Category Archives: CNA Certification

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.

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 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.