Nursing assistants work with patients of all ages and backgrounds in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation clinics, in home healthcare, mental health facilities, and many other settings.
It’s a diverse career with a lot of opportunity, and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s predicted to grow by at least 17 percent over the next decade, which is much faster than the average career.
At Pima Medical Institute, we offer the nursing assistant program in Arizona and Colorado. The program trains students on the skills they need to become certified in only six weeks. Once they have completed the program, they are eligible to sit for the Certified Nursing Assistant Examination.
“Students must pass a state board-authorized course as well as prove competency in both written materials and skills,” said Pima Medical Nursing Assistant Program Director Sally Nelsen, RN, BSN, CPHQ. Nelsen oversees the Nursing Assistant program at the Mesa and East Valley, Ariz., campuses.
Last year, in Arizona, CNAs were given the option to become a licensed nursing assistant (versus a certified nursing assistant, which is still an option in the state). After submitting an application, fingerprints and paying a fee, a CNA will then become an LNA, which Nelsen recommends all students do. No additional testing is required to become an LNA.
During the Nursing Assistant program, students learn a number of skills needed to become a CNA, including:
- How to groom, dress, feed and bathe patients who are unable to assist themselves
- Provide patients with mobility assistance
- Providing patient information to nurses and doctors for proper care
- Properly transferring patients
- Taking vital signs
- Examining patients for wounds
- Sterilization of patients’ areas
Along with the hard skills students learn in class, CNAs also need to possess these soft skills:
- A willingness to learn
- Concern for others
- A sense of humor
- Teamwork minded
“The learning does not stop once certification is achieved,” Nelsen said. “Some CNAs even go on to be physical therapist assistants, occupational therapist assistants, nurses, patient care technicians, and beyond.”
To learn more about Pima Medical’s Nursing Assistant program and accreditation, visit the program online. The program is offered at the East Valley and Mesa, Ariz. campuses, in Houston and Denver. To find out more about Arizona’s licensure procedures, visit http://www.cnalicense.org/how-to-get-your-cna-license/.