The Pros and Cons of Becoming a CNA

The Pros and Cons of Becoming a CNA

Being a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is an important role in the healthcare industry. A typical day of a CNA can vary greatly depending on their work environment and specific responsibilities, but one thing remains constant – they provide vital care to those who need it most. In this post, we’ll explore what a day in the life of a CNA looks like, including the pros and cons associated with becoming one as well as some common misconceptions about being part of this profession. Whether you’re considering becoming a CNA or just curious about what they do every day, read on for more information.

Overview of a CNA's Role

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is an integral part of the healthcare team, providing basic care to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities. CNAs are responsible for helping patients with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They also provide emotional support to those who need it most.

CNAs must be compassionate and patient when dealing with their patients’ needs. They must have a good understanding of the human body so they can accurately assess a patient’s condition and report any changes or concerns to the supervising nurse or doctor. In addition to these duties, CNAs may also help with administrative tasks such as filing paperwork or answering phones.

CNAs typically work under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs). However, some states allow them to work independently in certain settings such as home health care agencies.

Typical Day of a CNA

A typical day for a CNA is often busy and varied. CNAs may start their shift by taking patient vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate, and respiration rate. They may help feed patients who are unable to do so themselves. Throughout the day they assist patients in moving around the facility either using wheelchairs or walkers depending on the patient’s needs.

CNAs are also responsible for keeping patient rooms clean and orderly. They change bed linens and provide personal hygiene assistance to those who need it. This could include helping with bathing, dressing, brushing teeth, combing hair, etc. Additionally, CNAs monitor patient progress throughout the day, assist nurses in providing medication or treatments, and report any changes to their supervisor or nurse on duty.

Administrative Tasks

In addition to providing direct care to patients, CNAs may be asked to help out with administrative tasks such as filing paperwork or answering phones when needed. At the end of their shift, CNAs will document any changes in a patient’s condition that occurred during their shift before clocking out for the day.

Pros of Becoming a CNA

One of the biggest benefits of becoming a CNA is stability. With an aging population and job turnover comes increased demand for healthcare professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 115,000 new CNA jobs will be created between 2021 and 2031, which translates into long-term job security. Other pros of being a CNA include:

Few Prerequisites

Unlike many entry-level RN positions or advanced nursing roles, there are few prerequisites to becoming a certified nursing assistant. CNA classes typically require a high school diploma or GED and licensing requires little more than the completion of a state-approved training program. This makes it possible for people who may not have time or money for college classes to quickly enter the profession.

Quick Entry Into the Field

Many fast-track CNA programs take no more than four to six weeks to complete, unlike degree programs that require a significant investment of time and money. Students who want to enter the field quickly can start earning a paycheck in less than two months.

Test the Waters

Becoming a CNA allows those interested in pursuing further education in nursing or another medical field to test out their career choice without committing too much time or money upfront. As a CNA you will work side-by-side with RNs and LPNs, receiving regular exposure to the tasks they perform. These insights can help you determine whether you want to pursue the same path.

Cons of Being a CNA

Working as a CNA can be physically demanding at times. As their job description suggests, the responsibilities of a CNA may include a significant amount of heavy lifting, bending over or stretching, or being on your feet for an extended period of time. Long shifts can lead to burnout or fatigue if not managed properly and physical demands such as lifting or moving heavy objects or people may cause injury if done incorrectly. So, individuals with physical ailments or limitations may find these roles too strenuous.

Other cons of being a CNA include:

Low Wages

CNA salaries and wages tend to be lower than other medical professions. In 2021 the mean annual wage reported for Certified Nursing Assistants was $33,250 or $16.00 per hour – far below the mean annual wage of $87,250 for registered nurses. So, if salary growth is something you are looking for then becoming a CNA may not be ideal.

Limited Growth Potential

Without additional schooling, there isn’t much room for advancement within this role. CNAs are not qualified to diagnose illnesses, unlike RNs who are able to make and contribute to patient diagnoses within their scope of practice in some states. They can not give medications without proper training and they can not make independent decisions regarding patient care. Instead, they must follow instructions from licensed personnel.

A practicing CNA who wants to take on more responsibility, gain more autonomy, or provide more significant bedside care must return to school to complete a bridge program or degree, such as a CNA-to-RN program or BSN degree.

Stressful and Emotionally Demanding

CNAs often work with patients facing significant injuries or health challenges. Helping a patient through their journey can be extremely rewarding, but also very stressful. At some point in your career you will lose a patient or be faced with those who are chronically irritated or angry. CNAs often face the brunt of their patients’ suffering, pain, and confusion.

Find CNA Classes in Your State

Learn more about CNA requirements in your state and find CNA classes near you.

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