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Have what it takes to be a certified nursing assistant?

Updated on February 1, 2013

How hard is being a CNA?

So, I was once a CNA. I know exactly what steps you have to take to get to being certified and how the job really is. So in order to be a cna you must be certified through the state. In order to get certified you must take a class. The classes usually last less than a month, but the time variations differ from state to state. Some classes are held through the local schools or through a nursing home(now known as a long term care facility, which they will hammer into your head through class!) So you will pay for these classes out of your own pocket, financial aid is not available for this. Once you get signed up, you're ready to start. Classes usually begin early in the morning and last about 8 to 9 hours. A few weeks will be in the classroom. You will sit in class and go over a textbook over everything a CNA does and maybe do a few presentations or reports, nothing hard. Then you will begin in classroom labs. Here is where you get to do some hands on stuff with the mannequins with your classmates. Your teacher will evaluate how well you are performing the steps and see if you are ready to head over to the long term care facility for clinicals(we will get to this in a minute) Labs will include how to properly make a bed with or without a resident in it, blood pressure reading, taking pulse, ambulating a resident etc... You really need to practice these in order to do them correctly without missing a little step. Next you head over for clinicals. Here is where you work for about a week unpaid doing the stuff you learned in class on real residents. Nothing will be to extreme, you won't be working with fully dependent residents, but with residents who need limited assistance. After your week is over you graduate class(or not) and you're ready to take the state test. Here you take a written test and 3 on hands things, like the labs I stated above. It is very never wracking and you must remember not to miss any steps as you could fail and have to retake again. Finally, you've passed the test and are ready to get a job, right?

You land your first interview and pass it with flying colors and are offered the job, yay! Now to go buy your fun patterned scrubs and get to orientation which normally lasts a week where you go over the jobs policies and rules and regulations etc.. Now you are ready for training. You train with another CNA for about 2 to 4 weeks on average. you follow them around and help do things as you feel you are ready, or until your trainer tells you to do something specific. Keep in mind they arent always the friendliest. After training you are on your own! You will be assigned anywhere from 6 to 16 residents usually. with a minimum of 6 you should be okay, when you get up to 16 and so on things get hard. Each day you will have a list of which residents need which specific things (showers, ambulated, therapy) things like that. This is a very fast paced job in which you have to get all things done, no resident can be neglected. Now dont let me forget, these residents can be mean. Spit, yell, curse, call names, hit, and anything else you can think of. They can also be very heavy and fully dependent. You will be sore. You may even want to cry at times, it's a hard job and fellow cna's are not going to help most times, they are too busy trying to get their things done, or just think it's funny to watch you fail. That's just reality in nursing, trust me I've been there. And I did cry. And I quit. It was too much for me to handle. You have to be very stong, physically and mentally for this job and I wasn't ready. It's not a glamorous job, you wipe butt for a living. CNA classes and the job are two totally different worlds, in class they make it seem to be somewhat easy when in reality it isn't at all. It takes hard work and a lot of experience to enjoy the job. If this is the job you plan on doing good luck and best wishes and walk in keeping all these things in mind so you are prepared!

Here's one of the more complicated skills you need to learn.


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