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Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

A CNA, or certified nursing assistant, is an entry-level member of a patient medical team, performing critical patient-centered duties under the supervision of a licensed nursing staff. Although CNAs are not nurses, they work closely with nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. A CNA is a healthcare professional who provides personal care to patients in a variety of settings. Thanks to CNAs, each patient can receive the direct and individualized care that maintains the best possible quality of life.

Nursing assistants help provide basic care for people in hospitals, shelters, private homes, long-term care facilities, nursing homes and more. Under the direction of nursing staff, CNAs perform duties such as helping with feeding, bathing, dressing, grooming, or moving patients. They may also change linens, clean treatment areas or transport patients.

These occupations usually require a high school diploma and at least three years of experience in directly related work. Some CNAs begin under an apprenticeship program. Nursing assistants typically complete a state-approved education program and must pass the state competency exam in order to get certified.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for certified nursing assistants (CNAs) is expected to be 9% through 2028, compared to the normal growth rate of 5% for other occupations. As the Baby Boomer generation gets older, the need for more medical services, including assistance with daily activities and round-the-clock care, is going to climb steadily. Opportunities in different settings, such as with home health and private agencies, will expand.

CNA Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is a CNA?
A nursing assistant is any person who performs delegated and assigned tasks on behalf of an RN or licensed practical nurse (LPN) to assist in providing nursing care to the patient. He or she may also be called a patient care assistant or aide.

CNAs are an important part of the healthcare team who work directly with patients and medical professionals, helping with the many physical and complex tasks to ensure patients are well cared for and safe. Checking vital signs, keeping patients clean, and other duties like this are extremely important for patient care and satisfaction.

Most nursing assistant positions involve helping patients with bathing, dressing and getting in and out of bed. Each state will also have its own requirements for CNA certification, so the exact job roles can vary depending on where you live.

What do CNAs do?
The main role of a certified nursing assistant (CNA) is to provide basic care to patients and help them with daily activities they might have trouble doing on their own, such as bathing and getting dressed.

Some of their responsibilities include: turning or moving patients, gathering medical supplies, bathing patients, shaving them and brushing their hair and teeth. CNAs may also clean rooms and bed linens, stock supplies, and manage laundry. They also help with feeding patients and documenting their food intake, as well as checking vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate. They may also answer patient calls, document information, assist with medical procedures, take care of wounds and transport patients.

How long does it take to become a CNA?
To become a CNA takes about three months. However, this can vary depending on your state's requirements.

First, you'll need to complete a training course that usually lasts around 12 weeks. Once you've completed your course, you'll need to pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) exam. Then, it's up to your state to decide if you're ready to become a certified nursing assistant. Some states may require additional training or testing before you can begin working as a CNA.

What's a CNA salary?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2020, the median hourly wage for CNAs was $14.82, up from $14.25 in 2019. The national average annual CNA salary was $30,830, up from $29,640 in 2019, $28,530 in 2018 and $27,510 in 2017.

Is a CNA the same as a nurse?
A CNA is a member of the nursing team who assists nurses with patient care. CNAs are often responsible for basic tasks such as taking vital signs, changing bedsheets and helping patients eat and bathe. They may also be responsible for providing emotional support to patients and their families.

The term “nurse” usually refers to registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs). RNs have completed an accredited nursing program and passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). LPNs have completed an accredited LPN program and passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).

Should I become a CNA before nursing school?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on your specific situation and goals.

If you are interested in becoming a nurse, it’s best to research the various educational pathways available to you and decide which option is best for your individual needs and goals. Each educational pathway has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to do your research before making a decision. If you have any questions, an admissions representative at a nursing school can be a good source of information.

While the CNA position is often considered an entry-level position, it can be a useful stepping stone to other healthcare professions. If you are not sure whether you want to become a nurse, it may be helpful to first become a CNA in order to gain experience in the healthcare field and determine if nursing is the right career for you. Becoming a CNA may help you prepare yourself for nursing or healthcare management work.

What Will You Learn in a CNA Program?
There are many things that you will learn in a CNA program, but some of the most important include how to provide basic care to patients, how to interact with patients and their families, and how to handle medical equipment. You will also learn about the human body and common medical procedures. After completing a CNA program, you will be eligible to take the certification exam and become a certified nurse assistant.

What is the difference between a CNA and a medical assistant?
A CNA is a healthcare worker who assists patients with activities of daily living, provides personal care to patients and performs some nursing tasks under the direct supervision of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse.

A medical assistant is a healthcare worker who performs administrative and clinical tasks to keep the medical office running smoothly. Medical assistants may take patient histories, measure vital signs, and assist with procedures. They may also give injections, dispense medication, and prepare patients for examinations.

What test does a CNA take?
The Certified Nursing Assistant examination is the test individuals take who want to become certified nursing assistants. The test consists of two parts: a written exam and a skills demonstration.
The written exam tests your knowledge of basic nursing concepts, such as infection control, patient rights, and basic medical terminology. The skills demonstration portion of the exam evaluates your ability to perform common tasks that are required of nursing assistants, such as taking vital signs, changing bed sheets, and bathing patients.

In order to pass the exam and be awarded certification, you must achieve a score of at least 70% on both the written portion and the skills demonstration.

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