What is a CNA and How Can You Become One?

what is a CNA
What is a CNA?

Understanding the basics of what is a CNA, can help you decide better if this is the right profession for you. A certified nursing assistant (CNA) has the main responsibility of helping patients with healthcare needs. A CNA is sometimes referred to as a nursing assistant, state tested nurse aide or a patient care assistant.

The CNA’s Role

A CNA should have a strong work ethic. They will be dealing with nurses and patients every day. Their job responsibility varies depending on where they are working. CNAs help coordinate between the patient, the registered nurse (RN) and the licensed practical nurse (LPN). They often serve as the eyes and ears pf RNs and LPNs when it comes to monitoring the patient’s condition.

A nursing assistant cares for the basic needs of patients regardless of age. They can work in various settings such as hospitals, healthcare facilities, clinics and nursing homes. Their daily task includes checking the patient’s vital signs and conditions. They must report back the information to the RN or LPN.

A CNA has a fast-paced daily schedule. It requires long hours at work and has tons of responsibilities. However, a certified nursing assistant has one of the greatest rewards when it comes to job fulfillment. It gives you the opportunity to help other people who are in need of medical attention and cannot care for themselves.

Being compassionate towards other people is one of the values CNAs need to have. Understanding your patient’s situation and having empathy towards them will help you get through the tough days. Having the chance to interact with your patient one-on-one will allow you to have an opportunity to get to know your patient better. This also gives you an advantage when you’re observing your patient’s symptoms and condition.

Becoming a CNA is a great first step towards a thriving career in the nursing industry. If you want to take on a bigger role, later on, and apply in various nursing jobs, you can brush up on your skills and take additional courses. Getting the full picture on what is a CNA can be beneficial before you decide if this is the right job for you.

Job Responsibilities of a CNA 

  1. Attend to the patient’s basic needs. CNAs attend to the daily needs of their patients. This includes the basics such as bathing and dressing the patients as well as feeding them. These type of patients include elderly, young children, patients with injuries or those who are recovering.
  2. Maintain a clean and orderly environment for the patient. In addition to the patient’s basic needs, CNAs should also ensure that the patient’s room is well-maintained. This includes cleaning the room, making the bed, changing the soiled sheets and cleaning the bedpans.
  3. Take the patient’s vital signs. CNAs are responsible for taking, recording and monitoring the patient’s vital signs such as blood pressure and temperature. They also help coordinate the initial steps of a patient makes when visiting a hospital or a doctor’s office.
  4. Observe the patient’s condition. Since CNAs interact and work with patients on a daily basis, they are required to observe the physical and emotional state of a patient. They will then report it back to the attending RN. A CNAs observation is an important role because they can impact the patient’s recovery, especially long-term.
  5. Facilitate the medical equipment and assist in certain medical procedures. One of the duties of a CNA is to set up the medical equipment as needed. In doing so, it may involve moving heavy equipment from different locations. In some states, CNAs who have the required training may assist in certain medical procedures.

CNA Career Path

After you’ve had some idea of what is a CNA, you can now evaluate if this is the right profession for you. If you want to become a CNA, you’ll have to enroll in a CNA program that will take you 6 to 12 weeks to complete. You’ll be required to attend CNA classes as well as apply your manual skills. Try your skills with this safety and emergency procedures test.

There are CNA classes online available and you’ll need a CNA study guide to help you get through your course. Signing up for a nursing school can be your first step to a successful career in the nursing industry.

A nurse salary can be quite competitive if you decide to advance your career as a CNA and become a registered nurse. After becoming certified, the next step is to earn an associate degree in nursing to become a registered nurse. You’ll have many options to consider once you in a nursing career.

Now that you know what is a CNA and the job that comes with it, you can start your journey to becoming a successful certified nursing assistant.

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