CNA Careers and Jobs

A certified nursing assistant (CNA) receives training to provide very basic care to patients. Since they are not registered nurses (RN), they do not have the same abilities as the nurses they assist. Most of their duties will be to assist their supervising nurse in caring for patients and reading medical charts. This career path is a great way to start out in the medical field; if CNAs are interested in furthering their career and becoming a nurse, they can continue their education while working.

CNA Job Duties and Responsibilities

Doctors and nurses operate on busy schedules tending to many patients, so they rely on the training and ability of CNAs to help with basic care in order to ensure that their patients receive adequate and proper care and attention. There are many day-to-day responsibilities that make the role of a CNA vital to any medical facility. Some duties and responsibilities that CNAs can expect to handle include:

  • Making beds/changing linens
  • Maintaining room cleanliness
  • Dressing/undressing patients
  • Feeding patients
  • Bathing patients if necessary
  • Changing bedpans/emptying catheter bags
  • Overseeing patients’ personal hygiene
  • Taking patients’ vital signs
  • Collecting noninvasive bodily fluid specimen samples
  • Checking patients’ medical charts
  • Reporting to their supervising nurse
  • Moving patients between rooms or other areas of the facility

CNA Work Environment

CNAs have the flexibility to work in a variety of facilities. Where you work determines your hours, your working environment, and even your salary; it is important to weigh all of your options before deciding which is the best fit for your schedule and working style. A few options for CNAs might be:

  • Hospitals – Working in a hospital can often be a more fast-paced environment where CNAs will help care for a wide range of patients in different departments. You hours can vary depending on the type of hospital and the department in which you work; but, in the same regard, this also gives CNAs the flexibility to work nights as opposed to only day shifts.
  • Private Practices – Working for a doctor’s office in a more private setting has its benefits. Office hours are usually set, so your schedule won’t have much variance, and your salary potential could be higher since they have the flexibility to set their own pay rate. In this type of environment, you will see fewer patients and work in a more eased setting compare to a busier hospital.
  • Nursing Homes – CNAs who choose to work in a nursing home setting have day-to-day responsibilities of caring for and attending to elderly patients. They can expect to help maintain the health and hygiene of their patients, ensuring that they eat properly and assist in bathing and dressing when necessary. Their duties could also include moving patients or assisting those who have trouble getting around on their own.
  • Government Agencies – There are a number of government agencies that employee CNAs and other medical professionals. Some of these include working for military agencies, working in veterans affairs, or working for your state or county health department. An upside to working for the government is that they often offer more competitive benefits and vacation time. A downside can be dealing with different levels of management within the system that can slow down the decision-making process.

Online Nurse Assistant Degree Programs

For anyone who wishes to earn a nurses assistant certification, or CNA, earning a medical assisting or nursing assistant degree is usually required. Most often, an associate's degree from one of the schools below will be sufficient. For those wanting a more advanced degree, bachelor's level programs are also available.

Kaplan University
AS in Medical Assisting
Kaplan University — Kaplan's associate's degree in medical assisting at their School of Nursing offers courses on numerous topics including community nursing care, management, and informatics. Graduates of this program will be eligible for becoming a CNA.
Ultimate Medical Academy
AS in Medical Admin Asst
AS in Medical Billing & Coding
Medical Administrative Assistant Diploma
Medical Billing & Coding Diploma
Ultimate Medical Academy — The Ultimate Medical Academy's AS in medical administrative assisting prepares students to apply for entry-level employment as Medical Administrative Assistants or in similar clerical position within a medical office. Students are trained to understand and process medical insurance forms, utilize word processing, spreadsheet and database management computer applications, and apply effective customer service skills in the daily operations of the medical office.
Rasmussen College
Pharmacy Technician Certificate
Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate
AS in Health Sciences
Rasmussen College — For the student looking to enter the field of healthcare, the Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate offered by Rasmussen College will aid in reaching your career goals by teaching the necessary skills to fill several entry-level positions. Rasmussen also offers associate degrees in Health Sciences and Medical Laboratory Technician.
Liberty University
AA in Medical Office Assistance
Liberty University — Liberty University offers a online program for an AA in Medical Office Assistance. This program is designed for aspiring individuals looking to enter the world of health care. All courses are geared toward working professionals with busy schedules, so classes are flexible.

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