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Certified Nursing Aides

Certified Nursing Aides, more commonly referred to as CNAs, generally work in hospitals and nursing care facilities were they provide personal care and routine tasks for patients and residents. These include making beds, helping patients or residents dress, eat, bathe and perform other daily tasks, taking temperature and blood pressure, escorting patients or residents to other parts of the facility, and providing other tasks as needed. CNAs usually have the most contact with a patient, thus they assist nurses and doctors by being able to provide information about changes in a patient or resident's physical or mental condition. All CNAs work under the supervision of nurses, doctors and other medical staff.

CNAs looking to advance can receive additional training and education in order to become a certified medication aide or CMA. This allows them to pass out and administer medication to patients as prescribed by their doctors.

Education: Most nurse aides must be certified, which requires completion of a training program or educational class, as well as a passing score on a state certification test. Often times these training and educational programs are short in length, usually lasting three weeks to six months, depending upon the frequency of the training or education.

Where They Work: About 40% of CNAs working nursing homes or assisted living facilities, where they provide care and services for elderly or disabled populations. Another 25% work in hospitals, while the remainder work in clinics, government agencies, and other health care facilities.

Average Pay: The average hourly wage for a CNA is $9.00 per hour. However, this can range from $7.50 to $14.00 depending upon geographic location, type and size of facility, and other factors.

Job Outlook: The job outlook for CNAs is very good, as the number of job openings is currently high and expected to remain this way. This is due to a number of factors, including the growing elderly population, which will need the care provided by CNAs as they age and enter nursing care facilities. In addition, CNA job prospects are good due to the high turnover in the field, due to low pay, physical demands of the job, and advancement to other medical professions.

Work Environment: CNAs work an average of 40 hours each week, although this may not be during regular working hours due to the fact individuals need care 24 hours a day.

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