CNA walking through home with a senior patient

A Certified Nurse Assistant, or CNA, is arguably one of the most important jobs in the medical field. Responsible for the day-to-day caring of hospital patients, as well as walking with individuals through emotionally difficult days of procedures and pain, CNAs collectively form the foundation of health care facilities.

What Does a CNA Do?

Before we can address what it takes to become a CNA, we’ll discuss the roles and duties of a CNA to provide a better understanding of this position.

Certified Nurse Assistants provide patients with hands-on, thoughtful, and compassionate care in medical settings, helping with basic necessities and activities of daily living (ADLs). This includes, but is not limited to:

Duties of a Certified Nurse Assistant

  • Helping patients bathe
  • Transferring to and from wheelchairs
  • Assisting with food intake and exercise
  • Obtaining vital signs
  • Inquiring about the patient’s comfort
  • Dressing wounds
  • Maintaining facility and room cleanliness
  • Answering patient calls
  • Documenting specific medical details
  • Responding to emergency situations

The primary role of the CNA is to ensure each person under their care is treated with dignity and respect.

Traits of a Responsible CNA

The best CNAs are people who exhibit compassion, integrity, and patience. If you resonate with the following list of CNA traits, then this might be the perfect career choice for you!

Certified Nurse Assistant Traits

  • Compassionate
  • Skilled in decision making
  • Attentive to detail
  • Empathic listener
  • Supportive
  • Excellent communicator
  • Dependable, consistent
  • Skilled in problem-solving
  • Ethical
  • Physically capable
  • Kind, interpersonal

How to Become a CNA

A Certified Nurse Assistant is an appealing career for many reasons, but one of its most attractive features is that, with dedication and diligence, becoming a CNA is a fairly simple process, but still requires hard work.

There are four steps to earning your title as a Certified Nurse Assistant. We will detail each of them below!

Step 1: Earn your high school diploma or GED

If you didn’t finish your high school education or earn a diploma, don’t sweat it! Earning your GED is inexpensive, and chances are, there’s a GED testing center near you. Take your time studying, then schedule your GED test online. You’ll have a high school-level degree just like that.

Step 2: Complete State-approved CNA Training

CNA training can be found at a myriad of facilities. Classes are offered online, at some community colleges, with Evergreen in Colorado, and at your local Red Cross.

While each state and program is different, there are a number of requirements for paperwork and documentation before beginning your studies. Be prepared to provide any of the information below:

  • Proof of age (minimum is usually 18)
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Physical examination
  • Proof of immunization
  • TB testing results
  • A background check (fingerprint method)
  • CPR and First Aid certification
  • Valid state driver’s license or ID card

Courses cover a variety of topics, including the following:

  • Infection control
  • Vital signs
  • Range of motion exercises
  • Employee training
  • Communication, teamwork, and diversity skills for the workplace
  • Important skills and techniques
  • Caregiving
  • Safety
  • Transitioning from student to employee
  • Activities of daily living
  • Data collection and reporting
  • Mental health needs
  • Cultural needs
  • Client rights
  • Law and ethics

As you prepare for the certification exam (more on this next), many platforms offer online practice exams, some of which are completely free. Be sure to take advantage of all resources available. If you’re in need of monetary assistance to complete your training, try filling out a FAFSA form to obtain student financial aid.

Step 3: Complete State-required Clinical Hours

Each state requires a different amount of in-person hours at a medical facility, during which CNAs-to-be receive hands-on training from licensed staff. The range varies from 16 to 100 hours. You can find your state’s CNA requirements, as well as suggested Nurse Assisting Schools near you here.

Step 4: Pass the Certification Exam

On the day of the exam, it is recommended that testers come well-rested, eat a filling breakfast, and arrive at the testing site at least 30 minutes early. Check with your testing site beforehand about which forms of identification are required (some states mandate bringing a social security card).

There are two sections of the exam: the written test and the clinical skills portion. The written exam will be private and proctored, and should last approximately two hours. Following this, you will be asked to demonstrate 3-6 skills by a licensed nurse practitioner, likely using a mannequin or another student. This portion usually takes 30 minutes. Be sure to practice each of the testable skills until you are completely comfortable performing them.

Once you pass the CNA competency exam, congratulations! You’re ready to be registered as a CNA in your state.

CNAs: Where Are They Now?

Another attractive feature of becoming a CNA is the flexibility of job opportunities. Just a few examples of places a CNA may obtain a career:

  1. Hospitals: Often provide excellent benefits, higher pay, and a range of medical professionals to learn from.
  2. Nursing/long-term facilities: Offer opportunities to build lasting rapport and relationships with patients, which is a highlight of the job for many CNAs.
  3. Home health care: CNAs in this environment are specifically trained to assist one person or demographic, know their patients’ needs intimately, and find this role to be highly rewarding. They typically work with loved ones.

Evergreen Home Healthcare and CNA employment

Staffed CNA Care

Evergreen Home Healthcare is proud to employ a large base of CNA staff to assist with patients needing medical care in their homes. This program allows individuals requiring outside care to remain independent, thanks to Evergreen’s team of in-home CNAs.

The CNA care our staff provides to patients is considered “Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)” and is provided on a daily or weekly basis, as needed. Many of our patients receive 1-3 visits per day, while others require only a few visits per week. We are flexible with our patients’ unique schedules and needs. Our CNA team implements a specialized schedule of care to increase their quality of life.

Parent/Family CNA Program

Additionally, Evergreen Home Healthcare proudly sends eligible parents and caregivers to CNA school so they can become a personal CNA for their loved one. This program is very special and allows you to provide the medical care that your loved one needs while earning an income as an Evergreen Home Healthcare employee.

The process is simple and our team is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to set up an in-home evaluation with one of our nurses to determine your family member’s care needs. Once this has been completed, our staff will assist you with choosing and enrolling in an accredited CNA school and become a licensed CNA.

Once you have completed your CNA schooling, we will coordinate your orientation and employment with Evergreen and get care started for your family.If you are currently a CNA and wish to be your child or family member’s caregiver, contact us today to be employed by Colorado’s top home healthcare agency, Evergreen Home Healthcare.