President of StrategiCareStaffing, Elmer Alegado, explains how you can start a successful career as a CNA.
A certified nursing assistant (CNA) plays a vital role in the healthcare system by providing basic care to patients. They work under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) in a variety of facilities, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, private homes, assisted living facilities, and physical rehabilitation centers, among others. Elmer Alegado, a healthcare professional with over 25 years of experience in the industry, explains the responsibilities of a certified nursing assistant and what it takes to become one.
A certified nursing assistant is responsible for many essential tasks. Elmer Alegado explains that CNA’s are the one taking the vital signs of the patients such as blood pressure, pulse rate, respiratory rate and temperature. Elmer Alegado goes on to explain that certified nursing assistants also help the patient in their activities of daily living (ADL) such as bathing, grooming, dressing, feeding, ambulation, transferring and toileting.
Certified nursing assistants must have specific characteristics to be successful in the role due to the nature of the position. Elmer Alegado notes that a CNA must be caring, compassionate, and trustworthy. Patients will be in vulnerable conditions and must be treated with dignity and respect at all times. According to Elmer Alegado, a certified nursing assistant must also be empathetic and patient to connect with patients and provide outstanding care.
Many young adults who are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare start by becoming a CNA. According to Elmer Alegado, it is a much quicker process to become a certified nursing assistant compared to the investment of a four-year college degree. CNA applicants must complete specialized training and pass a competency exam. Elmer Alegado explains that the outlook for this career choice is positive.
CNA training varies according to state guidelines. However, applicants can expect to complete the training process in as little as four to sixteen weeks. Elmer Alegado notes that training courses are available at community colleges, hospitals, vocational schools, and the Red Cross in addition to his company, StrategiCareStaffing, located in California.
After the training process, candidates must take the CNA certification exam. All 50 states require a passing score before an applicant is considered to be a certified nursing assistant. Elmer Alegado notes that there are many practice tests available to help students prepare for the real deal. Plus, some states allow students to work for up to four months before taking the test so that they can apply practical life skills to the exam.
According to Elmer Alegado, the certified nursing assistant exam is broken down into two parts: a clinical test and a written assessment. In some instances, students will be asked to bring a volunteer to the exam for role-playing scenarios to demonstrate mastery. Elmer Alegado notes that students should be prepared to answer up to 70 questions on a variety of topics related to the role of a certified nurse assistant. Results are shared the same day, and the test can be taken multiple times.