CNA Training Overview

Certified Nursing Assistants – or CNAs for short – serve vital roles in the health care industry, and are an essential part of patient care in man medical facilities. Alternatively known as orderlies, nurses’ aides, and patient care technicians, CNAs are responsible for assisting patients by providing nurse-supervised basic care that tends to a patient’s basic living needs. The growing use of certified nursing assistants in frontline medical care is one reason why CNA training is an increasingly important part of health care education.

While CNA training programs differ from state to state, and the duties of CNAs can vary dramatically from one health care institution to another, there are many basic skills that form the core of every CNA’s required knowledge base. Such basic care skills as checking vital signs, providing assistance in the operation of a variety of medical equipment, grooming and bathing patients, as well as assisting with feeding are all essential elements of CNA training. CNAs are also responsible for much of the emotional support patients require during hospitalization because they spend a larger amount of time with patients than do doctors and nurses.

In addition, CNA training involves instruction in critical aspects of patient care like the proper way to lift patients and turn them in their beds. Helping patients to walk, move to a chair, and use the bathroom facilities are also important aspects of every CNA’s educational regimen. First aid training, as well as stool and urinary sample collection, are also learned. CNAs even learn certain elements of basic physical therapy, and assist patients in performing simple exercises to improve range of motion.

There are a number of options for those who are interested in receiving CNA training, ranging from campus training to online courses. Each has their distinct advantages and disadvantages. Campus instruction at a community college or hospital is beneficial due to the hands-on nature of the education. Students who take CNA courses in a campus setting have the advantage of working closely with both instructors and peers, and have greater access to lab settings.

For those who consider becoming a CNA as a change of career, however, on-site campus instruction is often difficult to manage due to time constraints. If the student is changing careers, they may not be able to quit their current job to participate in the campus experience. In such situations, online courses are an option that many find attractive. There are a number of online courses of study available that can provide the CNA training needed to pass the necessary state certification tests required to become a CNA.

Whether training is accomplished on campus or online, costs can vary dramatically. Fee-based CNA training is the norm, but more and more hospitals and other institutions are offering free CNA training for those interested in the profession. In some cases, the free courses entail a commitment to work at the hospital for a specified period of time after certification is completed; in others, the program is completely free and designed only to help meet the overall need for certified nursing assistants.

Tags: An overview of CNA training options