By Linda Kerby, RN – C – R., S.N., M.A., B.A.
WORDS A CNA WOULD SAY…
“Good morning, Mrs. Brown. My name is Susan and I will be helping you today with your shower, help you get dressed, make sure you have help eating, walking, and maybe some light exercise, if you are up to it. I will also be taking your pulse, temperature and blood pressure.”
Susan is working in a nursing home and she really loves her patients. She attended a 12-week, state-approved training program at a community college, spending 100 hours of classroom instruction and clinical application learning how to take care of patients. At the end of the program, she passed a state-approved competency examination which qualified her to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). The exam measures the nursing skills of the Nursing Assistants and goes by the name of Nurse Aide Assessment Examination.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Thompson. I am Tom Smith and I will be giving you your medications today.”
After Tom completed his CNA course and passed the state examination, he enrolled in a Medication Aide Program that lasted six weeks. The course is designed to prepare CNAs to administer medications under supervision and guidance. Licensed practical nurses and Registered Nurses usually provide this support. Tom is responsible for monitoring patients for reactions to medications and reporting changes to his supervisor. He obtained Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification through a local Red Cross chapter and completed the course in one day. He will be required to take a refresher course every two years. Tom was also required to pass a background check by the hospital where he applied for a job.
Tom enjoys his duties at a skilled nursing facility, where he administers medications to about 30 patients. He also does bandage changes and applies topical medications to skin wounds. He reports changes, whether improvement or decline, to his supervisor for notation in the patients’ records and information for updating plans of care.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Baldwin. My name is Patricia Jones. I am a Certified Nursing Assistant with (named home health care agency). I will be coming to your home twice a week to care for your wife’s personal care needs such as, bathing and shampooing her hair….”
Patricia worked in a nursing home for two years after she completed her CNA certification and then she moved to a home health agency. She visits patients on a schedule based on their needs for care. In addition to personal care, she sometimes does family relief, so family members can have a few hours away from the home for shopping, errands, or doctor visits of their own. She likes the long-term aspect of her assignments, because she can really get to know her patients and their family members.
These are a few examples of typical tasks performed by CNAs and course
preparation. Agencies and states may have variations in these procedures.
The CNA position is often the stepping stone for students to gain practical experience in the field. Many develop an increased interest in going on to nursing school. To learn more about what CNAs do and where courses are offered visit our website at kcourhealthmatters.com
INTERESTED IN THE CNA PROGRAM?
Metropolitan Community College is partnering with the state of Missouri’s SkillUP Missouri Employment & Training Program. Missouri SNAP (food stamp) recipients may qualify for a tuition free scholarship for the following MCC non-credit workforce programs: CAN (Certified Nurse Assistant), Pharmacy Tech., Phlebotomy, CDL-A Truck Driving, or Warehousing & Forklift (located at the MCC-Penn Valley Health Science Institute or at MCC-Business & Technology)
Call 816-604-1000 and ask for SkillUP to get started!