-Certified Nursing Assistant in the USA is a person, who have completed special training programs and passed necessary evaluation tests; who assists people with healthcare needs with daily living activities and provide bedside care to patients under the control of a Licensed Practical Nurse or Registered Nurse.
The Certified Nursing Assistant can be called in different ways: CNA, Nurses Aides, Patient Care Technicians, Home Health Aides, Patient Care Assistant, State Tested Nurse Aid or Nursing Assistant-Registered and more, depending on where he lives and works.
A nurse assistant is an important element of nowadays hospitals and care facilities; it is a part of a health care team who for sure has ability and extensive experience but can’t perform some tasks without qualification due to some issues of liability and legality. As it is written in the Nurse Practice Acts Nurse, an assistant is needed in order to make routine work and give simple care, so that nurses can have more time for providing care that only they can give. The CAN should not just be very skillful in the actual procedures but also be able to observe a condition of a client, patient and report to the nurse. Because a lot of responsibilities and duties, the nurse can’t spend a lot of time with the patient, that is why the nurse assistant is often playing a role of the nurse’s “eyes and ears” (Acello, 26).
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Talking about the history of CAN, it should be mentioned that in order to help overburdened nurses at the period of World War I, the American Red Cross developed the Volunteer Nurses’ Aide Service. At the end of the training, those volunteers used to do some of the more routine duties of nurses. The Omnibus Reconciliation Act was adopted by Congress in 1987. This act mostly referred to as OBRA, due to the lack of good-quality care and safety concerns in nursing homes in the country. It requires only well-trained personnel to work in Medicare nursing homes. Nowadays the initial training, testing, and in-service requirements are improving the care given in these care facilities (HYPERLINK “http://www.ehow.com/about_5180979_history-certified-nursing-assistants.html”Jones, 2009).
In order to become a CNA, a person needs to get special training and receive a certificate.
Nearly all training for the CNA is arranged through programs that are offered by the Red Cross, community colleges, and online schools and through medical facilities. Choosing medical facilities option, a person is provided with on-the-job training that is very valuable for any NA. A lot of schools offer training using medical facilities as part of their course programs too.
Regulations for federal nurse aide training are written in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act that was mentioned above. According to the law, such programs should include as minimum 50 hours of theory and 100 hours of clinical training with supervision. But training time can differ from state to state. For example the Red Cross CNA Training in Pennsylvania lasts 4 weeks and offers only day classes. And the Red Cross CNA Training in Georgia offers day and evening classes. Day training lasts for 3 weeks while evening training lasts for 6 weeks (Tedeiksaar, 47).
After obtaining the certificate, such assistants are called as certified nurse assistants (CNAs) or State Tested Nurse Aid (STNA) and are included into the State registry of nursing aides. To keep the certification valid, the nurse aides need to take courses of 48 hours every 2 years.
In order to become a state-certified nurse assistant, the person should meet a set of basic skill requirements. These skills will be used while caring patients in long-term-care facilities and in home settings. Mostly all nursing assistant skills descriptions refer to the care of elderly people, but nearly all of them could be used in any situation of nursing assistant practice.
The skills of nursing assistant can be understood as the set of learned tasks, which are used by CNAs in assisting and helping patients or clients with bedside care and providing activities of daily living (Wolgin, 63).
There are a lot of tasks that nurse assistant should do at work. The most common are to answer call signals of patients and to turn and reposition bedridden patients, in order to prevent bedsores. CANs should also check vital signs of patients, for example the patient’s temperature, respiration, blood pressure, pulse, and level of pain; also measure and record food and liquid intake; later report changes to nurses and doctor. One of the main tasks is to feed unable patients and help patients to walk, exercise, and move in and out of bed, provide ambulation help. Doing exercises helps with circulation of blood, and helps the patient heal faster, be in better health and a in a good mood, so patients have a longer and happier lives. Dressing and providing hair and nail care are also included in the responsibilities of CNAs. They also help with antiembolic stockings and assist in bedpan use output measurements. Providing proper hygiene, nursing assistants should give oral care, denture and mouth care for patients. Teeth of unable patients must be cleaned by nurse assistants in the morning and after each meal. Nurse assistants should prepare patients for surgery, treatment, or examination and transport them to treatment departments with the help of a wheelchair or stretcher. Such tasks as cleaning rooms and changing linens, bed making are also on shoulders of CNAs. Because of a lack of staff, patients usually get a full bath only once or twice a week; but on other days, patients get bedbaths and that is also a task for nurse assistant. Serving water and helping with range-of-motion exercises is very important too. If patients are not exercised, they can lose their ability to move. CNAs must help patents to perform a series of range-of-motion exercises that flex all parts of the body. This list is not full; there are much more tasks that certified nursing assistants have at their work (Parker-Pope, 2010).
It is necessary to be positive and kind while working with people, so good interpersonal skills and ability to be a team player are especially valuable traits for all health care workers, the same as a good training.
Providing the help, CNAs should forget about Universal Precaution. Proper hand washing is very important in their work. It is the step number one in preventing the germs spreading. NA should wash his hands before the contact with a patient and after it. Even hands that look clean can still spread disease. It is necessary to wash hands even while using gloves, because they don’t provide a 100% barrier to the transmission of disease and germs. Gloves should be used when needed (Brown, 2009).
It is necessary to mention about the rights of patients. The job of the entire health care personnel is to make sure that the rights of every patient are always adhered to. Every patient has the right to privacy and dignity while he is given the care; the right to be informed about the care plan and have an opportunity to participate in making it; the right to accept or refuse treatment, and the right to confidentiality of his personal information.
The National Center for Health Statistics published the results of a survey in March, 2007. The 62 page document is titled, An Introduction to the National Nursing Assistant Survey.
This report provides the information about the first national probability survey of nursing assistants working in nursing homes.
The results of a survey show that 3,017 interviews were completed from September 2004 to February 2005.The overall response rate were 53.4 percent. According to the survey, the total quantity of American people who need a long-term care is projected to more than double from 13 million in 2000 to 27 million in 2050. It was also said that nursing assistants working in nursing facilities make up an estimated 24.7 percent (593.490) of the over 2.4 million paraprofessional workers (5.6). (An Introduction to the National Nursing Assistant Survey, 2007).
Estimates of the amount of a care that is given by nursing assistants to long-term care facility residents, nursing home patients, and hospice clients is about 70-90 percent. Their continual and warm relationship to patients and their families, CNAs have an opportunity to create a positive change in the quality of provided care in nursing homes and other kinds of long-term care facilities. The recognition of contribution of nurse assistants has continued to grow over the years (HYPERLINK “http://www.ehow.com/about_5180979_history-certified-nursing-assistants.html”Jones, 2009).
Everyone understands that in such an important profession as a nurse assistant there are a lot of negative things and features. Everyone who decides to be a nursing assistance has put himself in a position where he works really hard and doesn’t get paid enough for it most of the time. The median wages for a Certified Nurse Assistants are $11.14 per hour, or $23,160 annual. According to the research, the maximum salary of a CAN with 20years of experience is 14$ hourly (Hourly Rate Chart).
At the same time, Certified Nursing Assistant wage is one of the fast growing in the country and can provide huge benefits for those people who want to become a CNA.
The need for CNAs increases in the whole country that is why the salary of certified nursing assistant ranges is being adjusted upward. It is one of the fast growing careers due to not a small part to the extreme shortage of certified nurses available to take open positions.
Not everyone can work as CNA, because it takes a very unique, special kind of person to be an effective NA. Nurse assistants often work hard without being recognized as they deserve it. But still they continue doing the work because they know it makes a significant impact in the life of the person they are assisting.
A lot of nursing assistants for sure get burned out from the job though or they have to find a job that brings more money. This fact, as a result leads to a shortage of qualified nursing assistants in many health care facilities. The same thing continues with those who are working there having to cover extra shifts, so the result of it is that more nursing assistants are seeking for job elsewhere. All these leads to the situation when the waiting process for care becomes long and the quality of it is suffered (Liu, 2008).
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The Boards of Nursing (State governing bodies) define and control nursing practice in every state. Their work includes checking the training and certification of NAs. Since the creating of this Board more than a century ago, it continues to ensure a prudent and reliable care. The purpose of the Board is to keep patients and caregivers away from harm. Only those who are meeting specific criteria may be called Certified Nursing Assistants. The certification guarantees the level of a nurse assistant (HYPERLINK “http://www.ehow.com/about_5180979_history-certified-nursing-assistants.html”Jones, 2009).
There is a big quantity of CAN`s professional organizations and assassinations which assist nursing assistants in their work. The main well-known are: National Association of Health Care Assistants, CNA/NNOC National Nurses United, American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordinators, American Association of Heart Failure Nurses, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation and many more.
The Certified Nursing Assistant plays a significant and important role in society, providing basic care while creating safe and comfortable conditions for patients. CNAs provide invaluable services for different people, but more often for the elderly in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Nursing assistants help hospice patients and people confined to home but who need their care, including helping with daily living things such as hygiene, mobility and nutrition. The phenomenon that began a long time ago as untrained volunteers` assistance the injured or sick people, has changed considerably during the history. Well-trained and dependable Certified Nursing Assistants meet today’s requirements and needs.
Acello, Barbara. Restorative Care: Fundamentals for the Certified Nursing Assistant. 1999.
An Introduction to the National Nursing Assistant Survey. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Series 1, Number 44. 2007. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_01/sr01_044.pdf
Brown, Theresa. Why Nurse Stereotypes Are Bad for Health, The New York Times, 1 July, 2009.
Hourly Rate Chart. Job: Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA). PayScale. Retrieved from http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Certified_Nurse_Assistant_(CNA)/Hourly_Rate
Jones, Maryl. History of Certified Nursing Assistants. 2009. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/about_5180979_history-certified-nursing-assistants.html
Liu, Caleb. Nursing Assistant – The Role and Expectations. November 10, 2008. Retrieved from http://ezinearticles.com/?Nursing-Assistant—The-Role-and-ExpectationsHYPERLINK “http://ezinearticles.com/?Nursing-Assistant—The-Role-and-Expectations&id=1675427″&HYPERLINK “http://ezinearticles.com/?Nursing-Assistant—The-Role-and-Expectations&id=1675427″id=1675427
Parker-Pope, Tara. Options for Elder Care, The New York Times. 12 March, 2010.
Tedeiksaar, Rein. Avoiding Falls: A Guidebook for Certified Nursing Assistants. 2005.
Wolgin, Francie. Being a Nursing Assistant. 8th ed. 1999.
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