In clinics, hospitals, and other medical facilities, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are on the frontline of patient care. This is why CNA training has grown to be one of the most prevalent programs in the medical field. Nursing assistant functions go beyond simple patient care. They have a wide variety of duties ranging from facility maintenance, patient observation, diet recording, surgical procedures assistance, and many more. Due to the diversity of the tasks, nurse assistant trainings have evolved. Nurse assistants now have to develop a set of complex skill competencies along with a set of specific moral criterion.
While CNA training programs do not necessarily require extensive health care education, they have the following core competencies:
- Nutritional and Diet
Patients with different illnesses have different nutritional requirements. Nursing assistants should be able to comprehend and identify the nutritional needs and requirements of patients with these different medical conditions. They should possess ample knowledge on the nutritional value of food, asses which foods would provide patients with most nutritional benefit, and assist in patient compliance with the doctor’s dietary advice.
- Daily Activities
Patients like those involved in accidents, suffering from serious ailments, or those in their golden years usually require assistance to carry out simple functions like walking, eating or personal hygiene. Certified nursing assistants should possess competency in assisting patients with their daily living activities.
- Body Mechanics
While patient safety is the priority, the well-being of the caregiver is also important. CNA’s are trained in techniques and devices that ensures their safety and their patient’s safety during patient transfer and mobilization.
- Infection Control
CNA classes teach and stress the importance of infection control. The course will educate future CAN’s on aseptic techniques when handling patients and performing basic medical procedures. This helps avoid the transfer of harmful pathogens, especially when working with highly contagious conditions.
- Human Behavior
Patients all go through some form of emotional, mental or psychological stress due to their illnesses. Certified nursing assistants are not only trained on how to properly interact with these patients. They’re also trained in instructing patients on coping techniques to help them deal with their condition.
Available CNA Programs:
There are two ways to get your CNA education. You can either enroll in college or in online training programs. Both are choices are viable and what you choose would depend on your preference and resources. Learning from a school is better if you find it easier to learn face to face with an instructor. But if you prefer to work on at own pace, an online course maybe the better choice.
School CNA Training
There are many health training programs, community colleges and certain nursing care facilities that offer the CNA trainings. Depending on the availability of instructors and teaching facilities, a CNA training course would include lectures, in-service, and practical or on the job training for students.
CNA Training Online
If time or money is a factor, you may also take the program online. While being a nurse assistant is a hands-on career, you can acquire most of the core knowledge off-site. When choosing an online program though, see to it that they are accredited by the National League for Nursing Accredited Commission or NLNA.
The Red Cross CNA Training offers courses that are more affordable compared to other establishments. An added benefit with the Red Cross CNA training is their placement program. Once you graduate from their course and obtain certification, they will assist you with your job search.
There are free CNA training that you can avail of. The government offers subsidies for CNA education through applications for financial assistance or by studying in accredited educational centers. Sponsorship through elderly care facilities or hospitals are rare, but is still a viable option if you qualify for them.
Once you have completed the course, you will need to get certification. Certification exam is divided into two parts, written and practical. The written exam will cover knowledge and understanding of basic medical procedures and concepts, health concepts, and other core competencies . The practical exam will test everything that was covered during the clinical or the practical application.
The written exam of course is easier to review for. There are plenty of practice tests and reviewers available to help prepare for the certification exams. Most of these practice tests and reviewers are available in bookstores and on online review sites.
The challenge for most nursing assistant students is preparing for the practical part of the test. In order to prepare for this part, many students opt to work for, or volunteer in the various medical and health care facilities.This way, they will be able to apply everything they have learned in a practical setting.
The exam itself will be taken in every applicant’s respective state. Depending on the state, the required course length may vary from a few weeks to several months. Regardless, there is a standard minimum of 75 hours training required in order to pass the competency evaluation. There are also some states that may require additional training apart from the practical aspect of the CNA course already taken.
Results will be mailed to you approximately 10 days after the exam. If you pass, you will immediately receive your CNA certification. If you fail to pass the exam, you will be notified of which aspects you need to improve on. The conditions on retaking the exam may vary from state to state.
The medical field is in dire need of trained professionals that excel on their own areas. A satisfying career in the medical field is no longer limited to just surgeons, doctors and nurses. Being a certified nursing assistant is just as satisfying professionally and is equally in demand. If you’re considering a career as a CNA, you should ask yourself if you have the motivation, patience and dedication to meet the high demands and standards of this profession. If your answer is a strong yes, then it is time to embark on your CNA training and take the first step to a new career.