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CNA, RN....Which One?

Nurses   (1,094 Views 7 Comments)
by my3whys my3whys (New Member) New Member

598 Visitors; 3 Posts

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I am new here and have questions :o I ran an in home daycare for 12 yrs. and now I want to explore the Medical Field. I am not quite sure what the difference between an RN and a CNA is, can someone please explain it to me? Also, on the schooling side how long does it take for either one? I know ads out there right now that are saying you can do it in as little as 120 hrs. is that legit?

Thank you,

Melissa

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BrnEyedGirl has 18 years experience and specializes in Cardiac, ER.

18,574 Visitors; 1,235 Posts

Welcome to allnurses! A CNA is a certified nurses assistant, an RN is a registered nurse. Depending on what area of the country you are in a, you can work as an aide without any formal training. An RN requires that you graduate from an approved nursing school (minimum of 2yrs) and then pass a national exam to get your license to practice. You are required to have a license in the state you work. There is a huge difference in education, job responsibilities, scope of practice as well as pay.

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mrsraisinkain has 3 years experience and specializes in Hospice.

5,154 Visitors; 293 Posts

A CNA is a Certified Nursing Assistant. It is an unlicensed position. My nursing assistant classes were 2 weeks long. At the end of the two weeks I took a test to become state certified. It depends on what are you are in but around here CNAs make about $8 - 10 an hour and they perform mostly direct patient care - feeding, bathing, ambulation (walking), etc. A CNA can work in a nursing home, hospital, or home health care. (Maybe more - this is what comes to mind)

An RN is a Registered Nurse. This requires an Associates Degree in Nursing. An RN performs many specific skills they have been carefully trained and tested on, from administrating medications and starting IVs to assessing patients upon admission and patient education. An RN can even assist in surgery, assist in delivering babies, and work in doctor's offices, emergency rooms, outpatient clinics, home health care, insurance companies... the possibilities are endless. Salary depends on years of experience, the area you live in, and the area of nursing you practice in. In my area an RN can make $20 - $30 an hour.

There is a big difference between the duties and responsibilities and liabilities of a CNA vs an RN. Becoming a CNA is a faster way to see if you enjoy the nursing profession, get your feet wet.

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1,792 Visitors; 16 Posts

What RN Cardiac said is all right on. If you have interest but don't really know what to do - a great idea is to take a job as a CNA, for many reasons. 1. You can see what nursing is about and whether it is for you or not. In the meantime earning a living. If you decide it's not for you, you haven't committed too much time and money. 2. If you've never worked in the medical field it will give you great experience in general medical stuff. I think nursing schools look favorably on people with medical experience when sorting through applicants. 3. As an RN later, you'll have a greater appreciation/respect for what CNAs do everyday. 4. While you're going to school you can probably still work some shifts as a CNA to help with finances. ALot of places will work with your schedule when you're going to nursing school. 5. You may have a job with whatever facility you worked for as a CNA when you graduate.

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598 Visitors; 3 Posts

OK, great info Thank You :D Now, where would one look to find such an opportunity to "get my feet wet"?

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mrsraisinkain has 3 years experience and specializes in Hospice.

5,154 Visitors; 293 Posts

I would begin checking with local nursing homes. Around here some of them will train you and pay for your state test if you agree to work for them for a certain amount of time. You can also look at local hospitals. Sometimes they don't even require you to be formally trained - they prefer to train you themselves. When searching for open jobs keep in mind they may be listed as PCT (patient care technician), PCA (patient care assistant) or STNA in some states (State Tested Nurse Aid). I took my classes at our local job center none of the local facilities offer training. You can check with your local Job and Family Services. Many county-run technical schools offer CNA classes.

My classes were 5 days a week for 2 weeks including 2 days of clinicals. They cost $600 which did include the cost of my state exam. I also had never worked in the medical field and because a nurse aid made me realize I want to be a nurse. I just graduated as an LPN and am waiting to take my state board exam. An LPN is a licensed practical nurse that doesn't have as much school or training as an RN and are more limited in their scope of practice (and don't make as much money either).

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NC Girl BSN specializes in Psych, LTC, Acute Care.

13,113 Visitors; 1,845 Posts

Try your local community college. It should be listed in the Continuing Education section.

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