Can someone tell me more about being a CNA?

  1. Hello everyone! I am a pre-nursing student. I just started my freshman year in September. So, since I have 4 years, do you think it would be helpful to work as a CNA? Can someone tell me about what it is that CNAs do and the duties of a CNA? Where do they typically work? I would love as much info on this as possible. Can you do it part-time or are the majority of the CNA jobs full time? How much does the training cost? Would it be valuable to me since I am working on becoming an RN through BSN? I would like to do this part-time while I am in school. I currently work at a retail store and I've been there for 2 years. I know the pay for a CNA isn't that great, but I don't mind. I am making .45 above minimum wage now so I think anything can pretty much be better! I am also not really looking for money, I just want to know if it would help me with my future in nursing. Thank you so much to anyone who attempts to answer any of my 100 questions Sorry I always ask so many!
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   jb2u
    Yes, it is helpful to work as a CNA before becoming a Nurse. Yes, you can work full-time, part-time, or prn (as needed). Your job will be to help the Nurse by doing the "basic" care so that he/she can do the stuff that requires a license such as passing meds, assessments, admissions, calling doctors, talking with family, etc.

    The basic care that the CNA provides includes...vital signs, bed and baths, passing out water, assisting with feeding for those that can not feed themselves, getting weights on pts., giving the bedpan or assisting to the restroom, walking the pt in the hallway, turning pts that can not turn themselves every two hours, assisting pt with getting dressed (LTC usually), assisting the nurse with turning pt for wound care, and many other things. In some states, you can also draw blood, basic wound care, ecg's, blood sugar checks, and the like.

    It will be great experience. IMHO. Good luck to you.

    Sincerely,
    Jay
  4. by   slou!
    Thank you so much for your informative answer! Now I noticed a lot of CNAs are working in LTC and nursing homes, do they all? Or do they work in hospitals too? Thanks again!
  5. by   slou!
    Any also, where do you get trained if say, you wanted to be a CNA in a hospital? How do you get certification and about how much does it cost? Thanks
  6. by   jb2u
    CNA's can work in hospitals, nursing homes, or home health care agencies.
    Some nursing homes will train you and pay for your certification. You can also go to a technical school for CNA. You need to look in your local paper or yellow pages to find schools in your area that offer such training. Training cost can be free if trained in a nursing home or $300-$4,000 depending on which school you go to. After training, you will take a 70 question test (multiple choice) and a skills test (where you demonstrate certain skills such as handwashing, changing an occupied bed, giving a bed bath, etc.).
  7. by   Megsd
    Another similar thing to look into is Home Health Aide. You do the same activities, for the most part, but you travel to your pt's home to provide the care. I did both and preferred home health because I could set my own schedule and my own patients, but still had the opportunity to do the same CNA skills I was familiar with.
  8. by   sam027000
    I would encourage you to look into it! I know most of the nursing schools around here give more points towards admission if you are a CNA and extra points if you have actually worked in a CNA role. This is just an added benefit to getting actual hands on experience while going to school. Quite a few in my CNA class are using this as an opportunity to truly explore the nursing career.

    I am starting nursing school in Jan and am currently in a CNA class. My class cost about $100 + $75 for books. The fee to apply for certification testing after finishing the class is another $100. Most community colleges that have nursing programs also offer the CNA class, only it's usually through the community education/continuing ed dept.

    I am excited b/c I feel like the transition to nursing school won't be as stressful b/c I'll already have knowledge on the basics like vital signs, ADLs, basic patient care, etc.

    Good Luck with your decision! :spin:
  9. by   AuntieRN
    I agree with sam02700...I was a CNA for over 20 years before I went to nursing school and I felt I had a slight advantage that first semester over my classmates. I was already comfortable with walking into a pts room and doing the basic care. I knew how to make an occupied bed and take vital signs. I knew how to transfer a patient, give them a bedbath or shower. I knew how to take their weights and measure their intake and output. All that kind of stuff that you usually learn your first semester. Apparantly my instructor felt I had an advantage also as she always paired me up with a person who had never even stepped foot in a facility or told my classmates to come find me for assistance. I did not mind helping anyone and knowing what I already knew let me focus more on the stuff I did not know like the theory etc which I had a hard time with at first. Good luck to you!!
  10. by   25(2)+2
    i am a cna/cma in a long term care facility. it is to your advantage to become a nurse's aide. one of the main reasons i feel this way is because you will be the cna's boss when you are the nurse on the floor. by being a cna at one time yourself you will know first hand their resposibilities and what is expected of them. i can honestly say that the nurses that i work under that have been cna's first have more understanding of what we do and therefore there is more respect for each other. if i was going to go into nursing i would definately want to have been a cna first.
  11. by   slou!
    Thank you all to your really helpful responses!

    That is one of the main reasons I would like to become a CNA: is because as an RN, if I would be telling the CNA what to do, wouldn't it make sense for me to do it first? I have never worked in the medical field (yet!) but I hate it whenever my boss delegates tasks that are unreasonable and impossible to do in a certain time frame. I would hate to do this, so it makes sense to actually do the work before telling others to do so!

    I also want to learn as much information before going into nursing school that I can!

    The only thing is the cost, ouch! I am already paying thousands and thousands and thousands for my college tuition, so I really don't want to have to pay much to get trained to be a CNA. I guess I will have to, but nothing in the thousands, which is probably not even possible! Does anyone know where I could find the LOWEST costing CNA program?

    Thank you all SO much for answering all of my questions! Seriously I would be lost without this forum
  12. by   sam027000
    The local public community colleges are pretty affordable. Also in some areas, Goodwill Industries offers the class at very affordable rates through their education programs. Also, check with some local long term care centers or hospitals b/c they might offer the class for free if you agree to work form them.

    Good Luck!!
  13. by   vampiregirl
    Just thought I'd add another thought to the list... many nursing homes (I'm not sure about hospitals because I've never worked in one), offer great tuition assistance programs for CNA's going into nursing. Often, they also are flexible with scheduling to accommodate school schedules. I know of nursing students who just worked weekends... then they had all week to for classes and to study. If you are a valuable CNA, when you complete your nursing certification then they have a nurse who already knows the residents, knows how the facility works and the management already knows you.

    CNA work isn't easy, but it's very rewarding. And at least around where I live, it pays decently, more than most retail jobs.
  14. by   turbohound
    Hi, I'm a CNA in a SNF/LTC, and I can honestly say it's the hardest job I've ever done. I work NOC shift, and I typically have approx 20 - 22 patients. I do a run of brief changes, and I'm bathed in sweat from turning, pulling, and positioning patients while changing their briefs. We are a "2-person only" lift facility. But the tiny philapina's I work with, need 4 people to lift patients, and they all have their own 20 patients to take care of. So it's every man for himself. In the past week, I've been punched, kicked, bitten, scratched, and contracted viral pneumonia. Two of my patients have died, and another two are on hospice. I'm trying to get into nursing school, and I thought being a CNA would be a way to get into the field. But the facility I work at doesn't assign enough staff to give anything approaching good care to the patients. The nurses just push meds. I make $11.60/hr, and by the end of a shift I can't stand the sound of bed alarms and call bells.

    Lord God please help me. I want so much to help these people, but there are too many, and if I stop to help, I fall behind in my work. If I fall behind, the patients end up swimming in urine in their beds. I'm so tired, so very tired.

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