Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) perform very special tasks in the medical field. Among the health care givers, they are usually the ones who spend a lot of time with the patients, assisting them with their daily needs. There are many certified nursing assistant jobs now available in long-term health care facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals. These medical facilities usually take in elderly patients and physically or developmentally challenged patients that often need extended periods of primary care.
The responsibilities of CNAs are varied and depend on the type of working environment where they are employed.
Most health care facilities require CNAs to do general duties such as taking the patient’s vital signs, assisting patients with their daily personal hygiene and grooming, feeding the patients and in some cases, administering medicines. CNAs are required to be well trained in carrying out these duties before they can start working in any medical facility. They are also required to take and pass the state examination for CNAs.
Certified nursing assistant jobs may also include giving ambulatory care, as most patients can not walk or move on their own. The job also includes being able to provide emergency care in case the patient is placed in danger or a life-threatening situation, like choking on food. Since most patients are not capable of doing things on their own, CNAs are expected to assist them in every way. CNAs would often have to give their patients baths or showers, help them dress and undress, move them from one room to another and even feed them, if they are incapable of feeding themselves.
CNAs also monitor the patient’s vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar and heart rate. These are taken at specific times of the day and are recorded, for the use of nurses and doctors. It is the job of the CNA to bring to the nurses’ or doctors’ attention if there are extreme changes on the patient’s vital signs.
In most cases, patients also need some emotional support from CNAs. Some CNAs work inside the residences of patients, and are usually the ones who keep the patients company during the day. CNAs often need compassion to prevent their patients from getting depressed, which may make their recovery more difficult.
If you intend to be a future CNA, you would need a high school diploma or a GED certificate before you can attend a CNA training program. This is a short-term training program that usually runs from 6-12 weeks and is offered by community colleges, trade and vocational schools. You would also need to pass the state examination for Certified Nursing Assistants. Upon obtaining your CNA certification, you can find employment in various health care facilities in your area. Some states require CNAs to renew their certification every 2 to 5 years and may also require them to obtain advanced training prior to renewing their licenses.
Certified nursing assistant jobs usually pay from $8 and above per hour. The salary varies from state to state, and it also depends on the number of years that you have already worked as a CNA. Some CNAs who have worked for many years can average about $15 per hour. Aside from the job security that CNAs can enjoy, there is also that feeling that they are doing a very noble job, because they are helping people who are in need.