How To Become A Certified Nursing Assistant

how to become a certified nursing assistant

If you are interested in having a career in healthcare, one of your best options is to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). It’ll give you the opportunity to help heal and improve lives. And if you are thinking of getting into nursing school, it can give you a great head start, too.

But, how do you become a CNA?

Below are some of the things you need to consider before you can work as one.

Know if you fit

certified nursing assistant job
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To be a successful CNA, you need to possess the following skills:

Have excellent verbal and written communication. Communicating effectively with your patients and their relatives is really important in promoting their well-being. Great communication skills are also necessary to make sure you can question, report, and document everything to doctors, nurses, and other staff.

See Also: Don’t Say That, Say This: 7 Examples Of Better Bedside Manners For Nurses

Ability to follow protocols and rules. Each patient requires a plan of care and being able to stick to that plan is extremely necessary. Failure to follow those protocols can compromise the patients’ well-being and safety.

Excellent time management. In most cases, you’ll have to work with limited supervision. Because of that, it’s essential that you know how to properly manage your time and prioritize tasks. You should also be on time in submitting reports and filing paperwork.

Complete the required education program

The first thing you need to possess before you can begin your CNA training is to possess a high school diploma. This can vary depending on the area you are in so be sure to verify the requirements first.

There are a lot of institutions that offer CNA programs. This includes community colleges, online training programs, local health care providers, the America Red Cross and vocational schools.

The programs typically last anywhere from 4 to 16 weeks. When you compare it with other healthcare training, it’s a lot more affordable and reasonable. On average a CNA program can cost about $1,200.

Pass the examination

After completing the program, you need to pass a state-specific exam before you can become certified. You have the option to work without certification while you’re waiting to undergo the exam. Take note that you’ll only be allowed to do that up to four months and you have 24 months after schooling to take the exam.

The test includes clinical and written components. For the written part, you’ll need to answer 60 multiple-choice questions within 90 minutes. The clinical portion, on the other hand, consists of practical exams that will assess your competency. This includes providing indirect care, hand-washing, and five more tasks.

You can take the exam up to 3 times. If you’re lucky to pass, you’ll be certified immediately. You’ll receive the hard copy of your certificates in about 2 to 3 weeks. Remember to renew your certificate every 2 years.

Get the job

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As a CNA, you have a lot of options when it comes to job opportunities. You can choose to work in the hospital, a nursing home, correctional facility or hospice facility. You can also apply at an urgent care clinic or an inpatient mental health facility. If you get additional certification, you’ll have the opportunity to work in special areas like pediatrics or geriatrics.

Now, what do CNAs do?

CNAs wear different hats at work. In general, here are some of their tasks:

  • Take vital signs
  • Bathe patients
  • Reposition patients
  • Serve meals
  • Keep rooms clean
  • Make beds
  • Set up medical equipment
  • Assist with certain medical procedures
  • Observe changes in patient’s status
  • Answer calls

See Also: 5 Crucial Tips for Patient Safety Week

Receive a good salary

The salary you’ll get will depend on where you work. On average and according to data, however, you can get $29,260 annually if you work in a hospital. If you choose to apply in a nursing care facility, you can expect to be paid $26,700 per year. For home healthcare services, the annual salary is at $25,940.

Move forward with your career

There are so many lucrative careers you can start with being a CNA. Below are some of your options:

  • Registered nurse
  • Licensed practical nurse
  • Licensed vocational nurse
  • Family nurse practitioner