A certified nurse aide is a person who works in the health care sector, in hospitals, nursing homes, home health services, residential care facilities and rehabilitation centers. Most of the time, they work under the supervision of a licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse. A CNA provides care to patients by assisting them in their daily activities.
Requirements to Become A CAN
Education and training is basic. Aside from these, there are some personal traits that a CNA needs to possess in order to succeed in the health care sector.
• Patience. This is very important especially when dealing with the elderly. These patients need to be assisted in movement and feeding which they may not perform at the speed of a younger and healthier patient.
With patience, you will be able to give good care to these patients and attend to their needs.
• Compassion and empathy. CNAs mostly deal with the disabled and elderly. To carry out the duty of taking care of them effectively, one must have great compassion and empathy.
• Great observation skills. While dealing with the patients, you need to make keen observations of the changes in different patients. This is because a CNA is meant to inform the doctors or nurses of changes in a patient's behavior or health.
Duties of a CNA
Their job description varies depending on the needs of the patients. Some of the duties include:
• Collect patients' urine samples for testing in the laboratory.
• Measuring the patients' vital signs: blood pressure, temperature, respiration and pulse rate.
• Housekeeping which includes making beds for the patients, replacing bed linen, changing the bed pans and collecting dirty laundry.
• Assisting patients to carry out their daily activities such as brushing teeth, bathing, dressing, using the bathroom and eating.
• Maintaining and labeling each patient's personal care items such as toothbrushes, combs and shampoos.
• Assist in repositioning or transferring patients into walkers, wheelchairs or other devices to assist in movement.
• Teaching patients some exercises and stretches that will aid in movement, relieve pain or improve their functioning in case of some chronic diseases.
• Take records of patients' concerns and write a report for the doctors or nurses to review.
• Weigh and take measurements of patients.
• Provide care to a dying patient and assist in some post mortem activities.
• In addition, CNAs also perform first aid, CPR in case of an emergency.
• Applying bandages or other support materials as directed by the nurse or physician.
The CNAs are however prevented from carrying out certain medical procedures such as phlebotomy, running lab tests or filing insurance, prescribing medicines and billing.
A nursing aide does not require a high school diploma or equivalent certification. One can become a nursing aide through on- job training. However, to become a Certified Nursing Aide, one must get training on the same from an accredited institution. The training includes a certain number of classroom hours plus practical hours which depends on the institution. After going through the training, one can now become certified.
To become a medical assistant, there are no prescribed certifications; the requirements are set by the different health care institutions. For a CNA, there are well documented requirements that one must fulfill. The duties of the certified medical assistant and those of the certified nurse aide differ.
On comparing physician's assistant and a certified nurse aide, a physician's assistant has higher training than a certified nurse aide. Again, they can perform certain medical procedures that nurse aides cannot perform.
A CNA has to be certified. This certification is also meant to be renewed periodically. Some other medical professions which do not require one to be certified may not require one to renew their certification. A certified medical assistant (CMA) is a one year course for certification. CMAs are taught a wide range of skills ranging from keeping medical records, billing, running the front office and other clinical duties.
A CNA requires training to perform home health services while a Resident Assistant does not necessarily have to undergo training. A resident assistant carries out activities such as passing meal trays to rooms, passing ice and in some cases assisting patients to feed. Resident Assistants are not, however, allowed to pass medication while a certified nurse aide is allowed. Some states require that they undergo some certain training in order to pass medication to patients.
The salary of a CNA is an average of $24010 per year. The higher paid CNAs earn about $34580 a year while the lower paid ones earn about $17790 a year. Learn more about how to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.
The needs of the health care sector require that more people be trained to become CNAs. This is due to the increase in demand for healthcare services. Since it is a short training, more people are encouraged to help provide health care services to those who need it.