What is a Certified Nursing Assistant?
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are care providers in medical facilities who have met all necessary education, training and certification requirements. CNAs, like other nursing assistants, work directly with patients to assist with personal needs like bathing and eating, as well as with other functions like turning in the bed or walking within the facility.
Depending on the state of employment, additional CNA job duties might include medical tasks like taking a patient's pulse rate and blood pressure, providing necessary medications to patients and participating in procedures. It is common for CNAs to secure employment in nursing homes or other healthcare settings.
|Educational Requirements||High school diploma and/or completion of state-approved program and competency exam; must secure state certification|
|Job Skills||Good customer service/communication skills, bedside manner and physical strength/endurance|
|Average Salary (2019)*||$25,097|
|Job Outlook (2016 - 2026)**||11% (all nursing assistants)|
Source: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that all nursing assistants are required to finish an academic program and take the competency exam for their state. Passing the exam and being added to the state registry makes it possible to earn a position in a nursing facility. Nursing assistants may also be required to train for a short amount of time in a job setting or complete a background check. Some states also require that nursing assistants complete continuing education credits to retain certification.
The CNA position is very hands-on, requiring a lot of one-on-one time with patients. Good people skills are needed to put patients at ease while helping them bathe or put on their clothes among other personal tasks. CNAs also need strong communication skills to provide staff members, particularly supervising nurses and doctors, with clear and concise patient updates.
Multitasking is important since CNAs are usually responsible for working with several patients. This position requires the physical ability to support patients and also stand and walk many hours throughout the day.
Career Outlook and Salary
The BLS reports, between 2016 and 2026, employment opportunities for all nursing assistants should increase by 11%. This growth is faster than average when compared to all occupations over the same period. Reasons for this projected growth include the expected influx of baby-boomer patients and an increased need for nursing assistants to work in the areas of community rehabilitation and home health.
According to Payscale.com, CNAs earned an average salary of $25,097 in January 2019. The BLS notes that the average annual wage for all nursing assistants in May 2017 was $28,540.
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