CNA Certification

Healthcare is perhaps one of the most timeless and in demand professions in the world. Every day, hospitals, rehabilitation and therapeutic facilities, and nursing homes  receive the sick, the elderly, or handicapped persons, needing assistance and proper care. Nowadays, more upscale households even hire stay-in nursing aides for family members who need special attention for quick recoveries.

Usually, a team of healthcare professionals attend to the patient – a doctor, a nurse, and a nursing aide – to ensure that the best possible care is provided. The nursing aide is arguably the most “personal” of these healthcare practitioners; while the doctor or nurse know the exact details of the patient’s health condition, it is the nursing aide who takes care of the more individual and delicate needs of the patient, including bathing and dressing, feeding, and even listening to and comforting their charges. Essentially, nursing aides know where the patients actually hurt.

Being a medical and therefore highly sensitive profession, nursing aides need to be certified in order to work in any health facility. There are tasks that only a specific person could give and a licensed practitioner inspires confidence and trust that s/he “knows what s/he is doing.”

Certified nursing aides (or CNAs) work under the direct supervision of a practical of registered nurse and acts as a link between the nurse and the patient. The nursing aide also notes his/her observations to the nurse in charge so that the latter may act upon or recommend a course of action to the attending doctor.

To become a CNA, one must first complete a duly accredited course. Although specific subjects may vary from state to state, the basics of CNA training include the following:

  • Basic care to patients of various ages
  • Ensuring patient safety
  • Preventing and/or controlling infection for the CNA and the patient
  • Body mechanics and techniques to prevent injury
  • Communication and documentation
  • Assisting patients with daily activities
  • Proper feeding techniques for specific conditions
  • Health issues in long-term care facilities
  • Basic life support
  • Taking vital signs
  • Techniques for moving and ambulating clients
  • Basic hygiene skills

Some training centers or schools for CNA courses do not require any specific educational attainment (i.e., high school diploma or GED) prior to enrolment, but basic arithmetic and literacy skills are, of course, necessary. There are some schools that require the enrollees to take the Test for Adult Basic Education and others still that allow 16-year-old students. Cost-wise, depending on the school, expect to pay a fee ranging from $300 to $700 for a typical course, which usually lasts for six weeks. However, some local nursing homes and healthcare facilities offer these training for free, provided that you agree to work for them upon your graduation. You may also enroll for online courses, but you must remember that nothing beats actual hands-on training. Notwithstanding these few conditions, CNA education is open to everyone interested in pursuing a healthcare career.

After you complete the course, the next step is to take an exam at your state’s Nurse Aide Registry. Much like doctors and nurses, you need to pass an exam in order to become a CNA and offer your services to the public. The certification process is a combination of theoretical (written) and hands-on examination, after which, if successful, a person may bear the title of a Certified Nursing Aide. The Nurse Aide Registry keeps track of all  CNAs, as well as reports of abuse, misappropriations, and other related concerns for the practice.

However after all these steps, becoming a CNA requires you only two things: an open mind and a kind heart.