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How do I become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)?

The reason why I like to do can is because I am interested in the medical field for my career #nursing #nursing-assistant #healthcare


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Robert J.’s Answer

Hello Ty C.

Several of those who have responded to your question, including David Avezov, Suzanne Swain Brint and Hwal Lee offered detailed steps and fantastic insights into the process of becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). However, I became a CNA many years ago through the U.S. military.

I will only add that as a group practice manager for a very busy outpatient women's health clinic, good CNAs are worth their weight in gold! I recently hired three CNAs to replace CNAs who were very key members of a multi-discipline team of surgeons, advanced practice nurses, registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and administrators. My CNAs are vital in the training medical residents and interns who come through my clinic to complete U.S. Defense Department General Medical Education requirements. One of my CNAs will be retiring with over 40 years of service -- all as a CNA. I have other CNAs that are working on programs to advance to RNs and LPNs. I know other CNAs who have advanced to physicians, PAs, and health care administrators. So, starting as an CNA can be the first leg of a long and rewarding journey in healthcare.

Good luck with your decision-making process and career choices.

Best regards,
Rob

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Robert J.’s Answer

Hello Ty C.

Several of those who have responded to your question, including David Avezov, Suzanne Swain and Hwal Lee offered detailed steps and fantastic insights into the process of becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). However, I became a CNA many years ago through the U.S. military.

I will only add that as a group practice manager for a very busy outpatient women's health outpatient clinic, good CNAs are worth their weight in gold! I recently hired three CNAs to replace CNAs who were very key members of a multi-discipline team of surgeons, advanced practice nurses, registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and administrators. My CNAs are vital in the training medical residents and interns who come through my clinic to complete U.S. Defense Department General Medical Education requirements. One of my CNAs will be retiring with over 40 years of service -- all as a CNA. I have other CNAs that are working on programs to advance to RNs and LPNs. I know other CNAs who have advanced to physicians, PAs, and health care administrators. So, starting as an CNA can be the first leg of a long and rewarding journey in healthcare.

Good luck with your decision-making process and career choices.

Best regards,
Rob

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David’s Answer

Few careers in the medical profession offer the fast-track to a career that you’ll find with CNA education. While there is certainly a fair amount of coursework and study, if you have your high school or equivalent diploma, you can become a CNA in less than a year. This makes it one of the most attractive options for working in the medical field, and also makes the career a top option for learning about the medical industry and finding out if it’s right for you.

There are four steps to becoming a CNA:

Earn your high school diploma or GED;
Complete state-approved CNA training (available online or at hospitals, community colleges, or The Red Cross);
Complete in-person clinical requirement;
Pass the certification exam & get listed on your state’s CNA registry.
Becoming a CNA is, at least compared to many other medical professions, fast and simple. But that doesn’t mean you can cruise through the work with little to no effort. Although the program is fast, the classes do require focus and commitment.

The only prerequisite for entering a CNA program is a high school diploma or equivalent. If you don’t have this diploma, you will need to go through the steps to complete your GED. However, if you graduated high school, you should meet the basic requirements for a CNA education.

The program and educational requirement for becoming a CNA will vary by state, so be sure to check the regulations in your area for complete details on becoming a certified nursing assistant. You can find programs that meet CNA educational requirements offered by many institutions and organizations. While a community college is often the setting for CNA courses, they are offered at high schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. You can also take online CNA classes, although you will need to complete a short period of in-person, on-the-job training.

Once you find a state-approved education program, you can enter into the classes and begin your education. Most CNA programs take about one to four months to complete, depending on the institution and how rapidly the classes are offered.

During your coursework, you will study topics like anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, and pharmacology. These classes will include mostly brief studies into each subject, which prepares you, in a short amount of time, to communicate and interact with nurses and doctors in the medical profession.

Before the program is over, students will have to complete on-site training, which is typically called “clinical studies” or “clinical work.” During this phase of your education, CNA students will work under the guidance of a medical professional, such as a registered nurse. This will give students direct experience in the types of jobs they will be completing, including vital signs, changing bedding, and providing patient comfort. Clinical work is not only required, it’s a valuable step for gaining direct experience in the medical setting.

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Suzanne’s Answer

Hi Ty C.,
Earning a CNA certification is an excellent means to explore the fields of medicine/ nursing. Hands on care is the best way to see if these professions would be of interest and if You are the right fit for the professions.
The American Rd Cross offers trainings nationwide.
Please copy and paste the link below for more information. I would be very careful if you decide to certify with a private company. Check and compare costs and reputation!

I hope this information is helpful.
https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cna-training






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Hwal’s Answer

Ty,

I'm a PA student learning to practice medicine, and worked as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) before applying to PA schools. In my case, I attended a CNA program at a community college before taking the certification exam. The program was about 8 weeks long, and included practical experience at a hospital and a long-term care facility, which was helpful. So this is definitely one of the ways for you to become a CNA.

Good luck!

Hwal

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