By Karen P Williams
CNA and healthcare are two terms that are inseparable. Healthcare is incomplete without CNA. A Certified Nursing Assistant, is regarded as the most important connection between a patient and a doctor or a nurse because, they are the ones who work under the guidance of licensed nurses or registered nurses and provide assistance to the disabled and elderly patients by helping them in their daily activities such as dressing up, taking bath, toileting, etc. They are also responsible for replacing the dressing on the wounds, helping with the medication, taking vital stats, etc. They even take the responsibility of helping patients with their walk, assisting the patients in moving from beds to chairs. CNA is also responsible for assisting the patients with activities related to personal hygiene, such as shaving beards, brushing teeth, brushing hair and soaking dentures, etc.
A CNA is probably the person who first notices any vital changes in a patient and duly informs the doctor or patient, when required. Hence, they are usually considered as the ears and eyes of a nurse or a doctor. They are also referred to as nursing aides.
Though the job of a CNA looks simple, in reality, it is a demanding job, one that requires a nursing aide to be responsible, friendly, pleasant, easy to approach and trustworthy. A CNA needs to be physically fit, as they will be working with patient and might have to lift them, when required. The more patient and friendly a CNA is, the more is the ease, with which they can render their services to any age group patient, right from a child to an elderly person.
To take up a career as a CNA, you need to undergo a training program and have to clear a skills test sponsored by the respective states. Most of the nursing aides consider CNA to be the first step towards a secure career in healthcare.
Once you start your career as a CNA and continue your education, in about an year, you can try to become a LPN (licensed practical nurse) or if you are willing to take up higher level education, in three or four years, you can become a registered nurse. On an average, a CNA can earn up to $27,418 annually.
Similar to the current shortage in qualified nurses, there is expected to be a huge shortage of CNAs in the near future, owing to the growing population and the increasing number of people in the older age group.
A CNA can find employment in healthcare facilities, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and at times even in a patient’s home. Irrespective of the location of employment, the responsibilities and duties of a nursing aide are usually the same. There is a growing need for qualified CNAs since it is an integral and important part of the healthcare. Though CNA is probably the lowest level in healthcare pyramid, it is the basic building block, without which the pyramid might not have a solid foundation. CNA and healthcare are intertwined, you can never separate them!!
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