Certified Nursing Assistants Play a Vital Role
Certified nursing assistants provide essential assistance to elderly and disabled individuals with daily healthcare needs. As healthcare professionals, Visiting Nurse Health System recognizes the value of the direct care that certified nursing assistants provide and is deeply grateful for the work they do to improve the lives of our patients. Visiting Nurse, Georgia’s largest nonprofit home healthcare and hospice provider, employs nearly 40 nursing assistants.
Given the expanding need for person-centered care in the home or the place our patients call home, the demand for hands-on- care is greater than ever before.
What does a certified nursing assistant do?
The nursing assistant position was created by the American Red Cross during World War I and was originally called a Volunteer Nurses’ Aide Service.
A certified nursing assistant (CNA), also referred to as a nursing assistant, patient care assistant or state tested nurse aid, is responsible for assisting patients in daily needs like bathing, eating, and moving from the bed to a wheelchair, or vice versa. CNAs also take vital signs, assist a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN), and report to those nurses any concerns or issues addressed by the patient or patient’s family.
Where can a CNA work?
Nursing assistants typically work in public or private hospitals, nursing homes or home care facilities. Flexibility is key in this field since hours can vary, depending on the type of home care facility or hospital.
What is the average employment and salary of a nursing assistant?
Being a nursing assistant is a healthcare career field that’s growing faster than other occupations nationally, and metro Atlanta has one of the highest employment levels, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nationally, more than 1.5 million nursing assistants were employed in 2015. The number of nursing assistants jobs is expected to grow by 17 percent—or 267,800 jobs—from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Median pay nationally is $25,710 per year.
Georgia’s nursing assistant employment is projected to rise by 21 percent through 2022, from 36,630 jobs to a projected 44,100 jobs. The average salary in Georgia is $22,650.
What does it take to become certified?
In order to have a better understanding of what it means to be a nursing assistant, here are a few aspects of the training and job requirements to consider.
The first requirement to become a nursing assistant is to have a high school diploma or GED. Then, you must complete roughly 80 hours, or four to 16 weeks of training, depending on the institution and state. Some institutions will require that you take classes in CPR, First Aid, medical terminology and anatomy.
You can take CNA training at technical colleges, the American Red Cross, community colleges, healthcare providers or online. For example, the Atlanta Red Cross offers a four-week, hands-on training program that teaches skills to help you assist patients, such as foot care, brushing teeth and taking blood pressure.
Georgia does not require nursing assistants to have a license. To be certified, you need to complete 80 hours of training and pass the Pearson Vue CNA certification exam. Then you can apply for jobs to work as a certified nursing assistant in a field that can make a difference.