What is a CNA? CNA Job Description and Career Guide
If you're considering a new career as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), you may have already asked yourself, "What is a CNA?" and "What does a CNA do?" While that may seem like an easy question to answer, the truth is that there are many different aspects of this job.
It's much more than simply helping patients with basic personal needs.
It's also about educating them about their health and giving them emotional support during what can be some of the most challenging times in their lives.
As you read on, you'll learn all about the CNA job description and what it takes to excel at this rewarding profession.
What is a CNA?
You might be wondering, “What is a CNA?” A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a healthcare professional who provides basic care to patients. CNAs are valuable members of the healthcare team because they allow doctors and nurses more time to focus on patients with more complex needs.
If you want to become a licensed nurse but don't have the requisite education or training yet, becoming a CNA can be an excellent entry-level job for those interested in pursuing nursing as a career.
CNA stands for certified nursing assistant. In order to become one, you'll need about a year's worth of training for certification and experience working in home health care agencies or hospitals before you can be stable in the career.
What does a CNA do?
A CNA's job is to provide basic care to patients. The main responsibilities of a CNAs are:
- Assisting with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, grooming and toileting.
- Providing emotional support to patients.
- Assisting with feeding patients who have difficulty eating on their own because of injury or illness; this may include feeding through a tube or assisting in oral feeding techniques for those who can't swallow safely by themselves.
- Assist with ambulation when necessary; this includes helping patients move from lying down to sitting up as well as getting out of bed or wheelchairs when needed (such as when using the restroom).
How to become a CNA
If you want to become a CNA, there are several things you need to do. First of all, you'll need to join a CNA training program. This will teach you everything from basic first aid skills and communication techniques to how to administer medication safely. Some schools offer online classes as well as in-person ones so that people with busy schedules can still complete their training.
Once your training is over and you've passed the required tests with flying colors, it's time for step two: getting certified. If successful here then congratulations! You're now officially qualified as someone who knows how to do things like change bandages safely without hurting others around them too much!
CNA training is a combination of classroom and clinical training. During the program, students learn about medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, patient assessment, medical ethics and more. They also gain hands-on experience in the hospital or nursing home setting by shadowing CNAs as they perform their duties. Students are required to pass both written exams and practical assessments in order to graduate from a CNA program with a certificate in nursing assistant certification.
Most CNA programs last between six months to one year; however it varies based on what type of job you want after graduation. For example: if you have plans on becoming an RN (registered nurse) then expect several years worth of schooling with nothing less than an associate's degree required before entering into any healthcare setting.
CNA certification is a good first step. It’s the easiest way to get started in the healthcare industry. If you’re looking for a career change, CNA certification provides an excellent opportunity to build experience and gain credentials that are recognized by employers nationwide.
CNA certification is also an excellent way to get a job and earn more money as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
Skills and traits of an excellent CNA
If you want to become a CNA — you’ll have to understand that there are a few key traits or characteristics you’ll have to have or gain.
- Patience: As a CNA, you'll be helping people who are often in pain and experiencing severe physical disabilities. You must have the ability to show kindness and empathy in times of distress.
- Communication skills: Your ability to communicate effectively is key for making sure that your patient's needs are met.
- Teamwork: You'll work with other members of the healthcare team to make sure that everyone's needs are met efficiently, so it is important that you are able to work well with others.
- Good listening skills: You will be responsible for recognizing when patients need assistance and responding appropriately by asking questions or calling for help from a medical professional if necessary. This requires good listening skills so that you can understand what they need from you before offering assistance on your own accord (and vice versa).
Job outlook for CNAs
As the nation's population continues to age and grow, the need for CNAs is expected to continue growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 6% increase in employment for CNAs from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than average.
The job outlook for CNA jobs is expected to be better than that for many other occupations. The job market tends to be more competitive for CNA positions than it is for other occupations because there are more people who have completed training programs and want these kinds of jobs.
The job market has not been negatively impacted by changes in technology or automation because there are still many tasks that can only be performed by humans.
You Are Essential
A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is an essential part of the healthcare team who provides basic care to patients. CNAs are often the first point of contact for patients and are usually the only healthcare team member who interacts with them. CNAs work under the supervision of a registered nurse, physician’s assistant or licensed practical nurse (LPN).
CNAs may assist with dressing, bathing, grooming and feeding patients; cleaning bedpans; providing medication reminders; changing linens; assisting with exercises such as range-of-motion activities; helping maintain maximum independence in performing activities of daily living (ADLs).
Some CNAs also administer medications under direction from a doctor or licensed professional after proper instruction has been given.
CNAs are absolutely essential players in our healthcare system, providing basic but critical care for patients. If you’re a caring and compassionate person who wants to make a real difference in people’s lives, a certification as a CNA is an excellent place to start.