What Exactly is a Certified Nurse Assistant?

In the dawn of the great demand for healthcare personnel and nursing professionals come the front liners in personal assisted care. They are the Certified Nursing Assistant or CNA.

With the predicted need to support aging citizens of the US, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that by 2020, more and more nursing professionals such as RNs (Registered Nurses), LPN/LVNs (Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses) and CNAs are needed to fill this need.

But what exactly is a CNA?

Simply put, a CNA is someone who studied and passed the state’s Department of Health test for CNAs. These are people who, under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN), help clients and patients with their healthcare needs. Also known as NA or Nursing Assistant, State Tested Nurse Aid (STNA) or Patient Care Assistant (PCA) in some areas, these professionals have achieved a high level of competence and ability to provide basic health care.

What does a CNA do?

The role of a CNA is quite varied. Depending on what kind of healthcare facility they are working in, CNA tasks and responsibilities differ from one another, but the common denominator is they provide basic health care.

Without doubt, a CNA’s job includes intense responsibility like helping doctors during an emergency and help patients during recovery. They ensure that the quality of basic bedside care is upheld and proper hygiene is executed at all times.

Because of their versatility, CNAs can be found almost anywhere where healthcare is administered. They are:

  • Medical Centers
  • Hospitals
  • Hospices
  • Nursing Homes
  • Personal Assisted Living Facilities
  • Adult Day Care Centers
  • Community Care Facilities for the Elderly

CNAs are responsible for these basic healthcare services:

  • Grooming or Personal Hygiene
  • Feeding
  • Taking Vital Signs (blood pressure, pulse, temperature and respiration count)
  • Reposition and Movement (for bedridden patients and other incapacitated patients)
  • Administering prescribed medication

Career Expectations

Because of the increasing demand for CNAs rising daily, handsome salary rates await those who are determined to make it big in the healthcare industry. And as one of the starter levels in the nursing profession, CNAs receive an average of $26,000-$45,000 annual salary, which depends on the area of expertise and the location of practice. Rural areas offer a slightly lower rate than in urban areas.

CNA job opportunities are present everywhere, especially in key cities in the US like New York, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Chicago.

Of course, to work in these cities, CNAs must have gained their degrees from an accredited school and take a licensing exam in the state they’ve chosen to work in.

Becoming a CNA is indeed a great start to a lucrative and very promising career in healthcare service. Recognized by affluent organizations such as the Red Cross, career opportunities are boundless and there is no other way but to go up after getting a CNA degree.

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