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What do certified nursing assistants do?

The Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) designation is the first step in becoming a nurse. After Becoming a CNA, you will assist in caring for patients by monitoring vital statistics, bathing, feeding and maintaining personal hygiene. Most CNA and nurse's aide programs can be completed within a few months, allowing you to begin working. As the public ages, nursing care has become a major source of employment for technical program graduates. In nursing homes and residential care facilities, nursing assistants are often the principal caregivers. They have more contact with residents than other members of the staff. Nursing assistants often develop close relationships with their patients because some residents stay in a nursing home for months or years.


Nursing assistant duties:
  1. Clean and bathe patients or residents.
  2. Help patients use the toilet and dress.
  3. Turn, reposition, and transfer patients between beds and wheelchairs.
  4. Listen to and record patients' health concerns and report that information to nurses.
  5. Measure patients' vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature.
  6. Serve meals and help patients eat.

The next step in a nursing career is to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). This is a one year long program, in which you'll work under an RN, and be assigned advanced care work. Practice requirements for nurses aides and LPNs vary from state to state, but basic duties include passing meds, wound care, and administering feeding tubes. One year nursing certificate programs train students to pass the licensing test, in order to become an LPN or LVN.


Certified Nursing Assistant CNA Education and Training

Nursing assistants must complete a state-approved education program in which they learn the basic principles of nursing and complete supervised clinical work. In addition, nursing assistants typically complete a brief period of on-the-job training. After completing a state-approved education program, nursing assistants take a competency exam.

Nursing assistants who have passed the competency exam are placed on a state registry. Some states have other requirements as well, such as continuing education and a criminal background check. By comparison, orderlies do not need a license, however, many jobs require a basic life support (BLS) certification, which shows they are trained to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).


CNA Salary Info

Nursing assistants held about 1.5 million jobs in 2017. The median annual wage for nursing assistants was $26,590 in May 2017. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,040, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $37,900. Most nursing assistants and orderlies work full time. Because nursing homes and hospitals provide care at all hours, nursing aides and orderlies may need to work nights, weekends, and holidays.

The work of nursing assistants and orderlies can be strenuous. They spend much of their time on their feet as they take care of many patients or residents. As the population ages, nursing assistants and orderlies will be needed to assist and care for elderly patients in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. In addition, shifts in federal and state funding are increasing the demand for long-term care, which should lead to increased opportunities.






Nursing Jobs
(updated hourly)
Starting
(up to)
Dental Hygienists$30,430
EMT, Paramedics$39,390
Fitness Trainers$31,710
Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN)$44,480
Massage Therapists$33,000
Medical Assistants$28,980
Medical Lab Technicians$30,550
Mental Health$34,550
Nursing$47,760
Occupational Therapists$66,010
Physical Therapists$65,050
Public Health$52,250
Radiologic Technicians$52,110
Registered Nurses (RN)$59,730
Respiratory Therapy Technician$39,860
Surgical Technologists $45,680
Ultrasound$41,090
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