Should all nursing students be required to be a CNA for one year? - page 4

Okay, please dont take my head off......but I hear/see so many students/new nurses regret the career path for whatever the reason maybe. My question is......Should all future nurses be required by... Read More

  1. by   SJSU_Mami
    Where would they all get hired? Where I live they've been laying off CNAs. The unit I did my last semester clinicals in no longer uses CNAs. I know at my nursing school we were considered CNA qualified after one year of school. But nobody around here was hiring; trust me a lot of us tried!
  2. by   proudmommielpn
    Here in KY when I was in Nursing School it was required. I was already a CNA and had been for 2 years and I think it was very beneficial for me especially when I went to clinicals and all the other girls in the class just took the class and didn't work as a CNA. It also helped me alot when 1/2 of our clinicals were completed in the nursing home I worked in. So, I do feel like it should be required, you learn alot of respect for CNA's! Please be nice with your posts.
  3. by   abundantjoy07
    By law? No way. While having CNA training is a good's just more money that we would have to pay in order to make it where we want to be. More students should voluenteer or talk to a nurse. Read about it. And yes sign up to be a CNA. But by law? No, that's a little too much.
  4. by   ICUsleep
    Hello. I can't see why the poster thinks this is something to be "required by law". Do you also think that med students should HAVE TO start at the bottom of the totem pole to make them more patient friendly? That would almost make more sense to me than requiring nursing students, who will be doing nothing BUT patient care during clinicals take a REQUIRED CNA course, because we act as CNAs all throughout clinicals (without the benefit of pay!)

    At my school, it was "highly recommended" that prospective students take a CNA course, but most of us have not. The students who have been and are CNAs certainly seemed more confident than the rest of us during the first semester, but guess what....we all learned and performed the duties of a CNA while at clinicals and will be doing so for the remainder of the program save the end Practicum course (at least I hope to have a CNA to help me then, since I'll be on my own with 5 to 6 patients!)

    Ponder this....did the students who were CNAs before nursing school walk into their jobs as a confident CNA? NO. Everyone has to learn these things, and after the first semester, I am much more comfortable at clinicals, as are most of us. It took some getting used, bathing, bed making, but these things can certainly be learned while in school, and it seems that most nursing schools do incorporate this into their teaching. Some of us actually think that the CNA duties are OVERemphasized in our program. No offense, but a lot of what I'm doing I will NOT be doing as an RN, and certainly not as a CRNA, which is the field I plan on working in. I realize other areas of nursing will require the nurses to perform CNA duties. If those nurses haven't figured out how to bathe or clean a patient after two years of doing it in nursing school...then they probably won't be passing the N-CLEX either.:chuckle

    I have (and will be doing for the next year) the duties of a CNA plus those of a nurse all WITHOUT PAY, so believe me when I say I will always appreciate good CNAs because it is a tough job and CNAs are greatly needed.
    I couldn't help but notice from most of the posts on this thread that the majority of people who feel this should be a requirement happen to be CNAs.
  5. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Do you also think that med students should HAVE TO start at the bottom of the totem pole to make them more patient friendly?
    There's a few i can think of now that working their way up would have done them well. Might actually make them appreciate those other who help in pt. care.

    I couldn't help but notice from most of the posts on this thread that the majority of people who feel this should be a requirement happen to be CNAs.
    And i also saw quite a few nurses who, even after 4-5 years of school, couldn't give a bed bath or feed a pt., because their program focused on meds and paperwork. Which is why i don't see the harm in taking the class, but never said it should be a law.
  6. by   LPN1974
    Well, we know that CNA duties are all skills that every nurse is SUPPOSED to learn and SHOULD be able to master and demonstrate within a certain amount of time.
    I mean, my goodness, how long does it take to give a bath and make a bed??
    Personally, I think if students could demonstrate these skills within the early part of school, they should be able to go on to a higher level of training.
    I remember back in my own LPN training, that it seemed like we did alot of bathing and bedmaking that we could have been doing something else to help prepare us.
    There is so much I didn't get to learn back when I went to school, sometimes I wish I could go thru an LPN course today just for the benefit of obtaining newer knowledge.
    Where I work I feel like I've "lost" alot. I've been there almost 25 years, and altho I love the work it's not acute care. Most I do is bandage up, steri strip or glue lacerations, send people out for x-rays, put in a foley once a month, and give meds.
    Sorry for a long post. It was just things on my mind.
  7. by   James Huffman
    This has turned out to be a very interesting thread. I think what bothers me is that there seems to be some nurses (none here) who think that the essence of nursing is very simple technical skills. It's not. At the same time, bedside skills are VERY important, and should not be neglected, and I get irritated by nurses who are bad at a particular skill, and then pretend it's "beneath" them to get better. But some of the skills mentioned are a part of a complex of professional duties. Bed baths, for example, are useful in assessing skin integrity, hydration levels, among other things. Same with, to give an example we all know and love, dealing with bedpans, which can give the nurse a lot of information (probably more than we want to know :-) about nutritional status, hydration, absorption, etc. A nurse and the CNAs who work together need to be a team, and even if the nurse if not doing the actual hands-on care, the nurse must know what's going on with that care.

    I started out as a CNA. I learned a huge amount about bedside care, and it has stood me well. I would oppose an legal requirement for CNA training, but I know I'm not the only one who values what I learned there.

    Jim Huffman, RN
  8. by   NicInNC
    CNA I certification is a pre-req at my school. Then we also get extra points if we get our CNA II. I'm going to take my CNA I classes this summer.
  9. by   CA CoCoRN
    At my college, MSMC, when we began our practicals, we did indeed learn those core skills (which become the CNAs practice scope) and did them repeatedly in order to master them. It's those direct care skills on which the rest of nursing is developed, built and expanded to infinitum. However, nursing is NOT simply turning, changing, ADLs.
    After 1 quarter of being in the nursing program, we could be "certified" to work in hospitals as "techs" or Unlicensed NA. I did that 3/4 of the way through my program when I had to quit my traditional job (child problems).

    Insofar as having a mandate that all nursing students should be CNAs: NO.

    As with any other field of study, one should do one's research to determine if that profession is "for them". Even if they don't find out until they are in the's their choice to drop and go toward another career.
  10. by   JBudd
    [QUOTE=meesa214] Only now we also pass meds and do assessments. It's not until the 4th semester that we actually move into more of an RN role where we don't do baths and linen changes and fall into more of a leadership role QUOTE]

    Are you talking about a leadership rotation? Because I assure you, as an RN/BSN I have done baths and linen changes for a great many years, (its a great time to do those assessments).
  11. by   bluesky
  12. by   rach_nc_03
    Quote from greentea
    I'm a nursing student right now and I started out as a CNA. Of course I feel like it gave me an advantage and it's really helped me a lot, but I don't think a law should be made requiring student to be CNAs. It would definitely be in a nursing student's best interest to get some good experience like this, and there is always the option of sitting for the CNA test to get license so that one could pick up some extra hours and expereince while in school. Everyone's paths are different. Some people get their first medical experience through working as EMTs also. If someone was interested in working in trauma, having CNA experience might not necessarily help as much as having experience as an EMT. I would highly recommend it to people thinking about nursing school if it's feasible for them, but you'll learn what you have to learn at some point anyways. Being a CNA gives you a leg up in terms of confidence and understanding things in the beginning of nursing school which can be a big, big help.
    good point. my school required CNA-I listing with the state for entrance into the program. Since I felt I'd lean toward trauma or intensive care, I did an EMT course first (8 hours per week for a semester), then took a 1-day seminar to be listed as a CNA-I. After my first year of school, I needed to work as a CNA for financial reasons, and my EMT certification plus a year of my ADN program gave me the opportunity to work as a CNA-II in an ICU. I work 30 hours a week while I attend classes full-time (that part sucks), but I get great health insurance (something I personally need), plus pretty decent pay, and good experience in the specialty area I'll be working in after I graduate.

    That being said, I think if all I did was the bedbath-vitals kind of work, I wouldn't find it nearly as helpful- but we're in our advanced med-surg semester, and 99% of the time, when we talk about a procedure or piece of equipment in class, I've seen it in action. Plus, in clinicals, the CNA-type tasks we have to perform on total care patients are things I can get through really quickly, allowing me to spend more time on assessments, researching meds, etc.....some of my classmates are still struggling with these time-management issues 2 months before we graduate.

    I think the ultimate question is whether or not it's right for your situation. Don't take anyone else's recommendation without thinking about *your* goals and objectives. and good luck!
  13. by   eudemonist_too
    I agree with Jim Huffman. It's not the role of law to aid one in their journey through life. That is, it does not exist in order to help one realize their likes and dislikes.

    Another thing, just because someone works as a CNA prior to nursing school, doesn't mean that he or she will like the job five or ten years from now. Likes and dislikes wax and wane like the moon.

    Perhaps these people who dislike their current position aren't looking hard enough for a place that they may enjoy working at. Nursing has many boulevards for one to travel down. I would suggest to such a person that he or she try looking in different departments or specialties before giving up.

    And in the end, it's never too late to do something else. It may take some thought and planning, but nothing is impossible to accomplish (barring extreme cases). As Yogi Berra said, "It ain't over, til it's over."

    All the best to all of you!