Certified Nursing Assistant

Nursing Assistant Training Programs

Be job ready within weeks, not years!

 nursing-assistantWhat if I were to tell you that you could be trained and ready to start a healthcare job in a field that has with plenty of openings within weeks rather than years? What if you could use this job as a stepping stone to higher positions and pay, for example as a nursing home administer, or a registered nurse, and have your employer foot the bill? If you think that sounds too good to be true, I assure you that isn’t the case at all.

You can train to become a Nursing assistant, also called a nurse's aide, certified nursing assistant, or CNA, in just 6 to 12 weeks depending on the program you select, and be ready to fill one of the approximately 60,000 vacancies for CNAs in long term care right now (with another 35% more projected openings within the next few years).

What is a Nursing Assistant or a CNA?

Nursing assistants, or certified nursing assistants, are non-licensed, yet very important members of the Nursing Department who perform direct hands-on patient care duties under the supervision of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs). According to National Network of Career Nursing Assistants, "Nursing assistants are key players in the lives of the people in their care. Each day, more than 2.5 million caregivers provide hands-on care to our nation’s frail, elderly, or chronically challenged citizens in nursing homes and other long term care settings. And the number is growing as an additional 700,000 new positions will need to be filled in the next 25 years. Nursing Assistants provide as much as 80-90% of the direct care received by residents and clients in long term care facilities.” Nursing Assistants and CNAs work in in hospitals, long term care facilities, urgent care clinics, doctor’s offices, and assisted living facilities for example.

What Do Nursing Assistants Do?

Specific duties vary depending on setting, but basically, nursing assistants handle many aspects of a patient's care needs - often serving as the eyes and ears of the nursing staff. Given today’s strained healthcare budgets, a nursing floor or long term care facility would be hard pressed to function without them.

While direct patient care can be physically and emotionally demanding, it also provides a great sense of personal fulfillment for the nursing assistant knowing that the work they do is important to helping hospitalized patients feel better, or the chronically ill or nursing home resident’s day to day life be more pleasant.

CNA’s often spend more time with each patient than the nurse or doctor does, so the nursing staff relies on the nursing assistant to be educated and capable of observing patients for changes that the nurse should be made aware of and reporting those changes promptly so the nurse can further assess the patient and take appropriate action in a timely manner.

Let’s break down some typical duties that nursing assistant’s perform:

1. Patient Assessment: A nursing assistant assesses a patient each time they come into contact with the patient. They observe for changes in behavior, color, level of alertness, changes in their ability to walk, talk, or eat for example, and bring negative changes to the nurse’s attention.

2. Taking & Recording Vital Signs: That means that when a nursing assistant checks a patient’s blood pressure, temperature, or pulse (called vital signs) they don’t merely take & record the results, but must also know the difference between normal results and abnormal ones so they can alert the nurses about potentially harmful changes.

3. Bathing, Dressing, Grooming: Nursing assistants frequently help patients who need assistance with their activities of daily living such as helping them bathe, giving bed baths for immobile patients, helping dress them if needed, and helping with grooming. All of these activities present an excellent opportunity for the CNA to assess for skin breakdown, wound site appearance, drainage, swelling or redness at IV sites, or bed sores – things that need to be reported to the patient’s nurse.

4. Helping Feed Patients: CNA’s help feed patients who are unable to feed themselves. This can take patience, a calm and friendly manner, and allows the CNA to interact with the patient in a positive manner, providing some much needed company at times, and perhaps some humor to brighten the patient’s day. It also provides an opportunity for the CNA to observe how much food and liquids the patient consumes and the ability to alert the nursing staff if the patient isn’t getting enough nutrition.

Nursing assistants also help turn patients, assist them in getting out of bed, assist with walking, take patients to scheduled procedures, change linens, empty urinals, bedpans, or bed side commodes, and measure output for example.

Being a Nursing Assistant can be a terrific way to start out in nursing or long term care to get some basic knowledge and skills and an idea about the career before going on for further education.

Nursing Assistant Training

Consists of both classroom time and hands on, practical training and normally lasts 6 to 12 week and covers subjects including basic nutrition, anatomy and physiology, taking and understanding vital signs, how to safely moving and lift patients, oral care, infection control, serving and feeding meals, cleaning rooms, making beds, legal issues concerning CNAs, medical terminology, communication skills and emergency care. Once a nursing assistant program training program has been completed, most students take a certification exam.

CNA Certification

Federal Government requirements exist for nursing aides who work in nursing care facilities. These aides must complete a minimum of 75 hours of State-approved training and pass a competency evaluation. Aides who complete the program are known as certified nurse assistants (CNAs) and are placed on the State registry of nurse aides. Additional requirements may exist, but vary by State. Therefore, individuals should contact their State board directly for applicable information. Your education does not stop after becoming a CAN, however, as you must fulfill at least 12 hours of continuing education each year to maintain that certification (required hours vary by state).

Opportunities for Advancement

Certified Nursing Assistants can choose to take additional training in phlebotomy & ECG technology in order to advance to become a Patient Care Technician. Additionally, most healthcare employers encourage their employees to further their healthcare education and normally offer generous employer paid tuition assistance benefits. Getting your foot in the door as a Nursing Assistant could very well pave your way to pursuing higher education paid for by your employer without missing a paycheck while you do it. What better way to go on to become an LPN, RN, Healthcare Administrator, or pursue whatever your goal may be than by letting your employer help you do it while you earn a living in the process!

Find Nursing Assistant Training Programs Near You
Explore detailed listings of accredited schools that offer Nursing Assistant Training or CNA Training programs to find the Nursing Assistant program that best meets your needs. Get started today by selecting the schools that interest you and fill out the brief information request form to speak directly with Nursing Assistant program advisers.