Upon graduating from a state approved nursing assistant course and successfully passing a state given certification test, an individual can work in many organizations as a certified nursing assistant, or CNA. As a practicing nurse assistant, you will gain experience each day just by performing your duties, developing additional skills is both expected and desirable.
To become a certified nursing assistant in the United States you must complete a nurse’s aide program approved by the state you are choosing to obtain your training. Completing your CNA training at a state-approved program will ensure that you receive the necessary number of classroom hours and clinical requirements that are needed to qualify for certification.
The certification exam is administered by each state and encompasses both written and clinical sections. During the clinical portion of the exam you must be able to show adeptness at bending and moving a patient, measuring and recording a patient’s output of body liquids, taking vital signs and other daily maintenance activities related to caring for an individual in a long term care facility or other institution. Mastering these skills will ensure state certification and placement on the state registry and it will guarantee that you are capable of performing the job of a certified nursing assistant beyond the supervision of a clinical setting.
After obtaining certification as a nurse’s aide, you must maintain your skills. Certified nursing assistants are required in some states to complete a certain number of hours of continuing education credits or CEUs each year in order to maintain their certification. Some states even require that individuals work a particular amount of hours a year to keep their certifications active. Employers may require that nurse’s aide participate in certain classes directed towards obtaining additional skills such as proper cleaning of catheters to ensure the procedure is done correctly or as a refresher.
As a nurse’s aide gains experience there may be opportunities to develop more skills that require additional certifications. In all cases certified nursing assistants are not allowed to distribute medicine to patients. However, in some states there is a special position called a certified medicine aide. One of the requirements to become a medicine aide is certification as a nursing assistant and a satisfactory length of employment as a CNA. Upon successful completion of this course, which can be obtained through an organization such as the Red Cross, a nursing assistant will have the added skill and responsibility of distributing medication.
Taking the initiative to maintain and increase your skills as a certified nursing assistant will make certain that you can perform your job properly and will provide an avenue for professional advancement.