There are currently more than one and a half million Certified Nursing Assistants in the U.S. today. You might be one of them, or soon to be joining this workforce. About 40% of CNAs work at a nursing care facility. So where do the other 60% find employment?
Right now, you may be considering all your employment options or just wanting to find your “happy place” in this career. Whatever your reason, look no further. Here is a list of possible settings in which a nursing assistant works:
1. HOSPITAL – The hospital is a fast-paced work environment, so if you are looking for action and are up for a challenge, this is the place for you. A hospital CNA must be able to quickly adapt to changes because there are many in a short time period.
You will work closely with the healthcare team, especially the nurse. You will care for patients who often come into and go out of your care, as new admissions and discharges happen frequently. Your work will be full-time in three possible shifts, including weekends and holidays.
Other than regular CNA tasks such as vital signs measurement and bed-making, you will be required to enter data into a computer as well as answer phones and call lights. With special training, you might be given the tasks of watching client monitors, performing ECGs, gathering specimens, and alerting the staff to any problem that arises with a patient.
2. NURSING HOMES – these places provide nursing facility services such as skilled nursing, rehabilitation, or long-term care round the clock. A CNA's job here is focused on vital signs measurement, assisting clients in their activities of daily living (ADL), and helping clients achieve the best possible quality of life with their chronic disease or disability.
Clients are typically older persons who are chronically ill and adults with disabilities who require more complex care than simply their ADLs. If you value the bond between a healthcare worker and their client, then this is the place for you, because most clients stay long-term for their care. Your best friend and closest associate is the nurse.
3. ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES – As nursing assistant students, you have most likely received training in these facilities. They cater mostly to older people who are stable and mobile. Clients maintain some independence but cannot live on their own because they still need assistance with some aspects of their care.
As a CNA, this means that you will perform care procedures that the client cannot do on their own or finish tasks that they cannot complete. The work will be lighter in the sense that most clients can independently go to the toilet and clean themselves.
4. ADULT DAYCARE – As the name suggests, this work setting is where you will find adults with disabilities or older people who cannot be left alone in their homes when their primary caregiver or significant other is away at work.
As a CNA, your job would be to help provide meals and meaningful activities to your clients and to supervise them until their relatives pick them up at the end of the day.
5. HOME CARE – If you like working in different home environments with some traveling required, then this job is for you. You will provide care directly to clients in their own homes.
Home care work requires experience because you will primarily be working independently, unless you work in homes with a nurse. Your interaction will mostly involve one to a few clients, whom you visit each day.
6. HOSPICE – To work here, you must be emotionally tough to handle the death of clients as well as their grieving families. Hospice is a place where healthcare workers provide care to clients who have less than six months to live.
If you think that this must be a sad place to work, think again! Where death is common, you may begin to appreciate life more. This work setting will remind you to value the most important things in life.
Other than these six most common workplaces for CNAs, there are others where you can put your skills and knowledge to use. These include clinics, dialysis centers, same-day surgery centers, and even prisons and mental hospitals. You can also work as private duty CNA, where you would care for one client, 24/7.
Each work setting has its own rewards and challenges, and it is up to you to decide where you would be most comfortable and productive. I hope this guide helps you find your happy (work) place soon!
Try reviewing the course material on professional behaviors of the nursing assistant from our course library.
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