Is it hard to become a CNA? Are you looking for a career opportunity that will allow you to meet healthcare professionals from different backgrounds and walks of life? You’ve come to the right place.
This article will give you the information you need to determine if being a CNA is worth it. This is where you will find information on becoming a certified nursing assistant and some of the most challenging parts of the job. We are even giving you the rundown on choosing a CNA program for you.
If this sounds like information that can help you, all you must do is keep reading. What are you waiting for? All of the data is at your fingertips and ready to help you make a decision that has the potential to change your life.
Is Becoming a CNA Worth It?
The short answer to this question is a resounding yes. If you stumbled on this article, you are likely interested in becoming a CNA or some interest in the medical field. Becoming a CNA is a great way to get exposure to the healthcare field, learn the basics, and meet other individuals like you. There are several benefits to becoming a CNA. These reasons are not limited to the following:
Though being a CNA won’t have you taking trips to the yacht club, it does boast a comfortable start for a career in healthcare. The age that an individual can begin working as a CNA is 16. This allows a person to get experience and an excellent start for a teenager. This gives students the ability to make more money than they usually would at someplace like McDonald’s or a retail chain.
One of the main reasons that individuals start a profession as CNAs 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 are the Requirements for Becoming a CNA?
If you’re wondering how to become a certified nursing assistant, we’ll answer that question just for you. Becoming a certified nursing assistant is a short process that can be completed in a matter of weeks. It is even open to individuals as young as 16, giving even students early exposure to the workforce. Unlike other professions within the healthcare field, individuals are not required to hold a college degree to begin working. On the contrary, individuals only need a high school education to enroll in a CNA program.
This CNA program is the next step after receiving your high school education. These programs are state-approved and may have different requirements depending on the state that you live in. Much like other types of nurses like LPNs and RNs, the state board oversees CNA training and may differ for this reason. These programs also have a small cost which may also vary by state. Typically, these programs can range in price from a couple of hundred dollars to upwards of a couple thousand. This all depends on the chosen program.
When choosing the best CNA program, there are several things to take into account. These items include
- CNA Program length
- Program Cost
- Clinical Experience & Education options
The number of hours needed to complete your course will vary, but they will need to be completed before you are eligible for the exam. The CNA competency exam is the next step in the process after completing the CNA training program.
If you have passed the exam, your name is then listed on your state’s registry for CNAs. If you have not passed the exam, do not worry, it is not the end of the world. You are likely not alone and will have the ability to retake the test. However, one upside is this retake generally happens in sections. You will only need to retake the areas that you have failed. Fortunately, this can often be done right away, though you typically have two years to do so.
Give yourself extra time to study and make sure you understand what you did wrong before going in for your next attempt. In the event that you fail the exam three times, it may cost you a little extra this time around. If you have failed the exam all three times, you will need to retake your entire CNA program. Though this experience is rare, it does happen. You will need to go through the full enrollment and process again.
After completing the beginning steps and successfully passing your exam, you are ready to find a job! Once you have begun working in the field, you will be required to maintain your certification. This generally happens every two years. You will be given a renewal date which will need you to verify your hours worked.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
We’ve already mentioned that getting your CNA license is a short process. However, how short is short? Well, to be honest, the answer isn’t very straightforward. This is because there are a variety of programs that offer different options for students. This can also vary due to the differing requirements by state.
The specific program will take anywhere from four weeks to 12 weeks to finish, and you even have the option to complete the educational requirement online. These programs are generally divided into two sections, one for in-class education and the other for clinicals. In an online program, clinicals will still be in the traditional setting.
The classroom portions provide information on the basics of patient care. This information is presented to students in a variety of formats and will be used when students begin clinicals. It is imperative for students to pay attention during this period so they are able to apply what they learned. During clinical is where this application will occur under the supervision of a nurse educator.
There are several different program structures that may allow you to complete your requirements in tandem. For example, some programs may offer the ability to complete the clinical hours while you are performing your in-class training. This allows you a faster time to work.
What are the Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant?
A CNA performs several tasks each day that are imperative for the well-being of a patient. A CNA works closely with the nurses around them and is a direct customer-facing role. They not only liaise with the patient but also the patient’s family. The CNA has a number of duties and provides much-needed assistance to not only patients but nurses as well.
Bathing & Grooming Patients
One significant responsibility of CNAs is bathing and grooming patients. This may include brushing an individual’s teeth, shaving them as needed, and even brushing their hair. One challenging part of grooming a patient may be changing their diapers or cleaning up their human waste.
Taking Patient Vital Signs
Contrary to popular belief, a CNA cannot give shots or injections. However, one thing that can be done with a needle is taking a patient’s blood sugar. This will often include pricking the individual with a small needle to force blood flow. This ability may depend on the facility that you are working at, as different rules may vary everywhere.
Communicating with Healthcare team and Patient
One primary responsibility of a CNA may be to provide information to other healthcare officials like nurses and physicians. They may also have to communicate with a patient’s family members, especially if they are working from home.
Provide Medications to Patients
A CNA has the trusted authority to pass outpatient medication in a variety of states but not all. 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.
What is the Most Challenging Part of Being a Nurse Assistant?
Several parts of nursing are hard, and a CNA is no stranger to having to perform complex tasks. However, there are several areas that a new CNA may struggle in until they are more seasoned within the position. These challenges include but are not limited to the following activities.
Seeing Patients Die or Conditions Worsen
One major thing that can make or break a person’s love for the CNA profession is seeing patient conditions worsen or even seeing them die. Depending on the environment that you are working in, it may be hard to get close to an individual then see them expire. This can naturally take a mental toll on a CNA or nurse.
Difficult patients are one sad reality of being a certified nursing assistant. You have to imagine that dealing with health issues, potential fatalities, and non-existent families is hard for a patient. Accepting a stranger’s care may not be the easiest. Therefore some patients may not be the most polite, and things may escalate. Therefore, a CNA must practice patience and the ability always to keep their cool. Patient frustration can culminate in acts like kicking, biting, punching, or even spitting.
Depending on the location in which you may work, your hours can vary. A typical CNA will perform a specific shift assignment which can be 8 or 12 hours in length. These hours may grow based on the availability of other staff and the ability of the facility. Inadequate staffing is a significant issue within the healthcare industry. The need for nurses continues to rise each day and can be seen firsthand in medical facilities.
Consistently Changing responsibilities
One thing about a CNA’s day is that though the tasks may seem similar, they are likely never the same. Patients will change on several occasions throughout the week. CNAs must be prepared for a changing workload and different expectations from different patients and even their families. This can be not easy to juggle and is likely not a position for someone who craves consistency.
How Much Certified Nursing Assistants Make on Average?
Being a CNA is a great stepping stone to a career in healthcare. However, unlike other professions which require a degree, being a CNA only mandates a high school diploma. This can be seen in the salary differences for CNAs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a CNA is $32,050 in 2020. This is also equivalent to $15.41 an hour. This wage can increase or decrease depending on where you obtain your license. For example, Alaska boasts the highest pay with an average of $42,500. Louisiana comes in dead last with an average of $24,300.
Wrapping Things Up: Is it Hard to Become a CNA?
Is it hard to become a CNA? No! All you have to do is grab a CNA exam study guide and a quick-paced program, and you’ll be a CNA in no time. Some programs will even allow you to finish your program in as little as four weeks and be eligible to take your exam immediately.
There are several benefits to becoming a CNA and an abundance of locations where CNAs are needed. This includes hospitals, nursing facilities, and schools. Students can benefit greatly from becoming CNAs at a young age. This gives them the opportunity to save and potentially grow within the industry.
Though being a CNA has several benefits, it is not without its difficulties. Patients, though also a reward, can be extremely difficult to deal with. This is because you are dealing with your patient and their families, as well as potentially being emotional support for them. This can be hard and, at times, draining; however, being a CNA is most certainly worth it if you are passionate about patient success and healthcare.