What You Need to Know About Being a CNA

If you are considering becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), congratulations, you have made a wonderful career choice! Although you may be very excited to start your CNA training, there are some questions that you should have the answers to so that you will know what you are getting yourself into.

What is a CNA?

A CNA is one of the most important roles in the healthcare system. They work under the supervision of higher nurses (RN’s and LPN’s) and provide hands on care to the patients in their charge. Their instructions come from these higher up nurses who get their orders from the administration and attending physicians. CNA’s provide all types of care and their exact duties depend on what type of environment they work in. The bottom line is that CNA’s are heavily depended on for the most basic areas of patient care. They are the go-to people for the nurses and the family members of the patients.

Job Environments for CNA’s

A CNA wears several different hats depending on where they are employed. The following are the most common environments in which they are employed.

Of all of these work venues will require different job duties but the main things go right back to direct patient care.

Why Should You Become a CNA?

Becoming a CNA is not for everyone. Most people go into this field for two main reasons:

  1. The classes are fairly short and it is the easiest nursing job to get licensed in.
  2. The jobs for CNA’s are plentiful so there is a lot of job security.

While these are definitely good reasons to consider becoming a CNA, they should be just a start in order to do a good job for your patients, your employers, and for yourself. Someone working in the medical field should do so because they feel a true calling to help people. Too many times there are CNA’s who go into the field without really caring about those they are providing services to. In order to be a good nursing assistant you must have love, kindness, compassion and a caring heart. Truly wanting to help others is a must for doing the job well. The downside to this is you will form personal attachments to your patients which can make you feel a personal loss when they pass away. You can also become so involved in your work that you live and breathe it. Being a caring nursing assistant requires a balance that you will be able to find after you gain some experience in the field.

How to Become a CNA?

Becoming a CNA is not a difficult process but it does take dedication and willingness to learn. There are several places where you can get your training including:

The most common place to get CNA training is at a community college. The cost of the program will depend largely on where you obtain it. Keep in mind that you will have the cost of the class as well as the books. Since the cost of the class is generally low, it is typically not covered by federal financial aid or Pell grants. The only way to get your classes for free is if an employer, such as a nursing home, is willing to sponsor your education so that you will come work for them. No matter how you decide to get your training though, NEVER go with online schools. Most of them are not accredited with your state and you really need hands on training for a job in the medical field. There are just certain things that you cannot learn without being in a traditional classroom and how to become a CNA is one of them.

CNA Training

CNA training programs may vary from place to place. Depending on where you go for your training, it can take anywhere from three weeks to three months of class. The time you spend in class depends on the program you choose. Some classes are given only four hours per week and this will take you about three months. The more often your program requires you to be in class the faster your training will be complete. In your program you will learn the following:

In addition to classroom training, you will also have to get your CPR certification and keep it current, and do a certain number of hours of clinicals in a medical facility. You will do a lot of reading, studying and test taking. Once you complete your training program you will have to take your state's exam to become licensed and then you are ready to begin your new life as a certified nursing assistant!