Working at a nursing home can be a great opportunity for older teens. However, it’s important to note that you must be at least 18 years old to work in a paid position due to liability concerns. If you’re not yet 18, there may be volunteer opportunities available such as working as a dietary aide or performing cleaning and stocking tasks. Typically, teen volunteers need to be at least 15 years old.
If you have a strong interest in pursuing a career as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or nurse, working in a nursing home can be a valuable experience. However, it’s important to obtain the necessary certification and training before working in this role. The article covers topics such as the importance of a CNA designation, what it’s like to work as a CNA, and the training and testing required to become certified. Additionally, volunteering can provide valuable experience and skills that can be useful in pursuing a career in healthcare.
The Importance of A CNA Designation
The Significance of Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant
Professional caregiver services are an essential part of nursing homes, and they are included in the cost of a patient’s care. In order to provide such services, you typically need to have a certified nursing assistant (CNA) designation. This credential enables you to assist elderly individuals who are frail or have specific medical conditions or disabilities.
Due to their vulnerability, nursing home residents require professional assistance from individuals who are trained in their care. If you are not medically qualified, you can offer to be an elderly person’s companion. You can also gain experience through volunteer work, which can help you acquire the necessary training and eventually secure a job as a CNA or in another healthcare-related field.
Statistics on Nursing Home Employment
According to projections, the population of older individuals will double from the 2012 figure of around 84 million by 2050. As a result, there will be a high demand for nursing home staff. If you have a passion for caring for seniors, you can explore a career in this field.
Preparing for a Career in Nursing Home Work
If you have an interest in becoming a CNA or a nurse, now is the time to start preparing for a future in nursing homes. Working in these facilities is unique because it allows you to become an important member of the healthcare team and develop strong relationships with long-term residents.
A Vital Role in the Interdisciplinary Team
Whether you work as a certified nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, or registered nurse, your position on the interdisciplinary team is essential. This team is made up of various healthcare professionals, including occupational therapists, speech therapists, social workers, and case managers.
Working as a nursing assistant requires a specific skillset that differs from that of clinics or hospitals. These skills allow you to concentrate fully on resident care, including rehabilitation, therapy, and hospice skills that differentiate nursing assistants and nurses from caregivers in more traditional settings. Additionally, caregivers in nursing facilities are often more involved in the case management of residents.
Effective Communication Skills in Nursing Homes
The provision of care with dignity, respect, and compassion is vital in nursing homes. Communication is a crucial component of delivering quality care, and in nursing homes, you must be aware of different forms of communication. This is particularly important when caring for vulnerable residents who may have visual, hearing, or speech impairments, requiring the development of nonverbal communication skills.
In nursing homes, caregivers build a strong bond with residents as they receive long-term care. As a result, the focus is on providing one-on-one care. Working in a nursing home can also help you enhance your pharmacology skills, which is beneficial if you plan to become a nurse in the future. Additionally, working in this setting allows for concentrated skills development, as nursing homes provide a low-intensity environment for medical care.
Exploring the Field of Nursing as a CNA
If you’re interested in gaining experience in the nursing field, starting as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is a great way to begin. CNAs are responsible for providing basic care services such as grooming, feeding, and bathing patients, as well as assisting nurses with medical devices and checking vital signs.
Qualifications for Becoming a CNA
As a CNA, you play an important role in providing emotional and social support, as well as crucial information on patients’ conditions to nurses. To become a CNA, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED, as well as completion of a six-to-twelve week CNA certificate program. The median annual salary for this position is approximately $25,000.
As a CNA in a nursing home, you are at the forefront of patient care and daily operations. Your skills and compassion in patient care can alleviate the stress of those who are ill or unable to care for themselves. CNAs may also be referred to as nurse’s aides or patient care technicians, and work under the supervision of a nurse practitioner to assist patients with their daily living tasks.
Because CNAs work directly with patients, they can form close bonds with them. Working as a CNA is never the same each day, and the responsibilities you undertake may vary depending on your work shift and the type of nursing facility you work in.
Essential Organizational Skills for CNAs in Nursing Homes
As a CNA in a nursing home, strong organizational skills are crucial as you often manage multiple patients simultaneously. For example, while serving breakfast, you may need to change bedsheets or attend to other patient needs.
Apart from providing support to patients, CNAs are also required to assist RNs in nursing facilities. This includes maintaining charts, preparing patient rooms, admitting new patients, and ensuring the availability of necessary medical supplies. Since CNAs interact with patients regularly, they need to be cooperative, reliable, and capable of handling stressful situations on a routine basis.
Projected Growth in CNA Employment
CNAs are typically paid on an hourly basis, providing opportunities to pick up additional hours. Employment opportunities in nursing homes for CNAs are predicted to grow rapidly, with a projected growth rate of 17%, which is higher than the national average of 7%.
CNA Training and Testing
CNA training programs are offered at medical facilities, trade schools, and community colleges. When considering a program, ensure that it is approved by the nursing board in your state. After completing the CNA curriculum, you will need to prepare for and pass the state exam. The CNA licensure test covers topics such as patient rights, legal and ethical behavior, daily living activities, and working as a member of the healthcare team.
Sample Questions on the CNA Licensure Test
You can find test preparation materials online for the CNA examination. Some sample questions that may be asked include:
- What is the most accurate method for a nursing assistant to obtain a patient’s weight?
- With whom can you share a patient’s personal information?
- What are the best ways to demonstrate to a patient that you are listening to them?
Classroom instruction for CNAs typically covers basic nursing skills, nutrition, physiology and anatomy, and infection control. In addition to classroom instruction, students also gain hands-on clinical experience.
CNA-to-RN Bridge Programs
For those interested in advancing their careers, some schools offer CNA-to-RN bridge programs. These programs allow students to use their experience as a CNA and continue their education as a registered nurse. With a bridge program, students can complete their schooling in under two years.
To obtain and maintain a CNA licensure, passing a state competency exam is required. The exam includes a multiple-choice section and clinical skills testing. Additionally, it is important to complete 48 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain your licensure. Many nursing homes cover the cost of CNA classes for their employees.
Working as A Volunteer
Volunteering in a nursing home can be a fulfilling experience if you are at least 15 years old and enjoy spending time with older individuals. One of the primary responsibilities of volunteers is to engage with the residents, which may involve activities like playing games or assisting with transportation.
If you have a passion for caregiving, you may consider pursuing a paid position in a nursing home, particularly as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Some nursing homes even offer paid training for CNAs. This can be an excellent career option for individuals who are 18 years old or older and are interested in working in a nursing facility.