A Certified Nursing Assistant, abbreviated CNA, is the primary caregiver in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. A CNA can also work independently e.g. in a long-term health facility as a home health aide. Certified Nursing Assistants work under the capable supervision of nurses, helping patients with their day-to-day activities, and assisting nurses collect basic vital measurements e.g. blood pressure and body weight.
Becoming a CNA has very many benefits and perhaps the foremost is that you can be able to get CNA credentials as inexpensively and quickly as you wish. This is not to say that there are no expensive courses out there that last up to a year, but if you have the motivation and aptitude, you can become a CNA in as little as 6 weeks. Other states, such as Florida, allow competent prospective aspirants to ‘challenge’ the set CNA certification examination, but of course with specific conditions that need to be met, without having to undertake any formal training in class.
This is however recommended for people who can learn very quickly, or those with some background knowledge and experience in the field. As such, it is recommended that you call your state board of health, your local CNA agency, or even visit their official website to find out the rules in place. There is usually a brochure with such useful information.
The second great benefit of training to be a CNA is the opportunity to enter the healthcare industry at an entry level position, thereby acting as a stepping stone for advanced training in Registered Nursing or LPN. You will be expected to pass two separate examinations – first is a written test that will examine your knowledge of different medical procedures while the second one is a practical demonstration in a real life clinical setting before a qualified nurse. This is believed to be the most essential examination, as one has to be fully knowledgeable with performing all the 22 clinical skills as stipulated in the state-approved CNA training manual.
Here is a list of what you need in order to get started with your CNA training
- You should search for contact information of your state board of nursing, CNA registry offices, or board of health and then obtain a detailed CNA brochure.
- Make a list of all CNA training schools in your locality
- Go through the brochure and determine if you are qualified enough and the path that you feel you should take
- Look for practice ‘clinical skills’ videos and tests to prepare for your course
- Visit local hospitals, clinics, or nursing homes and ask whether there are free training programs in place for CNA candidates
- Decide if you qualify for, and wish to ‘challenge’ the state exam
- Look for a CNA career book from your local library or search for information regarding CNA from the many resources online