For people who want to enter the field of nursing with a relatively limited education and start to earn a good living, becoming a nursing assistant (called a Certified Nursing Assistant or CNA in some states) is a good choice.

A CNA provides basic nursing care for patients in many different working environments. Most commonly a CNA will provide basic nursing care in hospitals, long term care nursing facilities, home health aide agencies and assisted living centers.

The most important part of a CNA’s job is to help elderly patients with the major activities that are required for them to live their lives. The most common job duties for these nurses generally are the following:

  • Cleaning and bathing patients so that they do not get any types of infections or worsen their medical condition
  • Helping patients to use their toilet and to get dressed
  • Turning and repositioning patients, and helping them get from beds to wheelchairs, etc.
  • Listen to their health concerns and provide that information to nurses
  • Measure vital signs including temperature and blood pressure
  • Helping patients to eat

Becoming a CNA requires you to finish a basic nursing education program in your state and to pass your state’s examination for nursing assistants or CNAs. Most of these programs will take one or possibly two semesters.

Getting your CNA designation is a very wise career choice; the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that job demand for CNAs overall will increase by an impressive 18% by 2024. This rate of growth is much faster than other professions. Experts believe that as our population ages, there will be more need for nursing aides and CNAs in nursing homes and hospitals.

CNAs held approximately 1.5 million jobs in 2014. It is estimated that there will be approximately 1.8 million of these workers in 2024.

According to BLS, most CNAs work in the following areas:

  • Nursing care centers: 41%
  • Hospitals: 25%
  • Retirement communities and assisted living: 11%
  • Home healthcare: 5%
  • Government agencies: 4%

Becoming a CNA also is a smart move if your intention is get more education later and become a registered nurse; that field also stands to see rapid job growth in the coming decade. Becoming a CNA can bring varying duties and career options, depending upon where you work and your exact position.

Continued next week

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