How to Become a CNA in Oregon
Becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA) can be a challenge, but it also brings great rewards. There is a great deal of satisfaction that can be garnished from helping others in a healthcare environment. Working as a CNA is also a stepping stone to a nursing career and will give the nursing student valuable healthcare experience.
CNAs work under the direction of a nurse, either a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). CNAs also work in tandem with the nursing staff to provide all around patient care. Part of the CNAs training is to observe patients for reactions to medication and the environment around them, as well as take note of the physical condition of patients and note any changes. CNAs keep the charge nurse apprised of each patient through notes and reports and verbal reporting.
The first step to becoming a CNA is to complete a CNA training program approved by the Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBON). Approved programs must encompass at least 150 hours with at least 51 hours of class work, 75 hours of clinical, hands on training and 24 hours completing laboratory work including phlebotomy and CPR training. Class work included in the CNA program is medical terminology, basic nursing care, patient rights, nutrition, phlebotomy and emergency response.
The prerequisite to enroll in a CNA program is to be at least 18 years of age and hold a high school diploma or equivalent. CNA program enrollees will also be required to complete a criminal background and fingerprint check to establish moral character and a complete physical examination to establish fitness to carry out the rigors of CNA duties.
The CNA exam is administered by Headmaster Testing Services through the D&S Diversified Technologies Company. The application to take the exam is submitted to the OSBON and after a review for completeness, the applicant will be required to register and take the exam through the testing service company.
The CNA exam is a two part test and includes a written exam that includes 77 multiple choice questions and a passing score is 65%. 90 minutes are allotted for the written exam. The second part of the exam is a demonstration of clinical skills. The exam evaluator will choose 5 CNA tasks at random and the applicant will have 45 minutes to complete each task. The passing score for the clinical skills test is 80%. The CNA candidate will be notified via postal mail of exam results. All CNAs who pass the exam will be listed in the Oregon State Board of Nursing Registry.
Once licensed, CNAs can pursue employment opportunities. Such opportunities will be found at long and short term care facilities including hospitals, nursing homes, assisted care centers, rehabilitative care facilities and private and home care settings. The average Level I CNA salary is $29,000. The average salary is expected to rise slightly as the demand for qualified CNAs continue and opportunities increase. The Oregon Labor market expects CNA opportunities to increase by 24% through the year 2018.
CNAs are required to renew their license every two years. Renewal notices are sent to CNAs approximately 90 days before licenses expire. A license may be renewed online or through postal mail. Licenses must be renewed before the expiration date. CNAs who allow their license to lapse will be required to follow the license reinstatement procedure.
The duties of a CNA include helping patients with bathing, dressing, feeding, day to day activities, transporting patients to activities and physical therapy and weight monitoring. CNAs are also responsible for changing linens distributing breakfast, lunch or dinner at meal time and snacks if patients are hungry between meals.
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