A CNA or certified nursing assistant assists his or her patients in the normal activities of life, including toileting, bathing, eating, dressing, and anything else they might need. As well, they monitor vital signs and assess patient conditions, then ensure their overseeing nurses and doctors have this information promptly. CNAs take a training course which often lasts between six weeks and an entire semester. The training of a nursing assistant can be in a lot of different types of places, including the hospitals and nursing homes where they actually work, or in community colleges and other traditional academic programs. No matter where a CNA gets trained, the required qualifications remain the same.
There is no previous experience necessary to become a CNA. However, a high school diploma or GED is necessary, as well as proof of both written and spoken English proficiency. Once these qualifications are met, you can begin your CNA training.
Since the entire point of a CNA curriculum is to pass the licensing exam from your state’s nursing board, proving your US citizenship or legal right to work in the USA will be necessary before you begin. This may extend into requiring proof of your age and identity, since you also need to be 18 years old in some states in order to become licensed. However, you should ask your states nursing board, because some states will license CNA’s who are as young as 16 years old.
A CNA is a trusted person, and thus they need to be very responsible. Because of this, passing a criminal background check is an unfortunate but necessary step in the process. While having a criminal conviction in your past will not necessarily ruin your chances of being a CNA in the future, assault and battery, abusing or neglecting or abusing a child or elderly person or any type of violent crime will permanently preclude you from becoming a licensed CNA.
Besides the practical qualifications which are necessary to begin your CNA coursework, you should also keep in mind your actual mindset and characteristics before you start attempting to work in a health care setting. Since a CNA is on the front lines of the health care world, they have extremely direct contact with the patients. Being hyper alert to potential issues a patient may have is not optional. As well, you need an abundance of compassion and patience, because you will be dealing with people who are disabled, ill and frequently confused. Your judgment needs to be rock solid, and you need to advocate the best possible actions towards your patients. If you do not meet these requirements, being a CNA may not be the best profession for you.