Guide to CNA Classes and Courses in 2013
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Some hands-on training is required to become a CNA, making an on-campus or hybrid program the best option for this certification.
Preview the course selection you will find in a CNA program and prepare yourself for the clinical components of CNA certification.
Ensure that your CNA program is fully accredited if you plan to pursue your CNA licensure after graduation.
Discover what role CNAs play in the healthcare system and find out what salary you can expect as a trained CNA.
Learn How You Can Study CNA Programs
You can pursue a certified nursing assistant (CNA) program at your local community college or vocational school through campus-based or online courses. Upon completion of a CNA training program, you will earn a certificate or diploma and will need to sit for a competency examination administered by your state’s nurse licensing board before you can begin working. Continue exploring this resourceful guide to learn more about CNA programs.
See if you are a good fit for CNA training
Before you enroll in CNA certification classes, you should examine your personality strengths and career goals. Ask yourself the following questions to see if a CNA program is the best option for you:
- Do I have an interest in medicine and healthcare?
- Do I excel in science, to learn about human anatomy and physiology?
- Would I be comfortable working with patients with terminal diseases and other illnesses?
- Do I possess strong interpersonal skills, enabling me to listen and communicate effectively with patients and other healthcare professionals?
- Do I have strong technical skills for using medical equipment?
- Would I be comfortable placing urinary catheters and assisting patients during delicate examinations?
If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, you should strongly consider enrolling in a CNA training program. Not only should CNA students have an interest in medical and healthcare services, but they should also be service-oriented and enjoy helping others.
A Day in the Life of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) have anything but a typical 9 to 5 job. If you want to be a CNA, prepare yourself for an exceptionally varied workday.
Because CNAs take on such a variety of tasks on a daily basis, their job can be extremely demanding and stressful. Hospitalized patients often see CNAs as their lifeline, since they cannot perform simple daily tasks, like using the restroom or eating without them. Since the pay is not exceptionally good for CNAs, they should truly enjoy helping others to find this career rewarding. Plus, CNAs may work odd hours, like the night shift or on weekends, as opposed to the more common Monday through Friday workweek. They can also choose to work part time or full time at hospitals, nursing homes, hospice care centers, and rehabilitations clinics.
The responsibilities of a CNA can change daily, so no two days are exactly alike. CNAs provide basic healthcare services to patients, like applying and changing dressings, taking vital signs, and administering medications. CNAs not only help administer basic healthcare services to patients, but they also help fulfill their daily living and personal care needs. Common tasks CNAs are required to do outside the scope of healthcare can include bathing and dressing a patient, serving meals, and even basic housekeeping duties, like changing bed linens and cleaning a patient’s room.
Additionally, because most CNAs work in long-term care facilities, they often get to know their patients on a more personal level than other medical staff. Many CNAs feel like going to work means visiting an old friend, since often times they provide companionship to patients who do not have outside visitors. But CNAs often deal with difficult emotions, as their patients are severely ill and may pass away while under their care. This is particularly common in nursing homes and hospice centers, so CNAs working in these settings should be able to handle their emotions during these sensitive times.
Find Out How to Earn a CNA Degree
Students enrolled in CNA programs can expect to take a variety of theoretical and clinical, science-based courses that will help prepare them to sit for the professional CNA examination.
Discover what you will do in CNA colleges
CNA courses are designed to prepare students to work alongside nurses in hospitals, medical clinics, hospice care homes, and other healthcare environments. The courses you will take in a CNA program are centered on scientific areas like biology and human physiology, so you can anticipate participating in a variety of laboratory experiences.
See what CNA courses you will take
You can expect to study the following subjects:
In addition to these basic courses, you will often be required to partake in a clinical internship experience, where you will gain direct experience working within a hospital or other medical setting alongside a registered nurse. These out-of-classroom experiences are invaluable as they allow you to develop practical nursing assistant skills. In fact, many employers seek graduates who have participated in a clinical internship since they require less on-the-job training.
Discover the CNA Degree Levels Schools Offer
Unlike most traditional degrees that are commonly offered at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral level, CNA programs allow students to graduate with a diploma or certificate of completion. Upon gaining this professional licensure, you can go on to work as a certified nursing assistant in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, or long-term care facilities.
Find Out What You Need to Know about Accreditation
When exploring CNA programs, make sure you search specifically for approved programs. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) approves nurse education programs around the country. Remember that if you plan to gain professional licensure as a CNA through the NCSBN, you must attend a program approved by your state’s board of nursing.
Learn What CNAs Do
A certified nursing assistant (CNAs), also called a nurse’s aid, helps registered nurses administer basic care to patients. CNAs work with hospitalized patients or patients who receive long-term care in settings such as nursing homes or rehabilitation centers. CNAs work under the supervision of nurses and assist patients by helping them eat and drink, changing their linens, or transporting them to various units in the hospital. On a daily basis, you can expect to work with patients of all ages taking their vital signs, changing wound dressings, and collecting specimens. You can also work in an emergency room assisting providers, such as doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. Additionally, CNAs are responsible for charting patient’s medical information and often act as the communication line between medical providers and patients and their family members.
Discover the Job Landscape for CNA Professionals
As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNAs can expect to earn a median wage of $24,010. However, in 2010 the top 10 percent of CNAs earned upwards of $34,000 per year. According to the BLS, in 2012 the highest-earning CNAs worked in Alaska, New York, Connecticut, Nevada, and the District of Columbia. The BLS predicts job growth of 20 percent through 2020, which is greater than the projected growth of all other fields at 14 percent.