A career in the nursing field can start at the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) level, offering a student an opportunity to provide needed services or to advance to higher level that require more skills. A CNA, sometimes called a nursing aide or hospital attendant, cares for general patients of all ages or specializes in working with elderly people.
Many job openings are available in nursing homes, hospitals and long-term care facilities. Supervision is usually given by a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN). The jobs that a CNA performs usually require the services of a person who has compassion and a caring attitude toward the infirm. Numerous tasks are necessary, including bathing and dressing patients, changing linens, serving meals, and helping with personal hygiene. Other assignments are to feed patients who cannot feed themselves, offer assistance in walking, taking temperature readings and many more.
In addition to wanting to help others and having a caring attitude, a person entering the nursing field as a CNA may need to lift weights of as much as 50 pounds. A high school diploma or a GED is required by schools that are certified by the State of New York. Once enrolled, a student may expect to learn about nutrition, communication, body mechanics, physiology and anatomy, infection control and how to help patients perform basic functions that require assistance.
State-approved courses are offered at several schools in the Rochester area, including the programs at Finger Lakes Community College Shore Winds campus and the Finger Lakes Community College Rural Metro site. These courses offer both classroom and clinical training in the care of patients. Some classes teach patient safety, infection control, nutrition and diet therapy, pre- and post-operative care, circulation, respiration and many other important areas of study.
The colleges require a person to have reached the 16th birthday, work well with others and have immunization records that are up to date. The programs are open to students who are patient and tactful, dependable and intent on helping other people. Tuition at Finger Lakes is less than $1900, and it includes fees, textbooks, a set of scrubs to wear, the exam fee charged by the state and other items. Some financial assistance is available for eligible students.
The Rochester Educational Opportunity Center (REOC) program prepares a student to take the Nurse Aide Certification Examination. Instruction includes laboratory practice of skills acquired in the classroom. Theory and practical instruction add to the knowledge that is required to successfully complete the examination. Students who earn a CNA can work in a hospital setting, providing vital aid to nurses and doctors as well as patients. The direct delivery of care is a prime objective for a CNA, and the role offers the opportunity to provide the most direct care for patients.
Students are required to show proof of residency in New York for a year and meet other entry standards as well. There is no tuition at the Center, and the Admissions Department can provide additional information on request.
In nearby Geneva, the Marion S. Whelan School of Practical Nursing offers a program that combines clinical experience with classroom instruction. The philosophy at the school promotes the concept of offering care that is both holistic and relationship based. Students learn personal care skills that assist residents in meeting nutritional needs and performing daily activities. Special emphasis is placed on learning to assist the elderly, a group that tends to exhibit the effects of the aging process. Students who succeed in studing for the CNA and work for Finger Lakes Health can do so at the Geneva location for free.
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