The role of Certified Nursing Assistants in shaping the Health Care System
Working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is as rewarding and fulfilling as it is to be an RN.
Certified Nursing Assistants act as the primary caregiver of patients. They provide most of the direct care and address the patients personal health care needs. It includes bathing, grooming and nourishment. Also, they may administer medications and other interventions as directed and supervised by an RN.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
CNA works under the direct supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Nevertheless, their duties still require long working hours and substantial responsibilities.
Their functions include:
- Assist patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
- Provide assistance with bathing, dressing and grooming.
- Serve meals and assist in feeding and proper nourishment.
- Assess and record vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate; may also include blood glucose monitoring, depending on patient’s condition.
- For bedridden patients: assist in positioning and transferring.
- Ensure cleanliness and sanitation of private areas.
- Maintain comfort and sleep hygiene.
- Collect and implement physician’s/nurse’s treatment plans.
- Set up medical equipment (if any)
- Assist to some medical procedures.
- Educate patients on how to best manage condition.
- Refer patients as appropriate.
REQUIREMENTS: EDUCATION, CERTIFICATION AND STATE REGISTRATION
Unlike Registered Nurses that necessitates a degree or an advanced education, CNAs need only a Certificate Program in Nursing Assistance that is offered in various colleges and training institutions.
Program for Nursing Assistants include hours of lecture and direct patient care. Training on basic CPR and first aid is also provided.
Further, CNAs are required to be accredited and registered in their state of jurisdiction.
JOB OUTLOOK AND SALARY
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that CNAs earn a median annual salary of $25,710, which can be higher depending on work experience, skills and education background.
Additionally, the profession is seen to have an increase in demand for us much as 17% until year 20124. This is much higher than the average job outlook of other professions.
WORK ENVIRONMENT AND CAREER PATH
CNAs may work in various working environment such as in a hospital, community care centers and physician’s clinic.
However, as a result of the fast-growing ageing population as well as patients needing long-term care, CNAs are more likely to practice in nursing homes, hospice cares and geriatric centers.
On the other hand, like many other health professionals. Work schedules also require changing shifts which may be on a day, night, weekend or holidays.