Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Being a CNA can provide valuable hands-on experience, enhance your patient skills, and serve as a steppingstone for further advancement in the healthcare field.
The duration to become a CNA typically takes 12-14 weeks. To become a CNA the candidate must be 16 years of age, pass a physical (health) screening and background check, and successfully complete a training program of at least 60 hours of classroom theory time and 100 clinical hours approved by the California Department of Public Health. Finally, the candidate must pass the Competency Evaluation Examination which tests the candidate’s knowledge and skills related to basic patient care services. This process typically takes between 6 and 14 weeks depending on the training program.
Key skills to excel as a CNA include:
- Communication: Effectively working with residents, families, and the healthcare teams.
- Empathy: Understanding and responding to the emotional needs of residents with compassion.
- Change Agility: Having the ability to work under pressure and prioritize multiple tasks.
- Attention to Detail: Noticing changes in residents’ mental, emotional, and physical conditions and accurately documenting them and communicating changes to a supervisor.
- Physical Stamina: Handling the physical demands of the role including lifting and assisting patients.
- Time management: Effectively prioritizing tasks and utilizing the time efficiently to provide timely and quality care to residents.
Communication helps CNA’s foster relationships with residents, families, and the healthcare teams to achieve individualized care plan targets and goals.
Yes, CNAs often build meaningful relationships with the residents in long-term care. The CNA is the resident’s primary caretaker, consistently interacting with and tending to their needs and desires- thus, building trust. Building these relationships enhances the overall quality of care provided and contributes to a positive and supportive environment for residents.
As CNAs gain experience in skilled nursing and long-term care, several career pathways can open, including:
- Preceptor Nurse Assistant: CNAs serving as a teacher, mentor and coach for the newest team members. This additional certification course is designed to equip CNAs with the tools necessary to serve as a bridge to help get the new staff through that critical phase of initial employment. They can also assist students who are conducting clinical rotations in the facility.
- Restorative Nurse Assistant: A restorative aide is a certified nursing assistant (CNA) who has additional, specialized training in restorative nursing care. Restorative aides assist residents with exercises designed by the nursing or rehabilitation staff to help them improve the use of limbs and body functions. A restorative aide’s duties can include assisting residents with walking, strength training and range of motion exercises, including dressing and grooming.
- Dementia Specialty or Behavioral Health Specialty: These certifications provide CNAs with skills to identify and respond to issues involving resident dementia and mental health that are critical, both to quality of care and to staff safety. CNAs with this skill set will be able to identify and respond to issues and behaviors that may result in problems and to appropriately deescalate situations.
- Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) or Registered Nurse (RN): The CNA experience provides a solid foundation that can make you a desired candidate for enrollment in LVN or RN schools. This opens opportunities to enhance your skills and progress in the healthcare industry with added responsibilities.
The CNA that commits to advancing their knowledge and skill set not only grow professionally and gain job satisfaction, they also provide a higher level of care to the residents.
Absolutely! CNAs employed by companies providing upskilling programs can enrich their knowledge and skill set while advancing through CNA levels I-IV, including new titles and incremental wage increases.
Employers recognize and reward CNAs in a variety of ways including incremental wage increases, increased responsibilities, and by providing opportunities to advance to LVN or RN.
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