What is CNA?
The three letter acronym CNA stands for Certified Nursing Assistant. As the name states, this is a person (male or female) who works or assists a nurse who is either a RN (registered nurse) or an LPN (licensed practical nurse). You may even find a CNA position entitled NA (nursing assistant), PCA (patient care assistant) or a STNA (state tested nurse aid).
A Certified Nursing Assistant assists patients who required healthcare under a nurse’s supervision. A CNA’s responsibilities will vary upon the place of employment and the needs of each individual patient. There is a variety of working settings in which a CNA can provide their services. From the patient’s home to an adult care center will require the need of a CNA’s services.
CNA Courses Online
Is it possible to learn nursing online? Technically you aren’t going for a full blown nursing degree so yes it is possible. There are a number of schools who offer CNA courses online for a number of reasons. Reasons can include time constraints, travel issues, family/daycare issues and more. Finding the right CNA course online can be quite a daunting challenge.
When you are looking for an online course, be sure to adhere to all of the stipulations that you would as if you would be physically going to their campus for classes. Questions such as: Is the school accredited? How long is the course? How much does it cost? Does the school assist in locating employment?
Keep in mind that if you do decide that taking online classes are for you, there are some disadvantages. One big disadvantage is that you won’t have any hands on experience during the duration of the schooling. Another is that you can’t ask a question and get an answer right away although you should be able to send an e-mail to the instructor.
Free CNA Classes – At Red Cross
You may be thinking to yourself that there is nothing free anymore. This is true to a certain extent; however, there are options available. For the mass majority, one can inquire from the American Red Cross to see if they are offering classes and the extent of education they offer for these classes. For a certain portion of the population, there is criteria that must be met.
The criteria can include, but not limited to the individual’s annual income (low income or unemployed) or if the person is an in/active military personnel. If you are unsure of what the guidelines are in your area, you can contact your local counties family division office and inquire if they offer a program that includes free Certified Nursing Assistant classes. The worst case scenario is that you won’t qualify and you will be referred to your local college or nursing school. Read more about CNA Classes at Red Cross.
How Long is a CNA Course?
Knowing how long the CNA course takes is a very important factor to know. This will help you determine if you will be able to include the course in your current daily routine. The length of courses can vary from school to school but the typical CNA course is about one semester in length if you attend full-time.
What are the Qualifications to enroll into CNA Classes?
The CNA qualifications are typically the same across the board. The interested individual must meet (not limited to) the following criteria:
- 18 age of years or older
- possess a GED or high school diploma
- pass the entry testing which covers math, reading and writing comprehension
- current on vaccinations and must be able to pass a physical examination
- no prior criminal history
It is also very helpful if you are able to work with a vast variety of people as well as be respectful, be compassionate towards others and have excellent communication skills as you will need to successfully rely information obtained from the patient and provide it to their nurse and/or doctor. In addition, maintaining privacy is extremely important. The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) sets the guidelines to the confidentiality that must be maintained by anyone who works within the health insurance industry.
Benefits to Taking CNA Classes
However, the number of benefits to taking these types of classes are educational. And even if you don’t decide to proceed with obtaining a job in this medical field, you will still learn a great deal of information as to the best ways to care for others. Although most who do take these classes want to work within the medical industry with salaries starting above minimum wage.
Advantages and Disadvantages of becoming a CNA
The advantages and disadvantages will be the same regardless if you obtain the certification online or not. One of the main advantages you will have is that CNA’s are becoming one of the most needed services today. In fact, they are the most needed right after registered nurses according to The Bureau Of Labor Statistics.
Other advantages would be that the schooling time frame in minimal and your schedule can be very flexible if you desire this option. It is also an easy way to get started in a medical field because you will already have some idea of what is expected so you know what goals to set for yourself to advance further and obtain better jobs and a higher income. Certified Nursing Assistants are needed everywhere so it won’t matter if you move or stay locally.
One disadvantage would be that you spent your time and money to become certified and then realize that you should have worked towards your nursing degree instead. Other disadvantages may be that you discover the pay isn’t as high as you hoped or the responsibilities are not what you expected. To prevent this, contact a local physician’s office and inquire what they expect from their CNA’s.
Being a CNA can be rewarding. Remember if you choose to take a CNA course online to ensure that the school is accredited. If anything, go to a local campus and sit-in on a class to find out what it’s like. You never know, it just may lead you to obtaining a higher degree than you originally intended.