How to Become a CNA in Rhode Island
A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is employed in the healthcare field and is trained to care for patients in a variety of healthcare settings. A CNA works under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). The CNA is the eyes and ears for the nursing staff and acts as the liaison between the patient and the nursing staff. Due to liability issues there are certain procedures a CNA cannot perform.
Eligibility to enroll in a CNA program requires the CNA candidates to be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, complete a physical test, drug screening, and TB test and receive the required immunizations, as well as pass a criminal background check and fingerprint check.
CNAs find employment in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted care centers, adult day care centers and private home care. Nursing students often become CNAs while in school in order to gain valuable healthcare experience. Graduates from nursing school who worked as a CNA will sometimes find it easier finding employment.
CNA candidates are required to complete a 100 hour CNA program, approved by the Rhode Island Department of Health, that includes class work and clinical training and obtain a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) card. The CPR program is sometimes included in the CNA program. CNA programs take 7 to 14 weeks to complete. Topics included in the program include safety and emergency procedures, personal care skills, basic rehabilitative services, social services, resident’s rights and basic nursing skills.
Upon completion of the program, the CNA candidate is required to pass the state mandated, two part CNA exam that includes written and clinical capability demonstration. The exam must be taken within one year of the completion of the CNA exam. CNAs will have up to three opportunities to pass the exam. Nursing students who have completed at least two clinical courses are eligible to take the CNA exam. The exam is scheduled through the CNA program. The exam has 50 written questions and the exam evaluator will choose 5 clinical skills the candidate must perform. The skills are chosen at random, but almost always include proper hand washing.
CNA classes can be found at healthcare academies, vocational training centers and two and four year colleges and universities. There are also healthcare facilities that offer CNA training in exchange for a commitment to work at the facility for a specified period of time.
CNAs may accept employment upon graduation with the stipulation they will pass the CNA exam within 120 days from the effective date of employment. Candidates who change employment while in the 120 grace period will not re-start the 120 day clock.
CNAs are required to renew their license every 2 years on the 30th of June. CNAs are required to complete a minimum of 8 hours employment or a certified CNA program and pass the exam within the previous 24 months. Beginning with the second license renewal CNAs will be required to complete four nursing related continuing education hours.
The average CNA salary in Rhode Island is $30,000 annually. A newly licensed CNA with little or no experience can expect a starting salary of $23,000 annually. The demand for CNAs in Rhode Island as the turnover is high due to CNAs working toward a nursing degree. In addition to salary, CNAs will be offered a benefits package that includes health insurance coverage, compensated vacation and sick time, a salary differential for working the night shift, time and a half for working more than forty hours in a given work week and additional compensation for working on a holiday when not originally scheduled to work.
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