Certified nursing assistants (CNA) work under the supervision of a registered nurse to provide patient care, and they also perform routine tasks to aid nurses and doctors. The responsibilities that fall to nursing assistants are many and can range from administrative work to physical labor and direct patient care. A typical day for a certified nursing assistant may include setting up medical equipment for doctors, assisting patients with bathing and eating, providing nurses with patient status updates, and making up a patient's room or bed.
Because nurses and doctors are often called away for procedures, certified nursing assistants can have the most personal contact with patients. However, the position can be quite demanding and CNAs may be called to take care of a number of different tasks in a limited amount of time. The stress level of the work is generally high and is partially determined by the environment; CNAs can work in a number of different medical settings, the most common being hospitals and nursing homes.
Most CNAs receive their training though a program that includes both classroom and hands-on portions, covering required fields like anatomy, infection control, and communication. These courses are offered by community colleges, medical facilities, and the American Red Cross. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field is expected to grow faster than the average, especially in elder care facilities. Because the CNA job itself -- and elder care in particular -- can be very challenging, there is a high turnover rate. As a result, those looking to begin a career in this field will likely have no trouble landing a position.
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