Are you looking to become a CNA and wondering what it is that they do? Is becoming a CNA worth it? If you’re looking to answer these questions, then you have come to the right place.
We will provide you with an abundance of benefits to becoming a CNA and what a typical day can look like when you begin working. We will also answer the questions you may have surrounding the path to RN from a CNA.
What are you waiting for? Please keep reading to find several reasons why you should not only become a CNA but potentially use it as a stepping stone to jumpstart the rest of your life.
What Do CNAs Do?
A certified nursing assistant is someone who plays a vital role in the healthcare community. They have an abundance of different responsibilities which benefit the professionals around them. A CNA is often referred to as an entry-level position and is a great starting point for healthcare professionals.
So, what exactly does a certified nursing assistant do? A CNA works closely with the nurses around them and is in a direct customer-facing position. This is a position that allows individuals to multi-task and work with several different individuals. Their tasks can change on any given day. The list below represents typical tasks for CNAs.
Administering Medicine to Patients
A CNA has the trusted authority to pass outpatient medication, though this may vary between facilities. The ability to do so will sometimes depend on the passing of additional medication training. However, they are not allowed to administer all medications. If a patient is the recipient of an injection or a shot, a CNA is not permitted to distribute it. Things like insulin must be given by an LPN or higher.
Aid in Blood Sugar Readings
Though a CNA cannot give shots or injections, they can take a patient blood sugar. If you are unfamiliar with doing this, this often includes pricking the individual with a small needle to force blood flow. This ability may depend on the facility you are working at, as different rules may vary everywhere.
Provide Activities of Daily Living
Activities of daily living are things that individuals must do every day to maintain their lives. This can include things like hygiene, mobility, dressing, and grooming. However, these are only a sample of the tasks. Think about all of the things that you do for yourself regularly. These are things that the CNA will help with throughout their day. These activities may also include providing companionship to patients who may not have a family.
It is not unheard of for a CNA to aid in maintaining the cleanliness of rooms and linens. Tasks may also include stocking and replenishing supplies as well as collecting supplies. CNAs will often assist with patient transport and other patient-related logistics.
What are the Benefits of Becoming a CNA?
There are several benefits to becoming a CNA. The reasons listed below are only a slight look into the benefits of being a certified nursing assistant.
You may be wondering, does a CNA make good money? However, this is relative to what you feel “good money” means. There are several pros and cons of a CNA. One major pro is that the starting age is 16. This allows students to make more money than they usually would at someplace like McDonald’s or a retail chain. However, depending on your experience, your earnings do have the potential to increase from the national average of fourteen dollars an hour.
One of the main reasons individuals start a profession as a CNA is exposure to the healthcare industry. This remains at the forefront of the reasons to be a CNA. You are exposed not only to tasks which you will complete but the tasks of others. You will quickly begin to learn more about what other professions are responsible for and where everyone falls within the healthcare spectrum.
Short Training Time & High Demand
If you require a job and your funds are limited, becoming a CNA is a great place to start. Training time is short, and the necessity of a CNA is always high. It is not likely that you will remain unemployed for long. If you are a hard worker, your ability to gain experience and connections will remain high.
Satisfaction of Helping Others
One benefit that the profession gives is the satisfaction of helping others. If you enjoy caring for people and are an extrovert who loves interacting with people, this is the perfect profession for you.
What Is It Like Working as a Nursing Assistant?
You may wonder what it is like working as a nursing assistant; we will help you answer just that. Working as a nursing assistant can be unpredictable. No two days will generally look the same. Each day will provide you with several opportunities to interact with different patients, their families, and staff.
Each day CNAs will receive a listing of their patient assignments. These assignments can vary from day to day, depending on the environment that you’re working in. With patient assignments that vary, their specific needs will change as well. It is up to the CNA to read up on their particular patients each day to determine what they need. Some patients may need help being fed, others may need their medicine provided to them, and some may need help being transported.
Though CNAs will receive a list of assignments at the beginning of their shift, they will often be called upon for several ad hoc tasks. These tasks may include helping to lift a patient, aiding in patient cleanup, or assisting in any codes that may happen throughout the day. One other job that CNAs will do throughout their day is charting. Charting is the act of documenting everything about a patient that occurs on a given day and documenting what you did. This task is consistent with CNAs, LPNs, and RNs.
These tasks will continue throughout the day. CNAs who work the day shift may end their shifts putting patients down for bed, whereas others may end by serving breakfast. No shift is identical to the last though they may share similar tasks. There are several characteristics of a CNA’s shift that remain the same.
- Fast-Paced – Depending on how busy and adequately staffed your facility is, the pace may run differently. However, many times you will find your day to be fast-paced, full of change. CNAs must be able to pivot at a moment’s notice to a different task while still working through their list of assignments.
- Demanding – A CNA is always needed, and a patient continuously has needs. Though you may go in a patient’s room with the intent to feed them, your 5 min visit may quickly turn into 45 minutes. This is because feeding may turn into, changing which may transform into becoming emotional support for a patient. Your time and care are always in high demand.
- People-Centric – Being a CNA is a very people-centric profession. You are often surrounded by individuals and can not afford to have “performance exciting” when working with a patient, no matter how many people are in the room.
- Rewarding – Overall, being a CNA is a rewarding experience. Although you see unpleasant moments in an individual’s healthcare journey, you also get to see the times when healthcare works. This is when patients get better or when they can be discharged for all of the right reasons.
Can You Become an RN After Being a CNA?
This answer to this question is a resounding yes! However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to. Several individuals make careers out of being a CNA and stick to that job or go in different directions outside of being an RN or registered nurse.
If you are interested in becoming an RN, several nursing bridge programs can be an asset. These programs will aid you in making the transition to nurse quicker by gaining your associate degree in a year or better. This can significantly reduce your road to an RN.
There are several benefits to becoming a certified nursing assistant before a registered nurse.
Faster entrance into the workforce – Becoming a CNA allows you to gain experience in the medical field and get your foot in the door. Starting as a CNA, you will meet other healthcare professionals and individuals who can help by not only providing connections but giving you actual insight into how to succeed in nursing. You also get experience working in different environments and having different experiences with patients as well as staff.
Higher wages – Transitioning from a CNA also introduces higher salaries. The average salary for a CNA sits just under 30,000, with the average nurse salary, though varying by state, being 60,000. However, that is just a start. RN salaries will increase each year and will depend on the venue that you are working in.
Flexibility in career options – Transitioning to an RN after being a CNA allows you to see the career options available to you and introduce you to various potential career paths. RNs have the opportunity to work in several different environments, which you may not think possible. These venues can range from hospitals to schools even to cruise ships. Nursing is a high in-demand field and has several opportunities for all.
Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
This is a question that you will have to start by asking yourself. There are several questions that you can ponder on which can lead you to the correct answer. These questions include:
- Where am I looking to go in my career?
- Is this a stepping stone for something more long-term?
- Is this just a job for me, or do I care about my patients’ well-being?
After you have thought about the reasons behind your decision if you still have answered yes, any other reason will be a cherry on top. Being a certified nursing assistant is a good choice, and there are several reasons to back this up.
Better ability to take care of family members – Being a CNA gives you exposure to various medical techniques, information, and remedies for problems you may encounter at home. You are also able to have a greater level of patience and compassion when dealing with sick individuals. These skills can be invaluable for dealing with individuals in pain.
Foot into the door of the healthcare industry – No matter if you are looking to make a career in the medical sector a permanent change or if you are looking to kickstart your career in the medical field. This is an excellent profession to get your start. If you are looking for a job that allows you to liaise with several individuals, patients and staff, this is the profession for you.
Short Education Time – The CNA profession is extremely popular due to its short education period. Depending on the program you choose, becoming a certified nursing assistant generally takes at most 12 weeks. If you have time to complete your training, a typical accredited nursing program is generally 120 hours and includes classroom and clinical time.
Job Stability – It is safe to say that this profession is not going anywhere anytime soon. CNAs are always in demand, and that number is nowhere near declining. The necessity for Certified nursing assistants is only increasing as baby boomers continue to age and need care.
Flexible Work Schedule – This is certainly a profession that allows you to work a flexible schedule. Some days you may have the ability to work days, nights, or mid-shift. Overtime is also always heavily in abundance.
Several growth opportunities – Though we have mentioned it repeatedly, becoming a CNA is a great way to gain exposure to a variety of medical professions. No matter which direction you are looking to go in, you can view a variety of interactions, ask questions and familiarize yourself with different medical environments.
Wrapping Things Up: Is Becoming a CNA Worth It?
Is becoming a CNA worth it? Well, that ultimately depends on what elements of the job are essential for you. A CNA can be an excellent opportunity for someone looking for a profession that is easy to get into, short in training, and a stable career. It can have great rewards personally and professionally for an individual.
You may be wondering if there are benefits of becoming a CNA; the answer is yes! A CNA can be an excellent benefit for individuals who enjoy job flexibility, a variety of tasks, and days which look different every day. If you’re thinking about becoming a CNA, it is definitely worth the investment. What are you waiting for?
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