CaliGuy 593 Views
Joined: Nov 16, '08;
Posts: 7 (86% Liked)
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i will try to answer the questions that i can and refer you to as many locations as i can for information that either i do not know, can not legally give you or that you would be better off getting information from someone that is more qualified to answer. here we go...
1) i have heard many times that "california has more stringent standards for cnas than some other states. you may have to take additional courses to get reciprocation", but after doing some research i have found the real answer...
with implementation of the omnibus budget reconciliation act (obra) for nurse assistant training requirements in april 1992, california was instructed by the health care financing administration to offer nurse assistant certification to anyone who is listed on any state's nurse assistant registry as:
* in "good standing" (having no findings of abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of residents' property) and
* "active" (maintained on the state nurse assistant registry as having met the obra training requirements and having provided nursing services at least one day, for pay, in the previous 24 months)."
this is taken directly from the cdph document titled nurse assistants - home health aides - hemodialysis technicians certification facts, you will find this at the following link...
- the best and final authority on this subject and any topic concerning cnas in ca can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. i would contact them before filing for reciprocity to assure the information is still accurate (laws & administrative rulings change frequently). i have sent questions before and they responded the following day. here is what you currently need to file...
"cna reciprocity applicants from other states
if the cna certification is active and in good standing on another state's registry, she / he will qualify for certification in california without taking the cna training or competency exam. submit the following to atcs:
* a copy of your state-issued certificate; and
* a completed verification form cdph 931 (to be completed by applicant and the endorsing state agency); and
* proof of work providing nursing services in the last two years (not required for those who received their initial certificates from another state in the last two years; and
* this completed application form (hs 283b); and
* a copy of the completed request for live scan form (bcii 8016). you must wait until you move to california to obtain fingerprints through this method."
2) as i stated before i doubt that you can complete a lvn/lpn program with full time status at both your job and your school. i know i would not be able to. you may either need to work part time or go to school part time. you already said you are not book smart, i have a 3.8 average from my last degree program and would not attempt a full time lpn program while working full time as a cna. provided you can find a good lvn/lpn program that allows you to go part time, the length of time it will take will depend on how many hours you can realistically take while working as much as you need and the requirements of the program. i would suggest talking to a guidance councilor at the school that you choose. keep in mind that the school you choose should be transferable to california schools if you are going to contionue your education in ca. also remember if you get your lvn/lpn in arizona you will still have to get reciprocity in california and i do not know the details of the requirement for this (you will need to do your own research or get someone else to help you with this :typing - there are others that know much more about it :icon_roll).
3) i don't think i can really answer questions about specialization accurately. i would recommend asking nurses that you come in contact with that have such specializations and again councilors at a nursing school could help you with this. seek several sources of information, you may find alternative means of training. for instance radiology can be taught at a school or a teaching hospital. you will have to pass tests for each specialization and again the test and requirements may differ from state to state.
i hope this information helps you get started.
BTW, concerning the stability of per diem positions. It depends on where you work. I have been per diem for over 3 1/2 years now and always work at least full time hours. Talk with the LTC Director before making this decision. I maintain flexibility and they give me the hours I need. I have had people warn me many times that the unit is getting a batch of new CNAs in and that I should take a full-time permanent position, but CNAs come and CNAs go. At my unit there is always an abundance of shifts to take. This may not be true of all facilities. Ours is only a 35 bed unit and there is always work.
I have to make this post short, I have to work tonight. Yes, LVN and LPN are basicly the same. There are a few challenges to your plans...
1) Going to school full-time (for any serious program, LVN/LPN or RN) while being a CNA is not practical. Working as a CNA is an exhausting job.
2) Once a LVN/LPN in one state does not make you a LVN/LPN in another, if you get LPN in Arizona, you will need to get reciprocity in California. The same is true for CNA and RN. California has different requirements than many states and they exceed many, you may have to get more courses for California reciprocity. After course work is done, plan 6 months for reciprocity to go through. Though it may take less time, be safe.
A more realistic plan would be...
1) Get your CNA in Arizona.
2) Find out if you need additional requirements for CNA in California (I don't have time right now to look this up, but there are other forums that concern this).
3) Start your paper work for CNA reciprocity.
4) Find a school that is transferable with a California College in the Bakersfield area and start attending classes (remember you will not be able to take more than a couple of classes at a time - try to keep your GPA up, it is important for LVN as well).
5) Make the move to CA.
6) Get CNA job in CA.
7) Enroll for in LVN program in CA (unfortunately this will be out-of-state tuition rate until you have CA residency requirement). Continue taking courses in CA.
8) Pass your exam in CA for LVN/LPN.
Unfortunately, it is very dificult if not impossible to work full-time and attend nursing school full-time at the same time. It is difficult while working as a cashier at a convienience store and nearly impossible while working as a CNA. CNA work is exhausting, you will need good rest between shifts. LVN/LPN course work is difficult, for every class hour spent you should plan for at least 1 hour of homework/study time minimum in the beginning classes and probably at least 2 for the more advanced classes. You are not likely to have much down time while working as a CNA to get studying done, even on a night shift so don't count on it.
Remember you have a child on the way as well. You need to reserve time for him/her as well. A LOT OF TIME. Do not let work and school tear apart your family life. You are young. Time is one thing you have plenty of. Spread it around and don't try to do to much to fast or your life happiness and health will suffer. I know you have significant anxiety about your situation right now, but hurrying will not help. Have confidence that things will work out and though you will have obsticals, you will succeed.
most of the nursing facilities in the bakersfield area pay more than $10 per hour. i would first look into bakersfield memorial hospital and mercy hospital. both of them have average cna wages for the period of 2004 to 2005 that exceed $12 per hour. also both have average employee benefit expenditures of over $8 per employee work hour. this could be very important to someone who has a pregnant significant other (i read some of your past post to get a better idea of your circumstance). also both are long term care centers that are connected to a hospital. many hospitals are at least partly self insured, which usually equates to lower or no co-pays and better coverage so long as care is given within the same hospital system. most hospitals carry additional insurance to cover situations that occur out of the area.
hospitals will give you exposure to change over meetings and care conferences that will introduce you to nursing issues at a depth you probably would not otherwise get the benefit of. both of these hospitals also have met and substantially exceeded their staffing goals. this will make your job easier, allow you to spend more quality time with residents and give you more interaction with nurses of advanced degrees. you may note as you look at most hospital connected ltcs that most do not have the greatest scores for state and federal deficiencies, but this is probably due mainly to a tendency for the state to evaluate hospitals more stringently than independent care centers (this is my belief, i do not have evidence of this, but it seems to me that many retirement homes would not possibly be able to survive state inspections if they where held to the same standards as the hospital that i work).
another way you may be able to make more money is to work per diem or volunteer for overtime and holidays. unfortunately, though working per diem pays better you will not get benefits and unless your significant other has another source of benefits they can be very important (of coarse for your girlfriend to get the benefits you will probably have to be married). i work per diem (mostly nights and weekends), average somewhere around 8 hours of ot per week and make over 40k a year (pay is high here since the cost of living is very high - tahoe area). another consideration before going per diem is that generally most hospitals will not guarantee more than 20 hours per week. i let it be known that i am available for night shifts and sick calls and am offered more hours than i can work. you might try to get a feel for the potential for full time per diem work from the department director during your visit to a facility.
as far as the transition from cna to rn, it is a difficult one. the problem is that unless you have a scholarship or loans that will carry you and your bills while you go to a full time nursing school, you are going to be like me - stuck making a living. it is possible to go to college while working full time as a cna, but you will probably only be able to enroll in one or two courses at a time. this will work while getting your prerequisites, but generally will not work while in nursing school. i have not found a reputable nursing school that allows you to go part-time for an rn program (at least i have not found one in my area). i encourage you to research this further. there are plenty of online schools that make this claim, but i would not want to attempt to take the nclex after one of them and even if you pass the exam, i would not bet on being able to get hired by any hospital. let's just say i have never known a nurse that was employed that completed one of these programs. i imagine that facilities that pay their rns $20 an hour must be about the only employers that hire these people (i may have just made a few more enemies).
you are on the right track if you want to become an rn though, most nursing schools are now requiring that you are certified as a nursing assistant prior to entering their rn program and some even give extra points for actually working as a cna. getting into a good nursing program these days is very competitive. you need to have a near 4.0 average in your prerequisites. some schools are more lenient for lvn programs and more will let you enter the program with a part time commitment. then of coarse there are lvn to rn upgrade programs. another solution could be to go into another related field such as radiology, some of these allow for part time attendance. that is what i intend to do, but it is also in my line of interest and experience.
of course as others have told you there is the military option, but i am with you in that i will not support the military machine. it is not that it is dishonorable to be in the military by any means; however, it is in my opinion that refusing to support a system that has kept us at war constantly since ww1 is even more honorable. i wasted nearly 6 years in the air force myself (space command) and regret it. my time would have been much better spent in college.
I just read the post from AWSMom, and though I don't want to attempt to invalidate her opinion, I think you should probably start out in a facility other than a prison system. I noticed that you are only 19 years old. Prisons are tough places. They may pay well but you would probably be better off working at a Long Term Care or Extended Care Center. I would recommend that you try to find one that is connected with a hospital. You will end up less jaded and you may find yourself even being able to get some critical care experience filling in on the Medical Surgical Unit as I have.
The last thing you need as a starting CNA is pressure from a con to smuggle in drugs or even worse getting physically injured. Remember a CNA has more direct personal care time with the patients than any other member of a health care team. Would you rather spend your time helping the elderly or turning a dangerous thug with knife wounds. It is something to think about anyway. If you are physically and emotionally tough you might consider the prison system. But, I would encourage you to consider the long term effects to your psyche.
Another thing to consider is not only the type of patient but also the caliber of individuals you are likely to be exposed to in the work place. From my limited experience with prison guards, I would estimate many of them not to be much better than the prisoners. I know many will find this insulting and I apologize to those that work ethically within the prison system; however, most that are ethical would probably agree that it is no place for a young new nursing professional. You would be better off spending your time in the company of other ethical professionals and caring grandparents. Another point I would like to make is that if you find that you do not like the job and quit early, it is not a good mark on your résumé. Try to find a first job that you will want to keep for at least a year.
Someone like myself would be a better fit for this kind of job (I weigh 260 lbs. and am very street wise) and I would not even want to work in a prison. As a CNA you are expected to live and work by the same creed as any other medical professional "Though shall inflict no harm" yet the prisoner lives by a completely different creed. Even in elderly care facilities many new CNAs have great difficulty maintaining a caring and compassionate attitude, it is a very difficult thing to maintain in a punitive system. There is a reason why they offer higher pay within a prison system. Just my two cents for what is worth, there is a lot more to choosing a work place than pay scale.
i have been a cna in northern california for over 3 years and am currently thinking of relocating around the sacramento area (grass valley looks good). i have found a resource you may find helpful. it is the california healthcare foundation nursing home search website http://www.calnhs.org/nursinghomes/.
you will need to enter the zip code for bakersfield (93305) and hit the go button. the site will display nursing facilities in the area (12) with ratings for various qualities (up to 3 stars). i would start with the hospitals/facilities that rate 2 1/2 to 3 stars in the staffing column. click on the facility name that you want more information on. a new page will appear with more information about that hospital. in this profile click on the "staffing" link (underlined in blue). again a new page will appear that will give you a lot of info on staffing that includes average wages for cnas at that facility and in the region ($10.80 - not very good for california).
keep in mind that these are based on the last reports registered on the site (many are 3 years old). wages for cnas most probably have not gone up more than about 50 to 75 cents per hour in this area over the last 3 years and the wage listed for the facility is an average of all cnas hired at the facility (some of whom have many years experience). so you should not expect more than the listed average if you only have one year experience. most facilities have a hiring standard which they will use and if they ask you what your salary expectation is, it is only to see if your expectations are realistic. asking for too much will be likely to hurt your chances of being hired asking for a little less than what they offer will probably not effect your actual pay. be aware that some of the smaller facilities that are not attached to a hospital may have more flexibility in there wage scale.
this site is also useful in finding out what kind of deficiencies a facility may have and if they may actually have a practice of meeting and exceeding goals (few do in staffing). other useful information includes the number of beds, the types of residents (how many are restrained, need assistance eating, etc.) and the names and mailing addresses of the director. i would recommend customizing your resume and cover letter (ask for an appointment to view the facility) to each facility that you wish to apply to. you should not have a problem finding employment in this area. good luck.
First I want to thank all of you for the great information. I a US citizen living in California and am engaged to a Filipina that has completed her nursing school for a 4 year RN program. She did not take her local board exam immediately after graduation since she owed the school money. She has now finished paying the school and is taking a review course to prepare for her local board exam. Her instructors had told her that she would need to take the local exam before she could take the NCLEX. I came across this thread and told her she might not want to take the Philippine exam. I have a few questions that you might be able to help me with though...
First, she has already applied to take the test, is it too late to cancel? If she just does not show up for the exam will she receive a 0% or will they just not record her as a participant? Would it be inadvisable to not take the test since she has already applied? Her test date is only 10 days away.
Second, she passed her classes with only a 77% average, while most nursing schools in California require that you maintain an average of at least 80% just to stay in the program. Would it be of benefit for her to take the local board exam to show that she is qualified as a nurse? Would passing the local exam be considered a positive factor in considering her educational qualifications? Or, is taking the local exam of no real benefit and only something that could get in the way of her taking her NCLEX?
Third, I will be sponsoring her on a fiancée visa and therefore she does not need a language test for immigration reasons, will she still need to take an English test for California licensure? Her English is actually quiet good but she gets very nervous when being tested.
I appreciate your opinions on these issues. BTW, I noticed that it has been a while since any replies have been made to this thread, is the information still current?
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