What is a CNA?  

A certified nursing assistant, CNA, is a professional that typically works in a hospital setting providing care to patients. These professionals are critical in the services they provide to patients, often helping to ensure each person receives the type and level of care they need. CNAs are a type of entry-level position in the field of nursing, but their work is vital to the continued function of the location, often supporting the work of nurses.

What Type of Work Does a CNA Do?

The job duties of a CNA are dependent on the location as well as the location’s needs. Many times, these professionals provide direct health care to patients, though they do this under the supervision of a nurse. A nurse’s aide or patient care assistant, as they are often referred to, may also provide one-on-one support to a patient, such as answering their questions and getting the care they need.

Following are some of the typical duties of a CNA, though these may range widely.

  • Vital sign checks, including heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar screenings
  • Supporting patients who are moving or need to turn in bed
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Gathering information from the patient to relay to the nurse or to input into records
  • Transporting patients to medical appointments, lab work, or other locations
  • Keeping rooms, bed linens, and patient facilities clean and orderly
  • Feeding patients who need help in doing so
  • Responding to patient requests for help
  • Following safety procedures
  • Helping with wound changes

Some hospitals or medical facilities have specific rules about the type of work a CNA can do. This may be due to liability requirements or may be based on state laws. Each employer sets its own rules based on those standards. In every situation, these professionals are required to provide high quality, compassionate care to patients.

Where Do CNAs Work?

The most common environment for a CNA is a hospital setting because those in this environment typically need around the clock care and support. However, there are other types of healthcare settings where these professionals may work as well. This includes:

  • Long-term treatment centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Adult daycare settings
  • Rehabilitation centers

They often provide one-on-one support to patients in a medical facility, though some may work in supportive roles in assisted living communities or clinical facilities.

What Are the Educational Requirements for a CNA?

To work in a position as a CNA, a person typically needs to have training. This type of training is critical to ensuring patients receive the best level of support and care possible, especially when their health and wellbeing depend on it.

However, most nursing assistants do not have advanced nursing skills and therefore do not have long-term educational requirements. Most often, those who enroll in this program will be able to gain skills on the job as well.

Our Certified Nursing Assistant Program at Summit College provides the necessary education for those who wish to work in these roles in California. Within our program, you will learn a great deal of information about real-world nursing care, including how to meet the patient’s needs in real time. This often includes completing hands-on training in services like taking vital signs and bathing. You will learn how to support patients who need help eating or dressing.

The education you learn often falls into areas such as:

  • Principles of safe and effective care
  • Maintenance of mobility
  • Nutrition and hydration
  • Use of medical equipment
  • Legal issues related to nursing
  • Patient psychology

When you complete this program, you will be ready to work hand-in-hand with your patients. That includes monitoring their behavior, answering their questions, and responding to their calls. You may also have skills in monitoring physical wellbeing and providing quality care.

How In Demand Are CNAs?

It is always a good idea to know that the career path you’re considering is one that has demand. Nursing assistants are very much in demand throughout the U.S., including in California. According to ONET data, in 2020, there were 97,300 people working as nursing assistants in the state. However, by 2030, there is expected to be a need for 110,000 people in this field. That is a projected growth rate from 2020 to 2030 of 13%. That is a very high growth rate above what most other fields will see. That means that, during that 10-year period, there’s likely to be demand for 13,780 new CNAs in the state.

You may also wish to consider earnings. ONET data indicates that workers in nursing assistant roles in California earn an average of $37,450, with 10% of workers earning over $49,000.

Are You Ready to Consider Your Career Path?

For those who are ready to consider what becoming a CNA could mean for their future, turn to Summit College. With free tutoring and flexible schedules, this could be the ideal plan for you. Learn more about our CNA education program and apply with us today.