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Caring for People When They Need It and Getting Paid for It

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Many associate certified nursing assistant jobs with checking vital signs and changing diapers. Those two tasks are definitely part of the job description of a certified nursing assistant (CNA), but there is a lot more to it. CNAs take care of your loved one in many different ways. They help with all aspects of the personal care. They do everything the patient or resident cannot do for him or herself. They assist with showers and meals, they keep the room tidy, and they keep your loved one company. The exact job description depends on where they work. Most CNAs start their career at a nursing home. Most residents at a nursing home are older folks, but some are there because of physical or mental challenges and are very young. CNAs in a nursing home are assigned to a number of patients or residents and the first thing they do when their shift starts is check everybody's vital signs. Every two hours of their shift they are required to check on each assigned patient and take care of their immediate needs. Patients have access to a call button so that they can request help in between if needed.

Nursing jobs are diversified and nursing assistant jobs are too. All CNAs work under the guidance and license of either a licensed practical nurse, also called a vocational nurse, or a registered nurse. Some CNAs work in nursing homes for their entire career. After two years many start working in other settings. Some choose to go into home care either working for a home health agency or are self employed. These CNAs either work with one particular patient and stay there all day and perform also light housekeeping jobs or they visit several patients a day and help take care of their needs at their home. Other CNAs choose to go to a hospital setting. They still start their shift with checking vital signs. They also check each patient every two hours or as often as the doctor advises. They assist the nurses with many other procedures. They help dress wounds, check blood sugar levels, and assist with catheters. Often they take tests for extra certifications. That gives them a better choice of nursing jobs and their employability goes up.

Most CNAs start their careers before they are certified. Nursing homes always have a shortage of CNAs and can hire nursing assistants up to three months before they become certified. Nursing homes try to get candidates to their facility by paying for and arranging their schooling. For certification candidates need to attend classes and take both a written and a skills test. A first aid certification, a CPR certification, and a food handler’s permit are also necessary for all nursing jobs. Nursing assistants start working at $8 or $9 an hour, but that number goes up quickly. As soon as the certification is taken care of, a pay increase of about $3 per hour is normal. CNAs who work in hospitals and have an extra certification like basic telemetry, those who can assist patients with an artificial heart, those who are trained to work as unit clerks, and CNAs who train new hires make between $15 and $20 an hour depending on the location.



Working as a Certified Nursing Assistant is very rewarding. Many patients and residents are very appreciative of their care. CNAs make life for sick or older people more enjoyable and acceptable.
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