Certified nursing assistants (CNAs), also known as nursing aides, are in-demand. That’s because healthcare doesn’t happen without a CNA somewhere in the mix. CNAs provide direct care to patients, whether they are in their homes, in a skilled nursing facility, or in other in-patient settings. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts these jobs will grow at a rate of 8% annually through 2030. As the baby boomer population continues to age and needs skilled nursing care, CNAs will play an important role in meeting these needs. In this blog, we’ll share important information on the CNA/nursing aid role. What education do you need to become a CNA? What skills will you need to take on this work? We have answers that can help you decide if a CNA position is right for you.
What is a CNA?
Certified nursing assistants take care of patients directly under the supervision of a professional nursing team. This is an entry-level role perfect for anyone seeking to break into steady work in the healthcare industry. On a typical day, a CNA will:
- Help multiple patients with a variety of health concerns.
- Aid patients with mobility issues with basic life skills such as eating, bathing, dressing, and even movement and exercise.
- Monitor and record the patient’s food and beverage intake.
- Update the nursing team on any changes in the condition of the patient.
In a hospital, the CNA may do all of these things, but also, they may:
- Deliver patient meals.
- Answer phones at the nursing stations or assist patients in making calls.
- Clean patient rooms by wiping down surfaces, sweeping, and taking out the trash.
- Provide emotional support to patients who are feeling sad or discouraged by simply listening to them.
- Helping push equipment from one room to another or even transporting a patient to a testing location.
What Skills Will You Need To Be a CNA?
A CNA job is physical. You’ll be on your feet and moving around. You may be required to lift or move patients. During this you will also need to exhibit caring and compassion for the patient. You’ll need to notice small patient details and report on them in the charting. Communication is critical in these positions. You will also need:
- Patience, optimism, and a sense of humor will help with stress.
- Some knowledge of medical phrases and terminology
- Flexibility; each day will be as different as the patients you serve.
Interestingly, you can jump right into these positions. There are some great programs out there that are low cost (but high return). Completing one will set you up to break right into healthcare—fast. What kind of training and education will you need to land your first CNA job?
What Education and Training Will You Need?
CNA certifications can be obtained in as little as 90-days. This usually includes about 75 hours of classroom work plus on-the-ground training in the clinical skills you’ll need. There is a CNA examination required in the state where you’re working. You don’t need a college degree, either. That means there is a low barrier to entry for CNA positions and the certifications themselves are quite affordable. For about $1,300, you can have the certifications you need to take on this role.
If you’re ready to explore a career as a nursing aide, browse our open roles today!