Patience and caring have always been synonymous with the job of someone working in the field of healthcare. With certified nursing assistants, the stress on these two key attributes are even more pronounced. Certified nursing assistants are different from registered nurses in that their scope and limitations are even more limited than that of nurses. More than anything, their job is more focused on caring for the patient’s physical and emotional needs.
The salary for nursing assistants is relatively moderate, considering one does not need a high school diploma or a college degree to become one. There are schools that offer training, but the most popular classes are taught by the Red Cross. The Red Cross offers a training module for one to become a nursing assistant. Usually taught by registered nurses, aspiring assistants get to learn how to interact with a patient who is bedridden, mentally ill, or just physically incapable of cleaning themselves. In class, they learn what usually comprises their daily tasks as a nursing assistant. They learn how to position a patient properly, how to conduct a bedside bath, feed and dress a bedridden patient and employing proper body mechanics and postures so they don’t overstrain themselves at work. Since the class is being conducted by a registered nurse, she will also get to teach the class how to communicate with patients in any setting. Learning how to talk to a patient and gain their rapport will really ease the transition and is part of the daily task of a nursing assistant. Those who will be employed in hospital settings will also be taught on topics on how to spot a condition that is worsening in a patient after surgery, preventing infection and proper care on patients with various apparatuses in the body (catheter, tracheostomy, nasogastric tube, etc.). There are generally two parts to the classes: learning by the books and return demonstrations where the student is expected to perform the topics discussed.
Once the classes are over, the students will be expected to take a competency exam that is composed of both written and clinical exams. During the exams, the questions will always involve around a setting where the nursing assistant and patient are expected to interact. Even the practical exam revolves around the patient. For this reason, the aspiring nursing assistant is expected to treat the patient with respect, dignity and compassion at all times. A good tip to remember before performing any procedure is hand washing. As infection control and prevention are part of the nursing assistant’s duties, hand washing before any procedure is critical and will also show that you are conscious of your fundamental skills.
A career as a nursing assistant can be rewarding. There is a growing population of elderly and sick patients who are in need of the services only a nursing assistant can provide. Nursing assistants can work in hospitals, hospices, adult care centers and even at the houses of patients who need home care. Expect a seemingly endless number of opportunities for jobs when you become a certified nursing assistant.