CNA Guide – Nurse Aide Training Program, Exam, Job, Salary, and Job Outlook

Certified Nursing Aides are valuable members and lifeline of the health care industry. They perform a broad range of nursing tasks and spend highest time with residents compared to other members of a medical team. The classroom instructions and clinical hands-on experience of CNA Training program provide them expertise in nursing care. According to the PHI survey, direct care workers are responsible for offering activities of daily living (ADL) and basic care to 70 to 80% Americans living with chronic conditions, disabilities, and long illness.

CNA Classes

Nurse aides must complete state-approved training programs and earn certification by passing the state-approved examination to be able to work as a CNA. The federal Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA ’87) have also made it mandatory for the states to provide minimum 59 hours classroom instructions and 16 hours clinical training to nursing assistants. The states should also assess their nursing care competencies through competency evaluation exams prior to their performing as a CNA. These OBRA measures are adopted by Congress for improving the quality and standards of cares for residents in the facilities.

CNA Exam

Nurse aide Exams are a means through which states implement OBRA-87 measures for evaluating nursing care competencies, skills, knowledge, and abilities of nurse assistants. The state’s home health departments are mainly responsible for developing and administrating these exams. However, many states have also contracted national exam providers like Pearson VUE, Prometric, and D & S Headmaster for developing, administering, and scoring nursing assistant exams. The examination consists of Oral or Written Tests, and Skills demonstration test. The test papers are prepared on the basis of classroom teachings and clinical trainings. The candidates must score required passing grade to be eligible for certification.

Jobs

Nursing assistants and orderlies work in health care settings where their nursing proficiencies are essential for performing basic nursing cares and activities of daily living (ADLs). They are mostly found working in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living centers, long-term care units, residential care facilities, and home health agencies. In these facilities, nursing assistants offer ADLs and personal assistance to elderly and other people who suffer from disabilities and chronic conditions, long illness, and severe injuries.

Salary

According to the Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013, total employments for Nursing assistants were 1,427,830, and their Mean hourly wage was $12.51, and Mean annual wage $26,020. However, their percentile median annual wage from starting 10 percent to 90 percent varied from $18,600 to $35,780 annually. The variation in wages was due to factors such as practical work experience, places of work, job types, education and training, and position. The salaries also differ in states, cities, and metropolitans due to density of population, nursing shortages, numbers of health care facilities, and hospitals.

Job Outlook

In coming years, the demand for nursing assistants will continue to rise rapidly, and more nurse aides will be required to perform varied basic nursing care duties. The factors responsible for higher nurse aide demands include nursing shortage, baby boomers age, and increase in aging population. During this period, many nurse aides will also retire and leave nursing for other high paying lucrative jobs. According to the BLS survey, the need for all categories direct care workers will grow by 21 percent from 2012 to 2020.

Home Health Aide Course

The home healthcare market in India is currently estimated to be 2 billion to 4 billion dollars a year opportunity.

What is the role of a home health aide?

  • Provide basic personal care especially for elderly and paralyzed patients in home settings
  • Provide personal care such as bathing, dressing, and grooming of patient
  • Monitor or report changes in health status of the patient
  • Help patients in their daily tasks and prescribed exercises
  • Administer prescribed medication on time
  • Maintain a safe environment for the patient

The home health aide (HHA) main role is to take care of all needs of the patients and ensuring that their comfort and needs. People opt for such treatment plan looking at their convenience, logistics and as an economical option. It is a noble profession where you get the benefit of having a homely environment. The people who usually opt for HHA are the ageing population. Since there is also an increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and the need for better quality post-operative and primary care, people seek the help of HHA, so that the patient can get 24×7 care while staying the comforts of their homes and with their family.

It is important to create a good rapport with both the patient and their family to be able to have a functioning relationship with them as the HHA has to spend maximum time. The HHA has to facilitate the patient and provide personal care like bathing, dressing and grooming of the patient. If the patient requires, the HHA has to help in their daily exercising and some of the daily tasks as well.

What are the minimum qualifications for applying to the HHA course?

Even though the minimum education qualification to become a home health is eight standard pass, however, it is important that you are able to study all the relevant subjects. In the course, you will be required to study the basic human anatomy and physiology, a subject that would be helpful in your practical experience. The students will also be taught about medical waste and how it should be properly disposed of. The duration of the course is usually of 4 months.

The course curriculum covers the following topics:

  • Basic human anatomy & physiology
  • General health & hygiene
  • Understanding a patient’s needs
  • Special skin care for pressure sores
  • Caring for the visually impaired
  • Role of a patient care assistant
  • Daily care of a patient
  • Bathing a patient
  • Feeding a patient
  • Administering drugs as per prescriptions
  • Basic nursing skills
  • Disposal of medical waste
  • Understanding body mechanics
  • Patient handling, lifting, and moving patients
  • Fall prevention care and restraints
  • Emergency first aid
  • Communication with patients and their careers

You must have a good adaptability at a familial setup and be keen to learn various medical subjects in a short span of time.

Scope in India

The scope of HHA in India is currently growing. Due to the change in the demography, currently, the population above the age of 60 is rapidly increasing, which is more than 300 million people. With ailments and diseases, the older population at times finds it more comfortable to stay at home and since the family members may not always be available or adept in fully taking care of the patients, people seek help from HHAs. At times, in Tier II and Tier III cities the hospital facilities are not at par or affordable, they have a huge demand.

What are some of the drawbacks of the profession?

HHAs have become an integral part of the healthcare industry. However, there is still a lack of governmental recognition. Many hospitals are urging the government to recognise the service and profession of HHAs like the Western countries have adopted. Even though hospital accreditation is increasing, this has not necessarily translated to the home health aide industry, they are still under the purview of hospitals.

The home healthcare is a rising industry as it been seen as a very attractive option by over 300 million people. With the rise in the number of old people in the population and a drastic rise in the working population, more people are opting for this service. It is a noble profession and you get to help a person who needs medical attention as well as help to carry out even the simplest of tasks. Hospital chains, family physicians and even government-run primary health care centres are beginning to add the home health aide service in their treatment plans. You can become part of a bigger and better health care provider and work in a homely setup. Portea Medical, a Bangalore-based home health care firm is one example of firms that cater to and employ home health aides.