How to Become a CNA in New York
For anyone wanting to work in the healthcare field, may find becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA) a perfect fit. CNAs are in demand as healthcare options continue to grow and future nurses often use the role of CNA as a stepping stone to a career in nursing. CNA candidates should have excellent communication and critical thinking skills. CNAs also have to be physically fit to keep up with the demanding daily tasks involving patient care.
Becoming a CNA is challenging, but it takes a relatively short time to complete the required course of studies and pass the required state mandated CNA exam. A New York approved CNA program takes a minimum of 120 hours, 90 hours in the classroom and 30 hours of clinical training. Such a program can be completed in 7 to 14 weeks. Clinical training includes hand on practical applications in a healthcare environment. CNAs have a 120 grace period between completing a program and passing the CNA exam. During that time, candidates may accept employment with the understanding if the exam is not passed within the allowed 120 days, the employment must terminate. CNA candidates are allowed to take the exam up to three times before being required to retake the training program.
Programs can be found at vocational training centers and two and four year colleges and universities. Some health care facilities offer such programs for a modest fee or in exchange for a commitment to work at the facility. CNA candidates will find full and part time programs that will accommodate almost any schedule.
Course work covered in a typical CNA program includes physiology and anatomy, basic nursing and personal skills, mental health and social service needs, basic restorative services, care for cognitively impaired patients, residents rights and supervised clinical care in a nursing home setting.
CNA duties include helping patients bathe, dress, and groom and feed themselves to the degree possible, move patients and change linens. CNAs work under the direction of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). Since CNAs spend a great deal of time with patients, the nursing staff relies on them to report changes in health status as soon as possible.
Eligibility to take a CNA program includes being 18 years old and a high school graduate or a GED recipient. Candidates must also pass a physical exam, including TB and drug screening.
After completion of the CNA program, the candidate will register with Prometric, the exam administrator, to take the exam. The application to test includes the results of the criminal background and fingerprint check and documentation of CNA program completion. The two part exam includes a written test and clinical demonstration of physical capabilities. The exam evaluator will choose up to five clinical skills for the exam candidate to perform. Once the exam is passed successfully, the candidate becomes officially licensed and eligible to be listed on the New York nursing registry.
With license in hand, the newly minted CNA can begin the quest for employment. CNAs will find employment in nursing homes, hospitals, assisted care facilities, adult day care centers and home care. The average CNA salary is $31,000 annually and newly licensed CNAs can expect a starting salary of $22,000. Actual salary will depend on type and size of facility where employed and geographic location.
CNAs staff a health care facility 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. CNAs work one of three shifts, day evening and night shift. CNAs may work the same shift or shifts may be assigned on a rotating weekday, weekend and holiday basis. A typical full-time work week is 40 hours, but some healthcare facilities staff CNAs on a part time basis.
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