Are you interested in becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant? This is a fulfilling and rewarding career path that offers a number of employment opportunities to work in a variety of settings with a diverse patient population. Depending on your experience, you can grow into more specialized areas of nursing once you become certified. This article helps you in clearing doubts about where can you work as a CNA.
If you are interested in starting the process of pursuing a new profession as a CNA, continue reading to learn more about what CNAs actually do, where they work, and other information you should know before you begin your training.
What Is a CNA?
The backbone of healthcare is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) assists patients with daily living activities and other healthcare needs under the direct supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN), or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). A CNA may also be known as a nurse’s aide, a patient care assistant (PCA), or a nursing assistant. The CNA is in charge of giving patients, clients, or residents of the facility or organization they work for direct care.
General Responsibilities of a CNA:
Depending on the environment and the patients, the specific duties of a CNA may vary, but the typical responsibilities include:
- Keeping an eye on patients’ needs and alerting other healthcare professionals to any problems.
- Assisting patients with daily tasks, like eating, bathing, dressing, and using the restroom.
- Ensuring patient comfort by rearranging objects so they are accessible, changing the bedding, and replenishing water bottles.
- Helping to shift patients from beds to exam tables, operating tables, or stretchers.
- Measuring the temperature, oxygen level, and other vital signs, such as blood pressure.
- Setting down apparatus, like portable radiograph (X-ray) equipment, IVs, or oxygen tents.
Where Can You Work as a CNA?
You can put your abilities, information, and education to use in a variety of ways as a CNA. There are various settings where CNAs can find employment, including hospitals, nursing homes, home healthcare, and clinics.
Hospitals, both general and specialized, are frequent workplaces for licensed nursing assistants. Nursing assistants are the backbone of almost every hospital in the nation, with 30% of CNAs employed in hospitals. On the other hand, CNAs at specialty hospitals might primarily work with patients who have a particular problem, or with people of a certain age.
These workplaces may be cancer treatment centers, recovery centers, or children’s hospitals. Since hospital jobs are frequently full-time, they generally come with benefits, employment security, and connections to other medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers. Additionally, compared to some other workplaces, hospitals may provide a greater basic salary.
NURSING CARE, RETIREMENT, AND ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES
The most typical job for a licensed nursing assistant is working in long-term nursing institutions, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Nursing assistants work at nursing care facilities 40% of the time, assisted living facilities 11% of the time, and retirement communities 11% of the time. The elderly, patients who are severely handicapped, patients who are unwell, and others are all housed in these facilities.
This kind of work setting can be advantageous, for CNAs since it enables them to put their newly acquired skills to use, learn how to manage several patients at once, and develop their confidence as CNAs. In addition to benefits, full-time employment, and regular working hours, this type of environment may also need overtime and/or midnight shifts.
HOME HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS
CNAs are key to home health and home care organizations because they allow patients to remain comfortable in their own homes. Home health aides carry out comparable tasks, and be paid similarly to CNAs employed in nursing homes. The primary distinction is that, unlike in a hospital or long-term care facility, where numerous patients’ needs may need to be met at once, home health aides typically work with one patient at a time in the patient’s own home.
Since there is typically no direct supervision or other employees to help new hires learn the ropes, the majority of CNAs don’t start out in this type of employment. As a result, for these positions, home health service organizations frequently choose to employ experienced CNAs.
OTHER PLACES CNAS CAN FIND WORK
CNAs can work for local, state, or federal governments in addition to the above-mentioned facilities and home health organizations. For instance, the federal government employs CNAs to serve in government-run nursing homes, jails, and veterans’ hospitals. In addition, states employ CNAs in prisons, schools, and mental health facilities.
Despite being less prevalent, these positions provide CNAs with secure and distinctive career options. About 4% of nursing assistants in the country work for the government, thus it can be more difficult to find jobs in this sector than in more conventional CNA positions with hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living institutions.
Jobs CNAs Can Do
The following are some of the jobs that CNAs can pursue. If you are considering a new career path as a CNA, these jobs can help you determine if the position is right for you.
PATIENT CARE TECHNICIANS
Patient care technicians can be converted from CNAs with some additional training (PCT). Being a PCT enables CNAs to carry out particular, advanced nursing activities. The PCT or CNA certification is preferred by hospitals currently hiring PCT applicants (plus experience).
CRITICAL CARE TECHNICIANS
Critical Care Technicians frequently treat the hospital’s sickest patients. In intensive care units, you may typically find these techs helping doctors and nurses. Hospitals seek candidates with prior CNA experience, and certification in basic life support for PCT roles.
For CNAs, travel nursing is a rewarding employment option. You get into a contract with travel nursing agencies in this field to find employment. Due to their varying personnel requirements, hospitals fill positions by paying temporary staffing firms. These short-term agreements frequently include considerable pay. The best part about these positions is that they provide you with the flexibility to see a lot of the country, live in different locations, and meet new people.
QUALIFIED MEDICATION AIDE
CNAs can take the exam to become qualified medication aides (QMA) after completing 100 hours of pharmacology and drug knowledge training. Patients are given medication by QMAs, who also keep an eye on side effects while working under the direction of professional nursing staff.
HOME HEALTH AIDE
Personal health aides, often known as home health aides, assist patients at home. Compared to CNAs, job responsibilities are frequently more varied. Home health aides can help patients with their daily activities, as well as household chores, like laundry and pet care.
They can also help with meal preparation and moving patients from one room to another. With a 30% rise predicted for this field between 2020 and 2030, it is one of nursing’s fastest-growing specialties. Home health aides make an average pay of $29,430.
Do you want a position where you can learn from and share the workload with other nursing assistants, work with a variety of patients, and always be busy? Or are you more interested in getting to know a select few patients better by working with them more closely? If so, CNAs may be the job for you. While the salary may be lower than other nursing positions, you can look forward to a fulfilling career with plenty of job satisfaction.
If you are passionate about becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), make sure to try our free practice test to help you prepare to pass the CNA exam.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
WHAT MAKES A GREAT CNA?
CNAs are on the front lines of providing fundamental patient care, calming and comforting patients, and seeing to their needs. CNAs need a wide range of abilities and characteristics to perform these jobs effectively. The following things make a great CNA:
- Ability to work in a team
- Physical fitness
HOW MUCH DO CNAS MAKE?
As of May 2021, nursing assistants earned an average annual salary of $30,310. Those in the top 10% of earners received an average of $44,240, while those in the bottom 10% earned just $22,750. CNA salaries can vary greatly, so those thinking about this career choice should do their homework and make sure that the average pay meets their demands.
IS CNA THE SAME AS A MEDICAL ASSISTANT?
Although both CNAs and medical assistants work in healthcare support jobs, there are differences in their educational qualifications and job duties. CNAs spend their days giving direct patient care, which often involves carrying out many of the duties described in this manual.
Medical assistants do both clinical and administrative duties. They might spend some of the days taking calls, making patient appointments, or setting up filing systems. Other times, they might help doctors with exams, provide needles and dispense medication, or take vital signs.