Interested in Becoming a CNA? Here’s How!
Here at SkillGigs, we have had quite a few individuals reach out to us on social media asking what it takes to become a CNA. First ask yourself: Are you a person that is patient and service-oriented, pays attention to detail, and enjoys being around people all the time? If so, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) is the career for you! Of course, a CNA must possess other qualities, but it is critical to have these to be successful at your job and truly enjoy your day-to-day duties.
As a CNA, you could provide primary care to patients in various settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and assisted living facilities. The time you spend with your patients is essential for their treatment plan and emotional state.
So how do you become one? We have the 411! SkillGigs is proud to support hundreds of CNAs in their search for their next local or travel gig, but first, we want to be a resource for those seeking a career in the healthcare profession, then help you land your first CNA job. So, here are the steps you should take to become a CNA.
Education Requirements for a CNA
CNAs, unlike registered nurses (RN), are not required to have a college degree, but you must have a high school diploma or GED to pursue this career. When obtained, you must enroll in a nursing assistant program. Credentialing varies from state to state, so you must know where you want to practice to enroll in a state-sanctioned training program and ultimately pass your state certification exam. Nursing assistant programs are available in community colleges, medical facilities, or trade schools. Keep in mind that the program you choose must be approved by the state’s nursing board and the National League for Nursing Accredited Commission (NLNAC).
Once you have completed your CNA training, it is testing time. Your exam will consist of two parts, a written and practical section. Your written section is timed for 90 minutes and will consist of multiple-choice questions, typically in a group setting. While your practical exam is timed for 30 minutes and administered one at a time with a single test proctor/observer. You will be tested on four selected practical skills in random order to demonstrate your competency.
You are Officially a CNA
Passed your nursing certification exam? Time to start searching for your first CNA job. As stated above, CNAs can work in several settings. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that most CNAs take their skills to hospitals and nursing care facilities. In some cases, CNAs choose to help patients from the comfort of the patient’s own home.
Although CNAs don’t diagnose illnesses, they are deeply involved in patient care from start to finish. Find out some of the responsibilities you may have as a CNA:
- Changing dressings
- Assisting with feeding and bathing of patients
- Taking vital signs such as temperature and blood pressure
- Stocking supplies
- Transporting patients to appointments or procedures
- Some patients need help with mobility or are bedridden
- Documenting patient’s health updates for nurses and doctors
- Cleaning rooms and maintaining a sanitized environment
Skills You Must Possess
You know the responsibilities you will gain, but what about the skills to do that? As a CNA, you must possess many skills to be successful on the job. For one, you must have a strong understanding of the body, how to assess a patient’s condition, and know how to take vital signs. This is extremely important to help maintain a safe environment for you and your patients. Other skills needed to be an excellent CNA are:
Verbal and Written Communication Skills
Communication is critical for all healthcare professionals. Verbally, you must effectively communicate with your patient’s prescription instructions and explain symptoms. Written, you must clearly and concisely document vitals, medications, and patients’ responses to treatment. If not, it could lead to dangerous misunderstandings.
Razor-Sharp Observation Skills
The job of a CNA is vital and plays a crucial role in patient care. As an involved healthcare professional, you are required to have a high level of vigilance and a strong sense of awareness to distinguish if a situation demands extra help to keep your patient safe. Any changes patient’s experience, you are to be alert and keep a keen eye on.
Time Management and Organizational Skills
Certified nursing assistants must know how to prioritize tasks and follow through with personal responsibilities. CNAs should know how to make the most out of every minute they are on the job and work independently with limited supervision. A CNAs day will be filled with multiple responsibilities. If CNAs cannot stay on task and meet deadlines, they can risk the safety of their patients.
These skills are skills that you must naturally possess or work towards. Patient care is a delicate situation that must be handled with empathy and compassion. Your bedside manners are important, and if you have a caring spirit, you can build a strong rapport with your patients and other medical staff.
This career will expose you to many medical situations, medical staff, and medical technology. Consider traveling jobs as you gain more experience and feel more confident in your skills. CNAs can take their skills to other places after they have earned at least 1-2 years of experience. Job opportunities can vary from full-time to part-time. To apply for these jobs, ensure your CNA license is up to date, your driver’s license record is clean, and your CPR card is updated.
Start Your CNA Career with SkillGigs
Our talent marketplace was designed to create solid and honest connections between talent and employers, eliminating any grey areas in the hiring process. When you create a profile, you essentially secure your next job on your terms. You set your job expectations, from work schedules to salary, and only then do our top employers bid on you. It is that simple yet that powerful!
SkillGigs has partnered with hundreds of new CNAs, bringing great job opportunities to kickstart their healthcare career. You are next!
Sign-up for free today and experience a much easier and more efficient way to land your CNA job.