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Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
By Jeffrey Meier

Have you been looking for ways to make a true impact on those around you? If the answer is yes, then you are not alone. There are tons of people who are beginning to feel the desire to make a difference in the world. And they are taking on the role of the helper in many ways, ranging from that of the philanthropist who donates money to causes that mean something to them, to those who get their hands in the dirt and build homes for Habitat for Humanity and other positive organizations. But if your desire to help others is reflected in a need to interact on a one-on-one basis then you might want to consider a career as a certified nursing assistant.

What is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)?

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The field of nursing is considered to be a “direct care giving” field. Whether you are a home health aide, personal care assistant, patient care technician, or certified nursing assistant (CNA), your specialty lies in your ability to care for a person on a one-on-one basis.

In a doctor’s office, the certified nursing assistant is typically the person who you first work with when called to the back. This is the person who will take your “vitals,” weigh you, then take you into the examination room where they will then question the symptoms of your condition, and essentially make you feel comfortable and settled until the nurse practitioner or doctor comes in to see you.

Certified nursing assistants work under the supervision of a nurse and usually are in charge of performing the general needs for the patient. Some of these tasks include, but are not limited to: dressing, bathing and feeding patients, assisting with bedpans and urinals, checking vital signs, assisting with catheter care, answering a call light when needed, helping the patient perform range of motion exercises as a supplement to physical therapy, assisting patients in wheelchairs, keeping living quarters neat for patients, and accurately documenting all care provided to patients as well as any mental or physical changes.

Opportunities for CNA’s are vast and can provide work in places such as nursing homes, adult health centers, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and sometimes with personal home care services. Other CNA’s have found work in areas of hospice care and comforting those who are dying. While this particular area can be very rewarding for some who find solace in ushering a person to the other side, some become overwhelmed by the concept of death, so deciding to participate in this aspect must be thought out carefully.

How to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant

There are several ways to get your foot in the door as a CNA. One way is to enter a training program through the Red Cross. They offer a nursing assistant program designed to teach you the necessities of the field, including learning medical terminology, basic human anatomy, communication skills, basic math skills, and how to care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, they give you hands-on experience in a health care setting. Toward the end of the course, you learn how to launch your career as a CNA. They provide instruction on how to conduct a successful job search, create an effective résumé, develop interviewing techniques, and eventually excel to new careers within the field if interested.

Other ways to step into the field are to take classes through your local community college or through a medical facility. Whichever route you choose to educate yourself, you will be provided with instruction generally be a registered nurse who will teach the ins and outs of the skill. Of course, all of the classes in the world cannot measure up to the experience needed in day-to-day activity, so before certification is obtained, it is advised that you begin pursuing opportunities to develop and perfect your new skill.

The Life of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Any person who is or has been a certified nursing assistant will profess to the number of challenges that face them. First and foremost, if you are not a people person, this field is not for you. Clearly, if you’re a person with a short temper, you will not be as suitable for this field because of the multitude of people with short tempers you will have to deal with. You have to have “spine,” if you will deal with possible sexist comments, racial comments and anything else the person conjures up to say or do (spit, kick, hit) to you. Your goal will have to be to take care of this person no matter what their personal issue may be with you, learning to forgive them for their ignorance, and believing that they deserve top-notch care no matter how they treat you. This is not easy for some people and is definitely something you need to take into consideration before committing to this field.

Also, if you have a weak stomach to blood, bodily odors, and bodily fluids, you are definitely in the wrong field. Often times, your job as a CNA is more “graphic” than that of a doctor because the doctor does not change bed pans or help patients shower, but you do. So you have to be ready and willing to face hygiene issues that others are not ready to handle. You may have to be in charge of the daily care of a person who is unable to move without your assistance, which means you will be responsible for helping them use the restroom, bathe, cleaning their bed sores, and much more.

Another issue with being a certified nursing assistant is often times the shortage of nursing assistants in one location. There are nursing assistants who find that they are caring for an insurmountable number of patients at one time and become quickly overwhelmed, resulting in them leaving the field altogether. This is especially true of those assistants who are sensitive to the physical and emotional ailments of their patients and absorb their pain on a deeply personal level. However, if being a nursing assistant is what you really want, you must not let this deter you and work diligently to find the work environment and set of circumstances that more closely suit you.

Becoming a certified nursing assistant can be a very rewarding field for those who have a great interest in helping others. But if you’re unsure of whether you’re able to handle the vast array of personalities you might encounter, or even what you might face from patients physically, you might want to take time to strongly consider your decision. There is nothing worse the choosing an important career such is this just for the money; not only will your patients suffer from the lack of caring you display, but you will also suffer from the lack of fulfillment you will feel. Be sure to conduct plenty of research on becoming a certified nursing assistant first then if you still feel inclined to take this career on, do so with a kind, open and warm heart.

Jeffrey Meier at Jam727 Enterprises at blog offers even more detailed information on a wide variety of topics.

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