CNAs are seen as the backbone of bedside nursing. While they don’t have the ability to do all that doctors and nurses do, they’re often the people seen most frequently by patients, especially those in hospitals and long-term care facilities. Thus, your decision to become CNA-certified is not only a smart one for your career growth but also a compassionate one for all those who need specialized physical help.

What Does a CNA Do?

CNAs provide the majority of bedside and hands-on care for patients who need help with their activities of daily living. For example, CNAs often help patients with the following skills.

  • Showering and grooming
  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Walking

CNAs also help nurses take care of their patients by taking vital signs, transporting patients to appointments and working with certain medical equipment. CNAs are usually the eyes and the ears of nurses because of their close contact with patients.

Is Being a CNA a Smart Career Choice?

Choosing to be a CNA is a wise choice because the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this field will continue to grow as the U.S. population continues to age and require the skills of CNAs. Plus, CNAs can move on in their careers, often opting to take continuing education to become nurses. Sometimes, your work as a CNA can count as part of your nursing education.

How Can You Become Certified as a CNA?

To work as a CNA, you’ll need to meet certain legal requirements within your state. First, you’ll need to complete a state-approved training program, which typically lasts from two to four months. Next, you’ll take the certification examination, which will include a written examination as well as a hands-on skills test during which you’ll demonstrate certain skills in front of the test proctor.

You’ll find out whether you passed the test that same day. If you pass, you can immediately begin working as a CNA. In fact, some states actually let you work as a CNA for up to four months after graduation from your CNA program if you’re still waiting to take the examination.

Depending on your state, you may have some other certification requirements. For example, you might need to complete a criminal background check or enroll in continuing education classes immediately.

Are There Different State Requirements?

Of course, every state has different rules and requirements for working as a CNA or as a State Tested Nursing Assistant as they are called in some states. You should be sure to check with your state’s licensure board to determine exactly what classes you need to take, how many hours of teaching you need under your belt and how many hours of continuing education you need each year or every other year to retain your license.

Project Heartbeat has many offerings for CNA classes to help you keep your license up-to-date with your state. These courses cover a wide range of topics that will help you improve your practice and stay at the top of your game. For example, you can choose from classes that cover various body systems, such as the renal or endocrine systems, or can learn more about disease processes that could affect your patient populations, such as heart disease or diabetes mellitus. You may even want to choose a class that will help you better your career or care for yourself, such as the Stress Management class or the Team Building class.

Choosing to become CNA-certified is an investment in yourself and in your future career. Whether you want to work on the front lines of health care for many years or you want to use this career as a jumping off place for future growth in health care education, your certification and continuing education classes are sure to benefit you as well as the people for whom you care every day.