Nurse aide training programs, also known as CNA programs are an ideal way to determine if the nursing field is right for you. The programs are quick, typically between 4 and 16 weeks, depending on how many hours per day the classes are and the facility administering them. Afterwards, graduates can take the CNA exam and start working in various medical fields. Many future nurses started their education with the CNA program so they could get in the field and work while continuing their nursing education.
Where to Find Nurse Aide Training Programs
CNA programs can be found in a variety of places. Training to assist nurses can be completed online; however, if an online class is the route taken, the student should make sure that the Board of Nursing in their state recognizes the online program. Other venues that offer training for nursing assistants include:
- Nursing homes
- Community Colleges
- Vocational Training Centers
- Red Cross
Medical facilities like nursing homes and hospitals are two of the most common places to take to get an education and become a CNA. This is considered by many nurses to be the best way to get the training because of the intense hands-on, real-life training involved.
Pre-Requisites for CNA Programs
Every state has different requirements that potential students must meet in order to enter the program and take the CNA exam. The most common pre-requisites to attend nurse’s aide programs are a high school diploma or GED. Community colleges and vocational centers may have other requirements which should be identified before committing to the program.
Many people don’t realize that the nursing assistant is as much the right hand of the nurse as the nurse is the right hand of the doctor. Nurses are often given the credit for doing many of the things that their CNA does for them. The education the CNA receives during their training includes many practices that most people associate with a nurse. Some of the skills that the nursing aide student will learn include:
- How to properly take vital signs;
- How to bath patients properly and discreetly;
- How to change a hospital bed with a patient in it;
- How to use equipment such as lifts, bed scales and wheelchairs;
- How to assist patients in various levels of decline with meals and daily life activities;
- How to properly use gait belts to help patients with walking.
These are just some of the skills that the CNA students learn. It is easy to see that most of the education is hands-on. There is some classroom work to explain why and how to do these things, but for the most part, training is live, which makes the hospital or nursing home an ideal place for a CAN program.
In addition to learning the skills listed herein, you will also learn many aspects of healthcare that form the basis of your future education in addition to being useful and necessary for the CNA training. These courses include nutrition, anatomy, physiology, and infection control. These may sound daunting and in depth; however, the nurse’s aide does not go into the same depth that the registered nurse. They only learn the basics.
Short Time Frame
Programs for nurse’s aides can vary greatly. However, the CNA program should be 75 hours. This can be a short 4 weeks or stretched out over as many as 16 weeks. As explained before, most of the work is hands on. This work will be supervised by a nursing instructor who will guide you through the different tasks and skills needed to be successful. The short time frame of the CNA program makes it possible for students to be on the hospital floor working while they continue their education to become a registered nurse.
CNAs are a nurse’s eyes and ears. They often spend more actual time with patients and therefore can report any needs the patient may have to the nurse. Training to become a CNA is a short program that can be done in as little as a month if desired. This short time for the training allows the nurse’s aide to start putting the training to work and continue their path to becoming a registered nurse.