What Is a CNA?
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are healthcare professionals responsible for providing additional help to nursing professionals. Usually working in hospitals or homes, they help patients bathe, move about, and monitor their vitals. If you want to know how to become a CNA, our quick guide may help you with the information you need to decide if this is the career for you.
What Training do I Need?
Students need both training and experience to pursue a career within this field. For starters, you could enroll in vocational training programs in high school, technical colleges, or community colleges. The programs may vary in their duration and curriculum, however, all programs will typically cover the same topics in their coursework. Alternatively, some hospitals also offer on-the-job training for their employees to help them become certified assistants. In return you may have to spend some time working as a nursing assistant at that particular hospital.
In total, most CNA programs require students to complete 75 credit hours in total. Depending on the course you choose, the duration of the program may vary. After completing your training, you will be required to take a licensing exam which consists of a practical and clinical examination module. Both of these will test your aptitude for the nursing field and also test the knowledge you have gained during your training. Once you clear this test, you will be required to obtain the state license. Each state will have their requirements for this exam, but without passing this test you will not be able to legally practice as a nursing assistant.
Some students choose this basic training as a stepping stone to a nursing school. Students who enter a nursing school program will learn more skills, which will allow them to assume greater responsibilities. Additional training is necessary if you are aiming to become a registered nurse. Many institutes offer bridge programs that you can use to supplement your existing knowledge.
What Skills do you Need to be a CNA?
The first and foremost requirement is patience. As a nursing assistant, you will be working long shifts and assisting patients with basic tasks. Having a good stamina is also going to help you get through long shifts. You must also be compassionate in dealing with patients who are elderly or very sick because they require a great deal of care to recover. Lastly, a good nursing assistant must have good observational skills. As a nursing assistant, you are among the primary caregivers to patients. You are responsible for reporting all changes in the patients' health and behavior to the senior nursing staff, which requires you to pay attention to small changes.