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An Exploration Into the Daily Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

While there are countless books and other resources that document the daily duties and typical job functions of a certified nursing assistant, perhaps the greatest way to fully understand what is expected of this role is to review current job postings and job descriptions by respected medical clinics. Although your exact roles and responsibilities are determined by your state board of nursing, the majority of states follow strikingly similar requirements.

The following list is a detailed account of what your average day may look like as a certified nursing assistant. While these can vary based upon your employer and geographical location, the daily duties of a CNA won’t stray from from this list.

Patient Personal Care:  Perhaps one of the greatest job functions you’ll carry out throughout your days is patient personal care. In fact, a CNA is unique among the nursing staff as thereby primary responsibility is to tend to patients. You’ll be expected to assist in patient bathing, toileting, oral hygiene, skin care and assistance when undressing and dressing.

Patient Feeding: You’ll be responsible for either providing the patient with food or physically assisting patients during meals.

Measuring Intake/Output: The majority of CNAs are responsible for measuring the amount of food and drink a patient consumes and then measuring the amount of urine that’s output.k

Assist in Patient Maneuverability: Throughout your day, you’ll be responsible to ensure patients don’t end up developing bed sores by periodically moving their body.

Transferring Patient: Whenever a patient must be transported to either a different room or into an ambulance, a CNA is typically involved in this process. Therefore, you must be well-versed in safe, efficient and comfortable patient transfer techniques.

Clean Patients Room: As a CNA you’ll be responsible for not only ensuring a patient’s room is clean, but that itís stocked with all the necessary supplies for physicians and registered nurses. Your employer will likely feature a list of supplies you should constantly ensure are stocked.

Tend to Bed Linens: Throughout your day, you’ll be responsible for changing bed linens in both occupied and unoccupied beds.

Assist Nursing Staff: This is a broad requirement. Throughout your workday, you’ll be required to assist registered nurses and other nursing staff members according to the regulations and restrictions set forth by your state board of nursing.

Record Vital Signs: When you’re checking on patients, you’ll be required to check various vital signs and accurately record them for physician and registered nurse review.

Patient Monitoring: Typically, a CNA is the first person who notices a change in patient health. It is imperative that you immediately communicate with your supervisor or physician should you notice a positive or negative alteration in the patient.

After you fully understand the roles of a CNA, undergo certification training, and gain some on-the-job experience, the next natural progression in your nursing career is often becoming a Registered Nurse. This transition can be rather simple, as there are many CNA to RN programs available. RNs have completed a nursing program and met their state requirements for registration. A formal nursing license will be granted, and then the nurse is registered to practice in that state. RNs earn approximately $65,470 USD per year, as opposed to CNAs that typically earn only $24,400 USD. The main rationale for the substantial pay increase is the amount of training and schooling required to move from a CNA to RN.

Basic Information About Becoming a CNA


Of all the different careers and that you can choose, the path to becoming a CNA is relatively straightforward, even though most people don’t understand it. It basically involves complying with simple regulations, taking your CNA classes, and then doing your state-level testing. Once you pass the state-level tests, then you can go out and search for a job. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, obviously there are some nuances here and there, but that’s the basic idea. Let’s break down those steps a bit further.

To begin with, you’ll need to comply with some basic regulations such as being 18 years of age or older, being able to pass a background check, and making sure that you are current on your immunizations and aren’t infected with tuberculosis and certain other infections. These qualifications may vary from state to state, so it’s important to check with the state where you live to be sure that you’re taking the right steps to meet their regulations.

If you meet the preliminary qualifications, you can find a school that teaches CNA classes and register. After you complete your registration, you’ll typically be able to begin taking your classes. It is important to note that many institutions, especially today in 2016, offer the option of CNA certification classes online. By offering CNA classes online the institutions are able to cut costs, offer greater flexibility, and enroll more students. This is often a win-win for both the training center or school, as well as the nursing student. Once a CNA program is selected, then you will proceed with the training.

This training may last for a few months, depending upon how often you attend class, but it may last longer depending on the school and other factors. If you are someone who can only attend class on the weekends, it might take you longer to finish than someone who is able to attend class five nights per week. Some CNA programs may have more flexible options than others, and you’ll need to make sure you get all of the details about the programs that you’re interested in so you know that they fit your schedule.

After you complete both the classroom and hands-on portions of your classes, you may be ready to take your state exam. In most states there may be a two part exam which may include a written and physical skills test. The reason for the two part exam is that you’ll need to demonstrate some of your CNA skills to the examiner before you will be granted your license. They’ll want to make sure that you actually know how to perform the skills, and that you didn’t just study from a book or memorize text. In some states you may receive notification that you passed your test right away, and in other states, you may receive notification a few days or so after the test. Once you have passed your test you’ll typically be listed in the state nursing directory where potential employers can verify the status of your license. At this point, you’ll be ready to begin looking for a job because you’ll have finished the CNA certification process. One last thing to remember is that it’s always important that you check with your state to make sure that you’re completing the right steps because this process can be vary from state to state.

Technology Advancing Education: Can CNA Classes be Taken Online


There’s no doubt that technology has advanced the way that we learn, and has made education more accessible to a larger number of people through online courses and distance learning. Now, more than ever before, people are able to lead their normal (and usually busy) lives, and still have time for school without setting a few nights a week or more aside for school. People are now able to attend class via the internet, and complete assignments when it’s the easiest for them. The question that a lot of people have though is about CNA training, and other medical classes, and it’s “Can these classes be taken online?” There is a short answer and a long answer to this question, and the simplest answer is yes—you can take Certified Nursing Assistant courses online. The thing that you can’t do is take them only online. This means that you’ll need to take at least some of your training in person, and this depends on the state where you live because some states won’t allow you to take them online at all (you would need to check with your local board of nursing to find out).

As web technology progresses, so does the opportunity for educational advancement. Apple’s iTunes University, for example, offers free medical training courses. There are also resources such as the Red Cross that offer online options. If you search medical directories and resource hubs, you may also find free CNA classes online. These courses may not fulfill all state certification requirements, but they should fulfill the necessary base required to continue with your nursing training. Not even progressing internet technology can fully replace in-person training, such as practicing CPR on a course dummy, for example.

You might be thinking that this isn’t fair, and that there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to take them all online, but quite frankly—you’re wrong. The reasoning behind the requirement by most schools to only allow students to take some of their CNA classes online is quite simple: there are just some things that can’t be learned over the internet, and CNA training is one of them. Sure, you can read medical books and understand some theory, but in order to truly understand and master the skills, you’ll need to take your classes in person and physically perform the skills. And this decision isn’t up to the schools in the end anyway, it’s the state where you live that decides the rules on this, and some states don’t allow students to take their CNA classes online at all, so if your state does and you’re interesting in doing this, then consider yourself lucky!

To sum things up, CNA classes can in fact be taken online in some states, but you’ll still need to spend some time in the classroom in order to get your CNA training done, and there is no way around that and it’s something that will most likely never change. However, you need to stop and think for a moment if that’s discouraging to you because it shouldn’t be. To find out more information about whether you can take your CNA classes online, check with the department of health in your state and local schools that offer CNA courses.

How Much Money Does a CNA Make? How Does That Compare to Other Careers?

The age old question of pay—it’s definitely something to consider when you’re looking at different professions and trying to decide what’s best for you. Sure, it’s not the only consideration, but it is something that you need to think about, because you need to earn enough money to live off of and to pay for things that you need. Of course, most people know it’s not a good idea to choose a career solely based on your passions in life, but you don’t want to pick a career that pays well but is completely boring. So how do you find a good balance? Well, you have to explore your own passions, do some research, and try to strike a happy medium. Those looking to be a CNA are in luck if they are passionate about helping other people because CNAs typically earn a good wage or salary.

The amount of money that you can earn as a CNA varies depending upon what part of the country you live in. For example, someone who is working as a CNA in New York City or Los Angeles will earn more than a person working as a CNA in rural Idaho or Nebraska. The reason for this is mostly due to the cost of living associated with these cities. Obviously it cost much more to rent an apartment in Manhattan, NY vs Boise, Idaho or Omaha, NE, so employers have to pay CNAs more in certain cities, and they also charge the patients more for their services.

On average according to the BLS, Certified Nursing Assistants in the US earn about $12 per hour. If you want to know what the salary would be, then just multiply this times the amount of hours that your salary would be for in a year. Keep in mind that these numbers vary by city, state, and even region, so you can earn dramatically different wages in different areas. Where you work can also affect how much you earn. For example, if you work for a hospital, you may earn a higher or lower wage than if you work in a nursing home or private care setting. When you’re trying to figure out how much you’ll make, do as much research as possible, and you should be able to come up with a pretty good estimate.

Source: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nursing-assistants.htm

The Top 10 Interesting Things to Know About Certified Nursing Assistants

1) Being a CNA can be an extremely rewarding career. Some people may report that they get a great amount of joy from helping other people, and seeing their patients living an easier life because they are there to help.

2) Certified Nursing Assistants typically earn a fair wage, $12 per hour in the US on average. Sure, it’s not as high as an RN, but they don’t have to be in school as long as an RN, and it may be a higher wage than what you’d earn for working unskilled labor or a retail job in many cases.

3) The process of becoming a CNA isn’t as confusing as many people think. Sure, you need to meet some preliminary qualifications, and attend class and pass the state test, but that’s the general flow of things, and it won’t take to all that long to get through it.

4) CNA training may vary in length compared to other nursing disciplines, such as RN, BSN, and other careers. It may be as short as a few months (depending upon your state regulations), and because of that it’s possible that it may be able to be completed sooner. This may not always be the case though, and there is not set rule on how long training is for any specific school, etc. This can depend largely on the choices of a student as well as other various factors.

5) CNAs may be able to work in a number of locations, such as hospitals, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, and other health care facilities such as hospice centers.

6) The career outlook for Certified Nursing Assistants is quite good. As long as there are sick people, someone will need to care for them, pursuing education to become a CNA is not a waste of time; it’s not a fad career that won’t be around in a few years. According to the BLS, the rate of growth for CNAs is “faster than average.”

7) Becoming a CNA is a great way to find out if you like nursing without a big investment of time or money. You can spend a little money and time to get your CNA certification, and if you don’t like it, you won’t have wasted two to four years in school to be an RN and a lot of money.

8) If you do like it, you can study to become an RN while you are working as a CNA. This is a path that some people choose because it gives them career experience and money to pay for their RN degree.

9) Being a CNA will help build your caregiving skills, and those skills can transfer to another medical career, even if you decide to leave the nursing profession. As an EMT, phlebotomist, or other medical professional, you’ll still need some of the basic skills you learn as a CNA.

10) In some states, you may be able to take a portion of your training online. You won’t be able to take all of it online, but depending upon where you live, you might be able to take part of the lecture section of the class online, and that may help to free up your schedule and make it easier for you to complete your training if you’re someone who is pressed for time.