CNA preparing for work

Oct 4, 2022 | Medical

As a CDPAP caregiver, you may be looking to expand your career more into the patient care industry. Because you have invested so much time in CDPAP with verifiable hands-on experience, the next logical step is to become an HHA (or PCA) or begin looking at more of a nursing-focused job (like CNA) for your future. If nursing is a career interest for you, becoming a CNA is the best next step to help you learn the skills you need to succeed in the world of patient care. CNAs are the backbone of the entire nursing staff and often regularly provide more one-on-one patient care.

What is a CNA, and what do they do?

A CNA is a certified nursing assistant who provides basic nursing care to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities (also home health). CNAs typically perform tasks such as bathing, dressing, and feeding patients, taking vital signs, and reporting changes in patient condition to nurses. Much of what CNAs do, CDPAP caregivers already do in their daily care of patients. However, training and certification are required since you will care for others through a staffing agency or professional setting.

How do I become a CNA?

There are a few steps you need to take to become a CNA. First, you must complete an accredited nursing program. Then, after completing the nursing program assistant, you must pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) exam to earn your certification. Finally, you must complete a state-approved training program and pass a state-specific competency exam. Many places like home health agencies and nursing homes offer this training and certification through their hiring process. It isn’t uncommon for someone without any experience to get hired and certified for CNA jobs. The training varies by state but usually is only a few weeks of classes combined with “clinicians” or monitored hands-on training to ensure you can put to practice what you have recently learned.

What are the duties of a CNA?

As a CNA, you will be responsible for providing basic nursing care to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities. Your duties will include bathing, dressing, feeding patients, taking vital signs, and reporting changes in patient condition to nurses. Like the military, the nursing industry operates with a ranking structure based on education and practice levels. As a CNA, you are bridging the gap from usually limited or non-medical personal care (like HHA/PCA) into a more rigorous nursing structure.

What are the benefits of becoming a CNA?

There are many benefits to becoming a CNA. CNAs enjoy job stability and satisfaction, as well as flexible work schedules and competitive pay. In addition, CNAs often have the opportunity to advance their careers by becoming registered nurses or licensed practical nurses. Certified nursing assistants get a lot of face time with their patients and often develop an immensely strong connection to the people they care for. In addition, you get the satisfaction of helping those in need daily while having a paycheck in the process.

What are the obstacles to being a CNA?

Like any job, being a CNA has its challenges. CNAs may work long hours, weekends, and holidays. They may also be exposed to hazardous items and infectious diseases. However, most CNAs find the satisfaction of helping others outweigh the job’s challenges. Another risk to consider is the amount of heavy lifting involved since your job will involve lifting and turning patients who are confined to a wheelchair or hospital bed. Ensuring you use good back and knee protection is vital to success as a CNA.

CNAs in the workforce today

The vast majority of CNAs are employed in nursing homes, with the rest working in hospitals, assisted living facilities, home health care agencies, and other health care settings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1.5 million CNAs employed in the United States in 2016. The median annual salary for CNAs was $26,590 in 2016. Since COVID, the need for home health is expected to rise exponentially since people are becoming less likely to send their loved ones off to a nursing home. In addition, most seniors and soon-to-be seniors are opting to “age in place,” meaning that home healthcare could potentially be the next big industry to be involved with.

The job outlook for CNAs

Employment of CNAs is projected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. In addition, the aging baby-boom generation will lead to an increased demand for health care services. As a result, there will be a greater need for CNAs to provide basic nursing care to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities. As stated above, the need for home health professionals like HHA, PCA, CNA, and other nursing professionals could potentially increase drastically due to COVID’s impact on many of our senior population.

Where can I find a job as a CNA?

There are many places you can look for a job as a CNA. First, you can search job boards online, such as or You may also reach out to your state’s health department to get information about employment opportunities in your area. Finally, you can check with local hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities to see if they have any open positions. Some of the best CDPAP agencies (and the highest paying CDPAP agencies) offer in-house training for PCA, HHA, and CNA. However, nursing homes will often provide nursing assistant training for free (sometimes with a hefty sign-on bonus) for you to work for them.

How do I advance my career as a CNA?

There are several ways you can advance your career as a CNA. First, you can complete additional training to become a certified medication aide or certified nurse aide. You can also take online courses or earn a college degree to become a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. Finally, you can pursue management positions within your health care facility. Bigger health systems may also offer to pay your tuition to advance your nursing career, essentially paying for you to learn and get a raise. In addition, in most states, LPN (Licenced Practical Nurse or sometimes called Licensed Vocational Nurse) and RN (Registered Nurse) licensing only take a few years to complete and can be done at night.

What are some common mistakes CNAs make?

There are several common mistakes that CNAs make. One mistake is failing to document changes in patient condition. Another mistake is not following infection control procedures. Finally, some CNAs fail to communicate properly with patients and families. In many cases, common mistakes made by CNAs reflect directly on the nursing leadership to whom they report. Therefore, adequate communication and training are vital to the success of CNAs.

What are some tips for success as a CNA?

There are several tips for success as a CNA. First, always document changes in patient condition. Second, follow all infection control procedures. Third, take the time to properly communicate with patients and families. And fourth, be sure to stay up to date on your continuing education requirements. Also, be sure you protect yourself mentally and physically. A certified nursing assistant (CNA) job is not easy and can wear you down if you don’t remember to take care of yourself.

I’m interested in becoming a CNA. What should I do next?

If you’re interested in becoming a CNA, the first step is to check with your state’s health department to see if you meet the qualifications. Once you have met the qualifications, you can begin completing a state-approved training program and passing a state-specific competency exam. Finally, once you have completed these steps, you will be eligible to apply for jobs in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities. Places in New York that offer CNA training This is not an absolute list of places that offer CNA training, but it is a good place to begin your search based on where you live. Buffalo: Niagra Community College Albany: Schenectady County Community College Long Island: Fiorello H. Laguardia Community College NYC: Bronx Community College

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