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Certified Nursing Assistant - A Closer Look

Certified Nursing Assistant - A Closer Look

Dave Cahill

When most people hear the term “Certified Nursing Assistant” (better known as CNA), the first thing that comes to mind is a career in a nursing home. While it’s true that this is probably the industry’s biggest demand for CNAs, there are other places to use this certification. But what exactly is a CNA, and how can it work for you?

The Certified Nursing Assistant is a person who aids in the daily care of those needing nursing care. Think there’s nothing to the job? Think again.

One of the first things many nurses say they learned is that nursing isn’t about dispensing medicines, giving shots or even taking orders from the doctor. It’s all about learning to listen to your patients. The CNA training takes that to a very basic level and the job of the CNA is often vital to the effective medical treatment of other health care professionals. For example, the CNA who spends the most time with a nursing home patient may be the first to notice a change in that person’s attitude that reflects a serious medical condition or a reaction to a change in their drug regimen. And while some people are simply observant enough to notice those kinds of things, learning what to do with the information is a vital part of the training for the Certified Nursing Assistant.

But is there anything else you can do with CNA training other than work in a nursing home? CNAs are also commonly called on for home visitation. Typically, these are older people or those with disabilities who have trouble performing routine daily tasks. The CNA may help the person get a bath or handle other chores. Think it’s not that important. Consider it from the view of the person receiving the help. Without the services of that CNA, that person would likely be moved to a nursing home, rehabilitation facility or be forced to live with relatives – devastating for some people.

Some daycares and schools also employ CNAs to help handle minor health issues at school. While these CNAs don’t dispense medication or do any of those jobs handled by a nurse, they do use their training to help children with health issues and help the school deflect problems before they become serious issues. A CNA for a school will quickly learn to spot infections and to help curb the spread of problems such as ringworm.

CNAs may also work in rehabilitation programs or similar facilities. While licensed professionals will do therapy, the CNAs often have more time to devote to patients, meaning they develop relationships and become an integral part of the recovery process.

If you’ve considered a job in health care – especially in nursing – the CNA could be just what you need. You can work in the industry while you’re working on your degree in nursing as an LPN or RN. On the other hand, you may very well find that a Certified Nursing Degree isn’t a stepping stone to some other career, but is a rewarding career in itself.

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    After raising our five children and working as a bookkeeper at home for 30 years, I took the training and began a wonderfully blessed new career as a CNA in-home care and now nursing home memory care and hospice. I'm still going strong after 9 years, and in my mid-60s, and feel so thankful to get to care for these dear folk. I love my coworkers who are half my age! This job definitely keeps me in shape mentally and physically, and provides many opportunities to share love.

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    Cliff_Heflin

    about 3 years ago

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    In the CNA profession, you do have one of the hardest jobs there is because you are giving direct care to these patients and you have daily contact with them. When something is wrong, we are the first ones to notice the problem and it's our responsibility to report it to the nurse in charge so something can be done about it. I know that working in long term care is pretty tough because you have these frail, elderly little people who most of them are bedbound, can't fed themselves, incontinent and still, it's your responsibility to make sure that you're meeting their quality ADL Care and also to make sure that your documentation is in order and correct because when state comes in to survey your facility, the first thing they will do is go directly to a CNA and observe them do care on a patient, with the patient's consent. Being a CNA is fun and rewarding, but it's a lot of physical work and you have to have the patience, dedication, heart, and willpower to do this kind of work because if you're not use to seeing someone use the bathroom on themselves, then this kind of work is not for you. In my years of experience, I have seen a number of things and experience the changing faces of the CNA World, but people in general need to take a look at what we do and how crucial we are in the healthcare profession. Of course the most important person on a healthcare team is the PATIENT. We do the dirty work and sometimes get no credit or recognition for what we do, but there are some companies that show their CNA staff appreciation for what they do.

  • Clifford_max50

    Cliff_Heflin

    about 3 years ago

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    I'm a CNA who got my certification in my hometown through the nursing home there in 1999. I have worked in various healthcare settings from Long Term Acute Care to Home Health to Long Term Care. I've devoted much of my time, energy and dedication to helping those who were unable to help themselves. People think that CNAs do a lot of the abuse and things in the nursing homes and hospitals, but employers have to be thorough in their search for the person they feel will best fit the job description and perform it to the best of their abilities. In my 12 years of experience, I've never abused a patient nor have my name been submitted to the Alabama Department of Public Health CNA Registry for abuse. I'm a hard worker, dedicated CNA who would go up and beyond his call of duty, only to offend some people who feel that male CNAs don't belong in the nursing profession. I don't care what anyone says, but I'm proud of my CNA Certification and my years of experience and I hope that future CNAs can learn from those who are well experienced and trained in their field.

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    jmilks2004

    about 4 years ago

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    I agree with elijahms81. Its not about the money its about helping people.

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    elijahms81

    over 4 years ago

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    I am an RN student and I am also taking a CNA class. If money is on your mind, then I don't think anything in the health industry is for you because it isn't about the money right off hand, it is about putting other people before yourself. Same thing when you think of a teacher, yes, teachers are under paid, but they didn't get in the profession to become rich, they did it to make a difference in a child's life. Being a nurse can at times be financially rewarding depending on what type of nurse you are and your experience. The financial rewards however, only come for those that had the heart to make a difference and excel in the field. A great nurse gets so caught up in making a difference, that the check is only the end result!

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