA must work under an official registered nurse and they must work with real patients.
Most employers will require CNA certification for the state that employment is sought in. Each state has their own certification laws and requirements and a graduate from a CNA program needs to have their name entered on the state’s Nurse Aide Registry. This list simply keeps track of any person that is qualified to work under the official title of Certified Nurse Aide. The requirements for this include a state test with both a written and hands-on examination.
Some students can find nursing homes or health care facilities that are willing to train the person for free, on condition that they work at that facility for a set amount of time. This can be a win-win for both parties involved. Most programs and training options do not require a high school diploma or a GED. As long as the candidate can communicate well, do basic math, and has basic reading and writing skills, they can be accepted into a CNA program.
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