Author Archives: Jesse Hall

Essential Tips to Succeed as a CNA

Much like any other career, succeeding as a certified nursing assistant requires far more than simply showing up to work. Although your attendance plays a direct role in your success, to truly succeed as a certified nursing assistant, you must go above-and-beyond your minimum expectations. Even though you may find yourself stressed and anxious, especially if you’re new to this profession, the following tips can help ensure you maintain a specific level of professionalism guaranteed to keep you successful throughout your career.

Tip #1: Take Notes…Lots of Notes

A common habit the most successful certified nursing assistants is note taking. Throughout your day you’ll be bombarded by a host of details and requirements. Unless you have an extremely good memory, it’s easy to let things fall through the cracks. To avoid this scenario, document as many details as possible.

Not only does writing information down ensure you remain on track, it’s an excellent way to recall information. Therefore, avoid writing notes down on your phone or laptop. Instead, keep a handwritten notebook in your pocket. Research studies have proven when you physically write information, you retain and recall this information much faster than if you were to keep notes in your phone or on a computer. Good note-taking skills will also reduce your workplace anxiety. Many new CNAs are stressed by the sheer amount of information they must remember. If you are diligent in taking notes, all the information you need will be at your fingertips.

Tip #2: Do Your Job…No Really, Just Do It

This may seem common knowledge, but you’d be surprised at the number of CNAs who show up to work and simply sit around. If you wish to truly succeed in this profession, then you must simply do your job. Regardless of what’s happening in your life, either professional or personal, leave these issues at the door. You’ll be surprised at how successful you’ll actually be if you simply perform your expected job duties.

The most effective way to execute your job is to know what’s expected of you. What elements do you need to discover upon walking through the door? Are there new patients? Are current patients doing well with their care plans? What changes have occurred since your last shift? All of these questions are essential to answer immediately upon walking through the door.

Go above-and-beyond what’s expected of you. Doing your job requires far more than simply showing up. While you have minimum expectations, showcase your dedication to your job by going above your bare minimum job requirements. Regularly communicate with your supervisor and other nurses. Ask how you can assist them. A certified nursing assistant who’s eager to learn and assist are typically the most successful.

Tip #3: Be Prepared for Everything

Preparation is the key element of success. Ill-prepared certified nursing assistants will not go far in this industry. A primary aspect of preparation is carrying essential tools with you. Always make sure you have a notebook, pencil, pen, tape measure, gloves and all other items you’ll be required to use throughout your day. Having to waste time hunting down an essential item will destroy your productivity and your professionalism.

Often, the next step after a successful term as a Certified Nursing Assistant is to become a Registered Nurse. For those interested, learn how to go from CNA to RN. This will undoubtedly open a new door to the medical world, with a more lucrative salary and more prestigious prospects.

Be sure to read my post, Can I Pay for Nursing School without Going into Debt, before committing to a CNA to RN bridge program.

Exploring CNA Job Duties Patient Assessment

When you look at the certified nursing assistant career objectives, you’ll likely see a strong theme. Unlike registered nurses and other nursing professionals, a certified nursing assistant is primarily responsible for tending to patients. Its this requirement that attracts so many to this unique and demanding field. These professionals are given a unique opportunity to interact with patients on a more personal and intimate level.

Because of this, its no surprise the primary responsibility of a certified nursing assistant involves assessing the current state of a patient. In fact, this job duty is so important its actually part of the official nursing process all nurses are trained in.

What is Patient Assessment

In the most fundamental sense, patient assessment is the act of continually utilizing your observational skills in order to determine the current state of a patient. More times than not, the patients personal observations of their illness or bodily sensations are the only source of medical history a nurse is given. Because of this, the entire healthcare team heavily relies on the observations of certified nursing assistants.

When you assess a patient, the data you create should be completely free from personal opinions; this is the heart of objectiveness. Its essential that you, as a CNA, remain as non-judgmental as possible. In order to obtain an accurate assessment, you should strive to support: obtaining medical history from the patient, assisting nurses with a physical examination of the patient as well as reviewing all relevant medical information. While a certified nursing assistant isn’t responsible for undertaking these specific duties, it is your responsibility to support other nurses during this important process.

One of the most unique elements when it comes to a certified nursing assistant is the amount of time you’ll spend with a patient. Unlike other medical professionals, which tend to very specific activities within a patient, a CNA is actively involved within the daily activities of patients. Because of this, your given a unique opportunity to observe the baseline experiences of a patient.

In many instances, a certified nursing assistant is the first one who notices a change within a patient in either for the positive or negative. Because of your unique involvement within the daily lives of patients, a CNA must possess excellent communication and reporting skills. Its your responsibility to document these changes and immediately notify your supervisor should the patient begin experiencing serious side effects or even minor alterations to their comfort level or mental stability.

Can I Pay for Nursing School Without Going Into Debt?

Perhaps the most common question I’ve received from nursing school students are related to the overall cost of attendance. It’s good that students are thinking more and more about how much their tuition will cost, but it’s not a good thing that students are more willing to take on large amounts of student loan debt in order to attend school. Let’s face it—nursing school is expensive, and unless you’re going to school to be a CNA (which is much cheaper), you’re going to have to find a way to pay for it. Most people can’t afford to pay their tuition up front, which is totally fine, but unfortunately they resort to taking out student loans right away instead of trying to find a better solution. Let’s take a look at some of the things that you can do to pay for your nursing school without racking up a huge amount of debt.

Cutting costs is one of the best things that you can do, and it doesn’t require you to apply for scholarships or really do any kind of application. You might be wondering how it’s possible to cut costs when it comes to tuition, but it is definitely possible. First of all, housing is one of the biggest costs that can be cut from your tuition bill. For some reason, students automatically think that they need to live on campus in order to get the “full college experience.” Whether you’re talking about nursing school, or some other major, this doesn’t seem to matter—people have the same drive toward living on campus. The problem with living on campus (instead of living at home still), is that it costs a tremendous amount of money, and a lot can be saved by living at home. Sure, you won’t be able to partake in some of the dorm room shenanigans, but you’ll be glad you made that choice when school is over and you’re not left with a mountain of debt to pay back.

That’s just one way to save money on your nursing school tuition, but this blog will be updated regularly with all sorts of money saving tips and other information about nursing school and certified nursing assistant classes. Hopefully this post allowed you to see that you don’t have to jump into a mountain of student loan debt just because everyone else is, and that there are affordable ways to attend nursing school or pay for your certified nursing assistant courses.


I’m a huge fan of Dave Ramsey, and his wisdom of the realm of personal finance. Check out this post, 5 Debt-Free Ways to Pay for College (and Still Save for Retirement).

How Long Will it Take Me to Get Through CNA, LPN or LVN Training?

Whenever you’re thinking about embarking on a new educational program, it’s important to consider a wide range of factors. Cost, length of time, difficulty—all of these things are great things to think about. Today, this article is going to cover length of time—how long it takes to complete a CNA training program. There are many variables to be covered here, so let’s get started!

Let’s look at the averages first. In general, CNA training classes tend to last a matter of months, not years like studying to become an RN. How many months exactly depends upon the school or organization offering the classes, as well as how frequently you attend your classes. For example, if you attend classes on a nightly basis during the week, you’ll finish much quicker than someone who only attends classes on the weekends.

Another factor in how long your training will last is the requirements of the state that you live in. Some states require slightly longer training durations than others, and some states don’t allow any training to be done online, where some states do. If you’re able to take training online, that can alter the amount of time it takes you to finish because you might be able to study at night or after you get off work. In contrast, if you had to take classes in person, you might be stuck attending only when you can, based on your other obligations.

Either way, it’s a good idea to plan for at least a few months of training to become a CNA. After your classes are done, you still have other obligations before you become certified (for even more information about this, check out CNA Classes Central.com). You’ll need to make sure that you attend and pass the clinical portion of the classes, and then you’ll need to register for and pass the state CNA exam. Once you pass all of these things, you’ll be able to obtain a listing in your state’s nurse aide registry and then begin working.

After you have become a CNA, you may wish to consider CNA to LPN programs, otherwise known as CNA to LVN programs in California and Texas. The term LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) is the primary term used across the United States, which the Licensed Vocational Nurse is traditionally exclusive to California and Texas.

If you have any questions about how this process works for CNA, LPN or LVN in your specific state, then get in touch with your local department of health and human services. This is generally the department that handles certification and training requirements for certified nursing assistants and other medical specialties. The should be a main number that you can call in order to get in touch with someone so that you can find out exactly what you need to do, and exactly how long it will take.

Is it Possible to Take Your CNA Training Online?

The utilization of online learning is growing rapidly in the United States. For people thinking about starting a CNA program, the idea of taking their training online may sound too good to be true. It’s tough to know whether or not this is actually possibly, and all of the ads that you see online and on TV make it seem like it’s super easy to do—but is that really the truth? Well, it is true, but only to a certain extent. Let’s take some time to look at the reason behind what’s true and what isn’t.

To start with, you can actually take your CNA courses online, this is 100% true. But what many ads don’t tell you is that you can’t take ALL of it online. That’s the kicker, and it’s what some people have a hard time understanding. The reason you can take all of your training online is because the internet isn’t a good medium for conveying all of the knowledge. For example, you can’t learn how to manipulate someone’s arm properly in order to take blood pressure, or how to move a patient without hurting them. You just can’t figure these things out online no matter how many videos you watch—these are things that need to be done in person, and there’s no way around that. In fact, some states don’t even allow you to take any of your training online.

For example, in Kansas, you can take the lecture portion of your classes online, but you need to do the labs and clinical in person. The lecture portion is basically the “book learning” portion of the class, and that’s where you gather knowledge from the textbook, take quizzes, and things like that. It’s ok to do these things online because you aren’t learning any physical skills. However, even in Kansas, you’ll still need to report to a classroom to learn and practice the rest of the skills. You’ll also have to report to a testing facility in person when you take your state CNA test. As mentioned earlier, it’s very important to keep in mind that not all states allow you to take online CNA training, and you need to check with the department of health and human services in your state to see what the rules are where you live. If you’re interested in taking your class online, and you’re lucky, you might be able to go ahead and sign up for an online/in person combination class where you can do the lecture course work at your convenience and then attend class for the physical skills. Again, you have to check this out with your state in order to get the correct information. So take the time to find out, and you may be fortunate enough to live in a state where this is an option for you!

Does Nursing Pay Well Compared to Other Careers?

One of the most common questions that anyone has when starting a new career is: how much money will I make? This is a fair question, and something that’s important to consider. It’s definitely not a wise idea to get into a career without knowing first how much money you’ll make. If you were to do that, you could end up wasting time and money on school, only to find out that you aren’t going to be able to earn enough money. So, how do you avoid that? It’s simple actually…you just do a little research beforehand to find out exactly what people in your chosen profession (nursing and certified nursing assistants in this case) actually make. It’s also a good idea to look at an average number, because some people will make more, and some people will make less. This especially depends on where you live (in a rural area vs the city) and some other factors like previous work experience.

Generally speaking, RNs make much more than CNAs, but part of the reason for that is because their jobs entail more responsibilities, and they have to be in school much longer. On average, CNAs can expect to make around $10-$14 per hours, where RNs can expect to make nearly double that amount. Again, this pay rate is related to the amount of time that they spend in school, as well as the job duties. Nurses generally have more difficult and complex job duties compared to CNAs, and so it makes sense that they should be paid more.

This doesn’t mean that CNAs make low pay, in fact, nothing could be more untrue. Actually, for the short amount of time that they are in school, certified nursing assistants are actually paid very well. The rates can vary though depending upon what type of facility you’re working in. For example, if you’re working in a group home or state-sponsored nursing home, you might be making less per hour than if you’re working for a private company that has more funds at their disposal. The same holds true for an RN who is working in a county hospital vs a private practice setting. Obviously in that example the nurse working in private practice would be earning much more because the doctors are billing the patients for more expensive services.

Whether you choose to be a CNA or an RN, you can expect to make a good, competitive wage and earn more than if you were working in a job that didn’t require education. In fact, most people in the medical industry consider their jobs to be very well paying, and the salaries in general for nursing and the medical industry overall tend to be on the higher end in terms of overall careers.