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HCAs and how to be one (aka CNAs)

Discussion in 'Clinicians [ RN / NP / PA ]' started by Fiona, Jun 13, 2000.

  1. Fiona

    Fiona Member
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    OK, all you people who have worked as CNAs without ever intending to remain one for the rest of your life - how did you first become one? Did you ring up personnel at whatever hospital you wanted to work in?

    Also, what exactly did being a CNA involve for you? Anyone with experience specific to the UK would be great, but anywhere else in the world is also fine.
     
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  3. Sherry

    Sherry Member
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    Fiona
    Almost any town in America with a Vo-tech or Community College have programs for CNAs (sometimes called MAs-medical assistants). The duration of these programs vary, and are anywhere from six-weeks to one year. This varies depending on the "scope of practice" for graduates of each individual program. Also many of these programs have financial assitance for their students. Being a CNA does give you some perspective on what the healtcare system has to offer as far as career opportunities and it also is a decent way to have some "pocket change" while doing undergradtuate work. But the work can be back breaking and often unappreciated, so just know what you in for and be prepared.
    Good luck!


    [This message has been edited by Sherry (edited 06-13-2000).]
     
  4. Nefertiti

    Nefertiti Junior Member

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    I start my CNA class next week. I am taking it at a community college, and it is 7 weeks long. Although I am planning on attending medical school, I thought that working as a CNA would be a great experience. It is a wonderful chance to watch an integrated hospital team function. I believe then, it is possible to appreciate just how important nurses and the rest of the hospital staff are to the health of a patient. Do you know what I think would be a great idea? I think that medical students should be required to shadow a nurse for a certain period of time; nurses often provide the patient with emotional support that is not taught in most American medical schools. Plus, these future doctors would be forced to examine just how much work goes into the nursing profession.

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    I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor..H.D.Thoreau
     
  5. Pebbles

    Pebbles Senior Member
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    Fiona

    If you are working for a particular hospital or nursing home by law (in Iowa I know), that institution has 6 months to get you, the employee, certified at the employers expense.
    This institution has to give you 16 hours of education before you can touch a patient. Those 16 hours must include things like feeding patients (physically disable, blind etc.), transfering a patient, peri-care and the list goes on. Hospitals will also train you on how to stick for blood draws. (I use to work as an Assistant Director of Nursing for a nursing home and I taught the 16 hour class, that's how I know the law in this particular area.)

    The benefit of being a CNA gives you a chance to get an inside peek at the medical world. Being certified will broaden your scope and allow to get your feet wet. For me personally, after I was certified it reinforced my passion for medicine. I then applied to nursing school. After that I wanted a better foundation for medical school so I am finishing up on by BA in Genetics and I am applying to medical school next year.

    I personally think the more opportunity you get to interact with patients and broaden your scope, will greatly help you later on in medical school during your residency.

    Hope this helps [​IMG]
     
  6. Pebbles

    Pebbles Senior Member
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    One more thing,

    In Iowa, it is possible to CHALLENGE the CNA exam without taking the course. After taking the test you are still certified. I don't recommend this unless you have had ample patient contact already. [​IMG]
     
  7. Catya

    Catya New Member

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    I'm a NAT (means I've done the pre-reqs to become a CNA but haven't taken the test). I don't plan on doing it for the rest of my life; I'd like to be an NP, PA, or MD, not sure which. I LOVE it and it has made me even more interested in going into medicine. Also, it has made me consider becoming a nurse, which I'd never thought much about.

    I looked in the phone book under nursing home, health care, etc, and called health care centers within a 45 min. radius to see if they had a CNA training program. Most CNA training programs were at nursing homes. I found most places require you to work there for awhile (6 mo. at least) before you can even take the CNA class. I found one nursing home, though, that offered the class to anyone for free, and if I got hired I'd get payed for the hrs. I spent in class. I got hired, so not only did I not have to pay for the class, but I got payed $7 (US) an hr. for it. You'd probably be able to find a program like that if you call up all the places and ask about it.

    In my part of the US, CNAs are VERY much in demand. It's very easy to find a job. I'm ONLY working in my nursing home for 3 mo. in the summer and then I leave for school. I told the hiring nurse that up front, and she was o.k. with it because they need CNAs so badly. Lots of places take college-student CNAs during college vacations lasting as little as a week. Where I work, they've told me I can work during college breaks and even on the weekend if I'm home then. So it's great for a university student who goes to college a ways from their home but wants a flexible job they can work anytime.

    The pay here is about $8 US/hr., which isn't bad. In the nursing home, I get residents up in the morning, dress them, perform oral care, take them to the dining hall, shower or give a bed bath to them, empty catheters, change the soiled linens/ bed pads/ clothes of incontinent residents, perform peri care, etc. We also give post-mortem care, perform Range of Motion on the residents, and answer all call lights. In my state, I'm pretty sure CNA's can't draw blood, but the law's probably different in other places.

    It's a great job because I can get to know the residents, and I enjoy working with them. The drawbacks are that it's really understaffed (what else is new) so it's BUSY at times. Also, many residents are confused and combative at times. I've been hit a few times.

    This is an interesting topic and I'd love to hear experiences from CNAs in acute-care settings such as hospitals. I'd like to work in a hospital and wondered how duties of CNAs differ in acute v. long-term care settings.
     

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