How Can Being a Licensed CNA Open Doors to Advanced Opportunities?

How Can Being a Licensed CNA Open Doors to Advanced Opportunities?

Are you a certified nursing assistant or someone looking to start a career as a CNA? If yes, one question must have crossed your mind, “Can I change my career or get advanced healthcare opportunities? So, if you’re thinking about becoming a licensed CNA but you don’t want to be stuck in that position, there’s good news for you. The position of a licensed CNA can be used as a stepping-stone to other advanced positions.

Join us as we explore how can a licensed CNA certification open doors to more advanced healthcare opportunities.

The Foundation: Understanding Licensed CNA Certification

To become a licensed CNA, you’ll need to earn the credentials that say you’re certified to work in this role. Once you are licensed, you can become a medical professional who supports the nursing staff in patient care. Here’s how it works:

  1. Requirements for Becoming a Licensed CNA

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent: Most states require a high school diploma or GED (General Educational Development) as a minimum educational requirement.
  • Completion of an Approved CNA Program: Prospective CNAs must undergo training through state-approved programs. These programs are offered by community colleges, vocational schools, or healthcare facilities.
  • Clinical Experience: Licensed CNA programs include hands-on clinical experience, allowing students to apply their knowledge in a real healthcare setting. This practical training is a crucial component of CNA education.
  1. Prerequisites for Becoming a Licensed CNA

  • Age Requirement: Candidates are typically required to be at least 18 years old, although some states may permit 16 or 17-year-olds to enroll with parental consent.
  • Criminal Background Check: Most states conduct a criminal background check as part of the application process. Certain criminal convictions may disqualify individuals from becoming CNAs.
  • Health Check: Some programs and states may require a physical examination to ensure that candidates are physically capable of performing the duties required of a CNA.
  • Immunizations: Proof of immunizations, particularly for diseases like hepatitis B and tuberculosis, is often required. Some programs may also require a negative drug test.
  • English Proficiency: Since effective communication is essential in healthcare, candidates are typically required to demonstrate a sufficient level of English proficiency.
  • CPR Certification: Many CNA programs require candidates to hold a valid CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) certification. It is crucial for responding to emergencies in a healthcare setting.
  1. Training Programs and Coursework Involved in CNA Certification

Most states require a certified nursing assistant candidate to complete a state-sanctioned nursing assistant training program. Such programs are commonly offered at technical schools, community colleges, and nursing homes. You can also find them in medical facilities and sometimes in high schools. The programs typically include a combination of classroom and lab instruction, along with supervised hands-on clinical practice.

  1. Examination Process and Licensure Criteria

While the exact requirements vary from state to state, in general, certified nursing assistant candidates must undergo 75 hours of training, with 59 of those hours going toward classroom training and 16 hours spent on manual skills instruction. Most licensed CNA exams are composed of two parts: skills demonstration and written or oral.

Key Skills and Responsibilities of a Licensed CNA

A licensed CNA will work under the supervision of registered nurses or licensed practical nurses. To be a successful CNA, you must have patience and strong attention to detail, in addition to stamina and strength. Other desirable qualities included a strong work ethic coupled with the ability to multi-task. You must be flexible, remain calm in challenging situations, and manage time effectively.

  1. Patient Care Techniques and Responsibilities

As a licensed CNA, you play a key role in helping patients with everyday activities, such as dressing and bathing. You also may be asked to take a patient’s vital signs. Also, when working at a facility rather than a patient’s home, you may be required to sanitize patient rooms.

  1. Communication and Teamwork Within Healthcare Settings

A licensed CNA must possess effective communication skills and work well within a team since you must regularly work with nurses, physicians, and social workers. You will also interact with physical therapists, as well as patients and their families. A certified nursing assistant should also be familiar with commonly used medical jargon in order to communicate in those terms.

  1. Importance of Empathy and Compassion in Patient Interactions

CNAs must also have the ability to maintain a caring bedside manner. It is invaluable when it comes to putting patients at ease so they can feel comfortable. It is very important to promote healing. Successful licensed CNAs, especially those working in nursing homes with older people, must also be capable of exhibiting empathy and compassion.

  1. Adherence to Medical Protocols and Regulations

Each licensed CNA must toe the line when it comes to complying with medical protocols and regulations. It is important to note these can vary by patient, agency, and facility. Protocols are detailed plans for medical treatments, experiments, or procedures.

Career Advancement Opportunities for Licensed CNAs

As a certified nursing assistant, you can use your position to advance your career and ultimately take on senior nursing roles or other positions. To do so, consider taking licensed CNA continuing education classes. These can boost your pay, expand your qualifications, and enhance your value. Such classes can also lead to a career as a certified home health aide or as a professional trained in Alzheimer’s disease care.

You may also want to consider medical assistant, EKG, seclusion and restraint, and psychosocial care skills—in addition to phlebotomy training. You may also train to become certified as a patient care tech or even head back to school to become an LPN or RN.

The Impact of a Licensed CNA on the Healthcare System

As a licensed CNA providing daily basic care, you’re essentially the primary caregiver for patients. Assisting the medical staff, you provide physical care for patients, as well as spiritual and emotional support. It can make a significant difference in the lives of patients and their families.

Overcoming Challenges and Taking Advantage of Opportunities

The challenges certified nursing assistants may encounter include stress and burnout, along with a need to balance the demands of work and family. You may also have to deal with inconsistent support and guidance, as well as insufficient staffing and equipment. Despite these challenges, however, you will likely find great reward in caring for patients while setting yourself up for career advancement opportunities.

How Wanderly Can Help You?

The certified nursing assistant plays a vital role in the healthcare system and the lives of patients and their families. If you enjoy working in a healthcare environment, there are ways in which you can leverage your licensed CNA credentials to pursue other opportunities, such as in nursing. Whatever your goals, Wanderly can help you get the best traveling certified nursing assistant assignments available.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can licensed CNAs increase their value?

Absolutely. There are a number of additional licensed CNA certifications and continuing education courses you can take to advance your certified nursing assistant career and enhance your value.

  1. What’s the difference between a personal care assistant (PCA) and a certified nurse assistant?

Generally, licensed CNAs have more medical training than PCAs and can handle more medically complex tasks.

  1. How much do licensed CNAs make?

While it varies, the average rate for a certified nursing assistant is about $15 hourly.

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