Certified nursing assistants are support members on a healthcare team. They provide different services depending on the type of medical facility that employs them. CNAs are mostly hired at nursing homes. At nursing homes and long-term care facilities, nursing assistants are responsible for taking vital signs of patients, recording changes in patients’ conditions for doctors and nurses, and helping patients complete their day-to-day activities. It is possible to work as a nurse assistant without a high school diploma, but most training programs require a GED or traditional high school credential for applicants to be considered for enrollment.
Becoming a CNA is one of the most accessible routes to start a career in healthcare and thousands of new jobs are created each month across the U.S.
Here is a list of possible tasks that a CNA might be required to complete on the job:
- Helping patients exercise and stretch
- Assisting patients to move from one location to another
- Providing a sponge-bath for a bed-ridden patient
- Cleaning up a patient’s hospital room
- Recording a patient’s blood-pressure
- Taking a patient’s temperature
- Collecting a blood sample to send to a medical lab
- Hand-feeding a disabled patient
- Organizing recreational activities at the nursing home
- Socializing with patients
As a healthcare support occupation, CNAs are entry-level workers in a medical team. The places that hire nursing assistants include nursing homes, long-term care facilities, hospitals, schools and daycare facilities, psychiatric hospitals, and rehabilitation centers for physical therapy or substance abuse. They make an average salary of about $26,000, but wages vary greatly depending on the state where you work and the type of institution that employs you.
To work as a nurse aide or nursing assistant, candidates are first required to enroll in a state-approved training program. Once it has been completed, the candidate must then pass a certification exam. Some states do not require a training program to be completed before challenging the certification test. Once you have passed the certification exam, you can be employed as a CNA for two years. To remain employed, you must renew your certification or repeat training before your certificate expires.