Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA)

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    Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are members of staff who work under the direct supervision of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and / or physicians to provide the majority of the routine care and activities of daily living for patients who require basic care.

    The certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a healthcare member of staff who works under the direct supervision of registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and / or physicians. Be mindful that CNAs are known by other titles including patient care assistants, patient care technicians, nurses aides, care partners, orderlies, and direct care staff members. Some states utilize different titles to refer to nursing assistants. For example, Michigan calls their aides competency evaluated nursing assistants (CENAs). On the other hand, aides in New Hampshire are known as licensed nursing assistants (LNAs). In addition, Ohio uses the title of state-tested nursing assistant (STNA) to refer to all aides who practice within the state.

    Duties

    CNAs provide the majority of the routine care and activities of daily living for patients who require basic nursing care. Depending on the policies and procedures of each healthcare facility, CNAs may perform direct care such as vital sign checks, finger stick blood sugar testing with glucometer machines, turning patients, repositioning, toileting, diapering, feeding, dressing, grooming, bed baths, showers, emptying urinals and urinary catheter drainage bags, performing oral care, cleaning bedpans, and making beds. CNAs answer call lights, report changes in patient condition to the nurse, help patients get into and out of bed, operate mechanical lifts to transfer patients, pass out meal trays, transport patients to and from appointments, record intake and output, maintain safety measures, document all the care they have provided, and complete a variety of other tasks that pertain to patient care.

    Work Environment

    CNAs usually work in climate-controlled settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, group homes, residential care facilities, inpatient hospice houses, and assisted living facilities. Virtually all of these workplace settings are in need of 24-hour patient care, so many CNAs work days, evenings, nights, weekends and holidays. Heavy lifting will be required because immobile clients will be unable to transfer themselves from the bed to a wheelchair. Contact with blood, urine, feces and other bodily substances might occur; however, the risk can be minimized through proper use of personal protective equipment when providing the types of direct care that are likely to result in exposure.

    Educational Requirements

    Every state has different requirements for the amount of training time and clinical hours that are required to become a CNA. In general, the training takes anywhere from a few weeks to several months. If you want certification, you will need to attain formal training regardless of where you reside in the US. Thankfully, a person who wants to become a CNA has several choices.

    One option for CNA training is to reply to local advertisements at nursing homes that offer free nursing assistant training in exchange for a commitment to work at the same facility for a specified amount of time (typically six months to one year) after attaining certification. Another reputable option is to train to become a CNA at a community college. An additional choice is to receive nursing aide training at a local Red Cross program. Some state-owned adult education programs offer training to become a CNA. Finally, one can choose to obtain training at a private for-profit school or 'CNA academy' that offers the nursing assistant course, although this is sometimes the costliest option.

    Personal Attributes

    Ideally, CNAs should be patient, calm and able to deal with a variety of patients with different personalities, some of whom might be unfriendly at times. CNAs should also exhibit an accepting attitude toward unpleasant sights and smells. Additionally, the capabilities of multi-tasking and learning quickly will serve CNAs well.

    Salary

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay of nursing aides, orderlies and attendants was $24,010 in 2010. The median hourly pay rate in 2010 was $11.54 per hour.

    Resources

    http://www.redcross.org/ma/boston/ta...stant-training
    http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nu...assistants.htm
    Last edit by TheCommuter on Dec 15, '13
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    eibbarrera, cnatoBe, SeattleJess, and 8 others like this.

  2. Visit  TheCommuter profile page

    About TheCommuter , BSN, RN

    TheCommuter is a moderator of allnurses.com and has varied experiences upon which to draw for articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a registered nurse.

    TheCommuter has '9' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'acute rehabilitation (CRRN), LTC & psych'. From 'Fort Worth, Texas, USA'; 34 Years Old; Joined Feb '05; Posts: 30,186; Likes: 47,642.

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    39 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  NewYorkerGirl profile page
    7
    And they are worth so much more than $11 an hour. My local hospital is doing something new: "NEW GRAD CNA POSITION" the title raved on the website job board, as if they are offering something wonderful (yes, we will hire a brand-new person!). But no mention of a preceptor or induction program. Pay? $10 per hour. All the other CNA jobs are $14.25 an hour. I think they came up with the title just as a way to lower the wages. And I do not live in a cheap part of the country. $10 per hour is starvation wages.
  4. Visit  mrsgreness profile page
    3
    I'm not sure if we have the same scope here in Canada but I'm a health care aide or nursing attendant and I earn $20 an hour. That's a big difference!
    cd365c, Teenie263, and SeattleJess like this.
  5. Visit  mmtorrez89 profile page
    1
    Quote from mrsgreness
    I'm not sure if we have the same scope here in Canada but I'm a health care aide or nursing attendant and I earn $20 an hour. That's a big difference!
    Whoa I would love to make 20$ an hour. I know the cost of living is different in Canada but that is still a big difference. I am SO interested in nursing and healthcare around the world!
    SeattleJess likes this.
  6. Visit  smartnurse1982 profile page
    1
    20/ hr in Canada?
    I made the same amount as an RN in North Carolina.....sad.

    What are the education requirements in Canada?
    SeattleJess likes this.
  7. Visit  TheCommuter profile page
    1
    Quote from smartnurse1982
    20/ hr in Canada?
    I made the same amount as an RN in North Carolina.....sad.
    Yep. I completed nursing school in Oklahoma in 2010, and the University of Oklahoma Medical Center was starting new RNs out at $18.65 per hour. I believe CNAs were earning no more than $10 hourly.
    SeattleJess likes this.
  8. Visit  Hygiene Queen profile page
    2
    Quote from NewYorkerGirl
    And they are worth so much more than $11 an hour. My local hospital is doing something new: "NEW GRAD CNA POSITION" the title raved on the website job board, as if they are offering something wonderful (yes, we will hire a brand-new person!). But no mention of a preceptor or induction program. Pay? $10 per hour. All the other CNA jobs are $14.25 an hour. I think they came up with the title just as a way to lower the wages. And I do not live in a cheap part of the country. $10 per hour is starvation wages.

    Well, the amount a facility has to hype something up is often directly proportional to how asinine it actually is.

    I think you're right and I think it's disgusting.
    Last edit by Hygiene Queen on Dec 16, '13 : Reason: missing word
    SeattleJess and Wise Woman RN like this.
  9. Visit  mrsgreness profile page
    1
    21 weeks full time in Alberta, It varies from province to province. It's a certificate
    Last edit by mrsgreness on Dec 16, '13 : Reason: Added information
    SeattleJess likes this.
  10. Visit  Vishwamitr profile page
    5
    Dear mmTorrez,I could be wrong but everyone seems to compare apples to oranges. Other than hourly rate, one needs to compare cost of living too. For example, if you pay $800 for rent in Toronto but pay only $550 for a comparable apartment in Durham, then $20/hr is really not a huge difference compared with, say, $11/hr in a U.S. city. Another example: They pay over $5/gallon for gasoline whereas we pay $3.5/gallon in the U.S. Well, you get the point.
    Paws2people, SeattleJess, ENurse2b, and 2 others like this.
  11. Visit  Tinkk profile page
    3
    At my local hospital (I live in MN), CNAs have a starting pay typically at $12.50 an hour (differs depending on the unit or setting). I'm sure its less at a nursing home, especially rural ones. Its a shame, they should be getting paid a few more dollars.
    cnatoBe, SeattleJess, and tALLI91768 like this.
  12. Visit  CPCTColeman profile page
    1
    I live in Louisiana an work at a nursing home. Day shift CNA's who work full time make 8.06 an hr. An recently we just got a 3 percent raise so now we make 8.30 but still we do not make enough for all that we are required to do. Nights n Evenings make more but day shift does more of the work than any of the other shift and get the most back lash.
    SeattleJess likes this.
  13. Visit  prnqday profile page
    9
    Can I tell you how much I loved being a CNA. I loved doing direct patient care and having less responsibility. Don't get me wrong, I loved being a LPN and RN as well, however being a CNA was LESS mentally demanding for me. I was a prudent CNA that always reported abnormalities to the LPN or RN. They'd always be appreciative and sometimes I picked up some major illnesses. CNAs are so valuable to the healthcare team. Thank you to all the good CNAs out there.
    futureLVN40, cnatoBe, SeattleJess, and 6 others like this.
  14. Visit  Glycerine82 profile page
    8
    CNA's are one of the top ten most underpaid professions in the country. No, we don't go to school for very long, but we ARE required to take a few classes and pass an exam. I'll never understand why they pay has to be the same as someone working in fast food. (Sometimes, worse!) I feel like the mentality is that CNA's aren't as educated as nurses so they don't work as hard. That is just simply not true! Argh! Makes me insane! For the amount of work involved and the stress It puts on our bodies and minds, one would think we'd get paid MORE for all of that, not less. Makes me sad.

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