CNA Wanna Be?

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    I'm going back to school in the Fall to, hopefully, obtain my BSN... I'm very excited; however, until then, I'd like to get some clinical experience. I've been thinking about the CNA field...

    So, how does one become a CNA? (I live in Kentucky.) What are their duties? Do you recommend this route? Why or why not? What is the average pay for a CNA? Are there other clinical options without having to go through extensive (i.e. long term) courses/education?

    I'm currently a stay at home mom, but need to start working soon so I can save up some money - and possibly gain clinical experience - but would like to read your comments and/or suggestions before I put a lot of time into something that may not work out. Thanks for your comments!!!
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  4. 9 Comments so far...

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    I have worked as a cna since I was in high school. Most cna courses here in MI run two weeks. Nurse aids assist the nurses by providing bedside pt care. It is a lot of dirty work and requires heavy lifting;if you work in ltc. I think working as an aid just made me want to get out of nursing. However I never wanted to be a nurse. If you are a humble person and you have a passion for taking care of the sick. GO FOR IT!

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    Nursing assistant
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    I live in Ky too and I had to get my CNA at KCTCS before I started nursing school at UK. I now work as a Nursing Care Tech (one of the many names for CNAs) in the ER at UK. I also work some for an agency. The area hospitals here range from $7.00-$11.55/hr. Agencies pay more, but it is variable and my shifts frequently get cancelled at the last minute when the census goes down or staffing goes up. I know alot of LTC facilities in the area will put you through the class and pay you while you are getting trained. If you take this route, be prepared to commit to working for them for a while.
    Personally, I feel CNA work is invaluable experience if you want to persue a career in nursing. I learned more in the ER at UK in one summer than I have in 3 semesters of nursing school. It will also give you a "feel" for nursing and you can see if it is really for you. There is also a huge need for CNAs in the area, so I'm sure if you go through the class, you will have no trouble getting a job.
    I wish you the best of luck!
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    Born 2B: I would highly recommend working as a CNA before becoming a nurse. I did and believe me when I tell you that you have a better appreciation for the work that CNA's perform under your supervision. The work is hard but the experience is invaluable. Along with basic ADL skills, I learned how to prioritize and quick little short cuts. It helps me now in the position I am in as charge nurse. The aides know they can come to me for help with tasks that take two people, instead of some other staff members that tell them to find another CNA to help. This leads to a better working situation, in my opinion. Be prepared...it's hard work...it's dirty work...and it's work that is very much unappreciated. Look at the situation as voluntarily undergoing "boot camp" in the military. Good luck in the future.
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    I'm just finishing up my last semester of nursing school, and have been working almost the entire time as a nurse intern. Mainly, my duties are the same as a CNA's along with a few other skills that I am able to do because I'm in school. It has helped me tremendously while in school! I'm comfortable in the clinical setting because of this experience. It is hard work, but as another poster said, it gives you appreciation for the CNAs you work with and shows just how valuable they are to the patients' care. I also get to observe a lot of different procedures and practice skills. It seems that when most nurses know that you are a student, they go out of their way to help you and let you do as much as you can. Hospitals in this area hire students as interns after the first semester of nursing school, once you have learned the basics of pt care. CNA courses around here run about 4 wks. Also, you can challenge the CNA test without taking a course, although I don't know what is really on the test to say whether or not someone without experience could pass it without the course. I don't know how much CNAs get paid, but nurse interns make $9-10/hr. As far as duties go, at my hospital, CNAs do vital signs, I&Os, baths and linens, clean-ups, turning pts, blood draws, EKGs, pt transports, and on and on. Good luck!

    [This message has been edited by janine3&5 (edited February 14, 2001).]
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    I am currently a second semester junior in a BSN program. I became a CNA at age 16 (I am now 22) to see if nursing was what I wanted to do. Well it definetly is! I cannot stress how much my CNA has helped me! I feel like I have an advantage over some of my classmates who weren't CNA's. The hospital that I worked at is also the one I do my clinical rotations at. I know most of the nurses, some of the doctors, and I just feel like I have an upper hand.

    One more thing, if you decide to work at a hospital, ask the nurse if you can observe her doing things. (inserting an IV, foley cathether, administrating medications, etc). It will all be beneficial in the long run. Good luck!
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    Absoloutely
    Become a CNA. You can get a class at a community college, or sometimes for free at the hospital if you agree to work for them.
    I worked as a nurse technician, and was able to insert foleys (I don't care if I never put another one in... do EKG's, draw labs, assist with procedures,etc. In addition I helped patients with meals, bathing, walking, took vital signs, got refreshments, etc.etc.etc...
    Working as an aide will make you very comfortable in the acute care setting- talking with pts etc.
    In addition, if you work hard, you will probably be offered a job at the place you are working. Its a great way to start. Not always fun, but always interesting.
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    Thanks for the advice and personal stories! This is a BIG help to me... I decided to look into CNA training in the near future - wish me luck!

    Michele
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    born2 b,
    I agree. I started as a cna in '94. I went through a job-training program that paid for it in my state. after a few years I decided to go on to get my RN. while I was in school, after the first semester, you are eligible for your cna licensure, no test needed. I don't think 2wks training is going to get you far-you can check out your local area nursing homes or hosp. for training classes. it's a great way to get your feet wet and feel comfortable in the health care setting. it will definitely benefit you through school. and if you do get a job in the hosp. the nurses are usually more than willing to show you and maybe even let you do things (under their supervision), knowing your a student nurse. also, after the 3rd semester of school, you can obtain your LPN license and start working as a nurse before you grad. but make sure you finish school, a lot of people get there LPN and quit, it's only 3-4 more months and it's worth it..I got my LPN and then grad. with my ADN 3m later(still waiting to pass the boards) but like I said, it IS worth it...good luck!!!
    p.s. I couldn't tell you what the pay rate is around your area but it can range between $8-$12 depending on where you work. agency does pay more but you need a little experience first. it will all go by pretty fast-it may not feel like it at first, but when it's done, you'll look back and say, "wow, I can't believe it's over already,"
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    Definitly!! I personally think that ALL nurse should be rquired to work as a CNA for at least 3 mos full time before they take over thier nursing position! I worked as a CNA for 5 years before going for my LPN. I still can't get over the Rns who have never assisted someone with a bedpan!! You will not want for a job thats for sure & it will help you to be more at ease in a clinical setting. The CNA course here in Ny is quite in depth, runs approx. 3mos including 1 month of supervised clinical training in a couple of the local facilities. (8 hour days)
    Good Luck!!


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