Training for CNA certification is an integral part of the educational process for the nursing assistants who populate this nation’s hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities. Because these patient care professionals occupy such an important place in patient health care, how and what a CNA is taught is of the utmost importance – so much so that both the Federal government and the various states have all enacted specific regulations governing qualification and certification of nursing assistants. Though the standards vary depending upon which state is involved, most of the training for CNA certification is fairly uniform across the country.
When training for CNA certification, the student is expected to gain knowledge of and first-hand experience with numerous procedures and pieces of equipment which are vital to caring for the patients with whom they will come into contact. Since the role of the certified nursing assistant encompasses a broad range of tasks involving both basic hygienic needs as well as more complicated patient care procedures, the training for CNA certification is more complex than many outside the profession realize.
For example, certified nursing assistants are trained in the proper procedures for such basic hygienic and patient care tasks as brushing and flossing of the patient’s teeth as well as basic denture care, aiding the patient with showering, shampooing, and grooming hair, and assisting male patients with the act of shaving. CNAs also assist patients in using the bathroom or bedpan, empty urinary bags when full, and provide care for those patients with catheters (although special training is generally needed to actually insert the catheter). They also assist in collecting urine and stool samples, as well as providing enemas.
But there is more to training for CNA certification than just learning these basic hygienic practices. CNAs also assist with many of the duties that would otherwise be performed by Registered Nurses or LPNs. These duties include taking patient temperature with a thermometer, taking and noting both pulse and respiration, and taking patient blood pressure. Students must also learn the proper way to assist patients with dressing and undressing, as well as the approved procedures for moving patients from a bed to a chair – including the use of mechanical lifts.
Training for CNA certification also entails education and hands-on training that teach students how to properly move patients in their bed, including the proper way to turn a patient over and assisting a patient into every position from supine to lateral. CNAs also must learn the appropriate way to help patients walk to prevent falls, and assist them in performing basic exercised designed to maintain or improve range of motion.
Of course, these lessons are but a small part of the training for CNA certification that every would-be nursing assistant must obtain, but they are enough to give any observer cause to marvel at the broad range of knowledge that we expect from these important health care providers. From knowing how to provide the basic essentials of hygienic care to knowledge of basic first aid and CPR, training for CNA certification helps to explain just why nursing assistants are so critical to successful patient care.
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