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Become A Certified Nursing Assistant

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Working As A Certified Nursing Assistant

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • $21,280

    Average Salary

What Does A Certified Nursing Assistant Do

Nursing assistants, sometimes called nursing aides, help provide basic care for patients in hospitals and residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. Orderlies transport patients and clean treatment areas.

Duties

Nursing assistants provide basic care and help with activities of daily living. They typically do the following:

  • Clean and bathe patients or residents
  • Help patients use the toilet and dress
  • Turn, reposition, and transfer patients between beds and wheelchairs
  • Listen to and record patients’ health concerns and report that information to nurses
  • Measure patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature
  • Serve meals and help patients eat

Some nursing assistants also may dispense medication, depending on their training level and the state in which they work.

In nursing homes and residential care facilities, assistants are often the principal caregivers. They have more contact with residents than other members of the staff. Because some residents stay in a nursing home for months or years, assistants may develop close relationships with their residents.

Orderlies typically do the following:

  • Assist patients with moving about the facility, such as pushing wheelchairs
  • Clean equipment and facilities
  • Change linens
  • Stock supplies

Nursing assistants and orderlies work as part of a healthcare team under the supervision of licensed practical or licensed vocational nurses and registered nurses.

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How To Become A Certified Nursing Assistant

Nursing assistants must complete a state-approved education program and must pass their state’s competency exam. Orderlies generally have at least a high school diploma.

Education and Training

Nursing assistants must complete a state-approved education program in which they learn the basic principles of nursing and complete supervised clinical work. These programs are found in high schools, community colleges, vocational and technical schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.

In addition, nursing assistants typically complete a brief period of on-the-job training to learn about their specific employer’s policies and procedures.

Orderlies typically have at least a high school diploma and receive a short period of on-the-job training.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

After completing a state-approved education program, nursing assistants take a competency exam. Passing this exam allows them to use state-specific titles. In some states, a nursing assistant or aide is called a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), but titles vary from state to state.

Nursing assistants who have passed the competency exam are placed on a state registry. Nursing assistants must be on the state registry to work in a nursing home.

Some states have other requirements as well, such as continuing education and a criminal background check. Check with state boards of nursing or health for more information.

In some states, nursing assistants can earn additional credentials, such as becoming a Certified Medication Assistant (CMA). As a CMA, they can give medications.

Orderlies do not need a license, however, many jobs require a Basic Life Support (BLS) certification, which shows they are trained to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Nursing assistants and orderlies must be able to communicate effectively to address patients’ or residents’ concerns. They also need to relay important information to other healthcare workers.

Compassion. Nursing assistants and orderlies assist and care for the sick, injured, and elderly. Doing so requires a compassionate and empathetic attitude.

Patience. The routine tasks of cleaning, feeding, and bathing patients or residents can be stressful. Nursing assistants and orderlies must have patience in order to complete these tasks.

Physical stamina. Nursing assistants and orderlies spend much of their time on their feet. They should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as lifting or moving patients.

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Certified Nursing Assistant jobs

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Certified Nursing Assistant Demographics

Gender

  • Female

    86.2%
  • Male

    11.8%
  • Unknown

    2.0%

Ethnicity

  • White

    81.2%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    10.3%
  • Asian

    6.4%
  • Unknown

    1.4%
  • Black or African American

    0.7%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    68.1%
  • French

    9.9%
  • Portuguese

    2.5%
  • Tagalog

    2.2%
  • German

    2.0%
  • Russian

    1.8%
  • Arabic

    1.5%
  • Hindi

    1.4%
  • Italian

    1.1%
  • Polish

    1.1%
  • Mandarin

    1.1%
  • Chinese

    1.1%
  • Hmong

    0.9%
  • Japanese

    0.9%
  • Vietnamese

    0.9%
  • Swedish

    0.8%
  • Swahili

    0.7%
  • Filipino

    0.7%
  • Dakota

    0.7%
  • Urdu

    0.6%
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Real Certified Nursing Assistant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Lead CNA and Staffing Coordinator Victoria Special Care Center El Cajon, CA Sep 15, 2016 $75,234
Nurse Assistant Lita & Ava Inc. DBA A Grace Sub-Acute & Skilled San Jose, CA May 31, 2016 $38,958
Nursing Assistants SAH-Rang-Bong Care Inc. Columbia, MD May 21, 2015 $31,970
Nurse Assistant George Primbs, Md Santa Barbara, CA Oct 02, 2007 $31,305
Nursing Assistant Arizona and 21St. Corp. Santa Monica, CA Oct 28, 2015 $30,742
Certified Nursing Assistant The Saratoga Hospital NY Jun 03, 2013 $30,679
Nurse Assistant Lita & Ava Inc. DBA A Grace Sub-Acute & Skilled San Jose, CA Jun 06, 2016 $29,682
Nursing Assistant Cecilia Joy Bollers Lanham, MD Sep 23, 2008 $29,162
Nursing Assistant Cecilia Joy Bollers Lanham, MD Mar 20, 2008 $29,162
Certified Nursing Assistant Elms of Cranbury Cranbury, NJ Nov 12, 2009 $28,571
Certified Nursing Assistant Elms of Cranbury Cranbury, NJ May 29, 2008 $28,571
Nursing Assistant Andover Partners LLC Houston, TX Sep 15, 2013 $28,000
Nursing Assistant Presbyterian Homes & Services Ankeny, IA Jul 25, 2016 $27,893
Nursing Assistant Absecon Manor Nursing Home Associates Absecon, NJ Jun 21, 2010 $27,340
Certified Nursing Assistant Carrington Court South Jordan, UT Apr 15, 2016 $25,044 -
$29,218
Nursing Assistants McIntosh Senior Living McIntosh, MN Nov 17, 2014 $24,209 -
$26,296
Nursing Assistant McIntosh Senior Living McIntosh, MN Nov 17, 2014 $24,209 -
$26,296
Nursing Assistant/Social Assistannce Services A & M Assisted Living Facility, Inc. Palm Bay, FL Apr 01, 2015 $24,001 -
$29,218
Certified Nurse Assistant Virginia Hospital Center Arlington, VA Dec 17, 2009 $24,001 -
$26,734
Nursing Assistant Carrington Court South Jordan, UT Feb 18, 2016 $24,001 -
$25,044
Nursing Assistant Heath Village Hackettstown, NJ Jun 27, 2008 $22,748
Home Health Certified Nursing Assistant Korean Home Health Care, Inc. Dallas, TX Mar 11, 2016 $22,700
Certified Nursing Assistant Arcadia Nursing & Rehabilitation Center Hamilton, NJ Sep 23, 2015 $21,798
Nursing Assistant Master Staffing Inc. Glendale, CA Dec 27, 2016 $21,778
Nursing Assistant Master Staffing Inc. Glendale, CA Aug 25, 2016 $21,778 -
$21,840
Nursing Assistant Master Staffing Inc. Glendale, CA Aug 26, 2016 $21,778 -
$21,840

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Top Skills for A Certified Nursing Assistant

ADLCNAVitalSignsPersonalHygieneBloodPressurePersonalCareDailyLivingActivitiesDementiaAlzheimerRNCarePlanCustomerServiceHoyerChargeNurseResponsibilitiesiDailyCareResidentCareEmotionalSupportCPRFluidIntake

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Top Certified Nursing Assistant Skills

  1. ADL
  2. CNA
  3. Vital Signs
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Manage day-to-day functional activities and assist with ADL's as needed.
  • Work on the Medical/Surgical Floor as a CNA helping patients with activities of daily living
  • Assisted registered nurses with vital signs, bathing, toileting, drawing blood, and starting IV's.
  • Administer bedside and personal care, such as ambulation and personal hygiene assistance.
  • Obtained and recorded vital signs such as temperature, pulse rate, weight, height, blood pressure etc.

Top Certified Nursing Assistant Employers

Certified Nursing Assistant Videos

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Career Video from drkit.org

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Career Video from drkit.org

Signature HealthCARE - Walk A Mile In CNA Shoes

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