How to Become a CNA in South Carolina
Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) assist nurses with the day to day care of ill, elderly and disabled patients. CNAs are considered to be the backbone of the nursing staff. They spend more time with the patients assisting with a variety of tasks including bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting, grooming and any other requests that may come up. CNAs are the eyes and ears of the nursing staff and report changes in patient conditions to the floor nurse.
CNA candidates are required to complete a training program and pass the state mandated exam before becoming a CNA. The CNA programs must be approved by the South Carolina Board of Nursing (SCBON) and be a combination of clinical training and class work. The CNA training program must be a minimum of 100 hours. Clinical training must offer hands on patient care within a healthcare facility.
Before enrolling in a CNA program, candidates must be a high school graduate, or earned a high school equivalency certificate and be 18 years old. Class work includes taking vital signs, emergency procedures, basic nursing care, medical terminology, nutrition, first aid and CPR and communication skills. Clinical training will provide students with instruction regarding the physical treatment of patients. CNA candidates must also pass a criminal background and fingerprint check, as well as a complete physical and drug test.
After completing the training program and with a clear criminal background and fingerprint check in hand, the CNA candidate is required to pass the state mandated licensing exam. CNA exams are scheduled throughout the year on a monthly basis at a variety of testing sites. CNAs should apply to take the exam at the most convenient location. The exam is a two part test that includes a written exam and demonstration of clinical skills. The candidate must pass the written exam with at least a 75% and perform 5 clinical tasks that the evaluator will choose at random.
The CNA has up to three chances to pass the licensing exam and if the candidate does not pass the exam by the third try will be required to complete the CNA training program again. The candidate also has a 90 day grace period after completing the program and taking the exam for the first time to seek and begin employment as a CNA. If the exam is not passed within the 90 day time frame, any employment opportunities become null and void.
Upon passing the exam and becoming licensed, the CNA will apply to the SCBON to be included as a CNA on the Board of Nursing Registry. The registry gives potential employers the ability to check the status of a license at any time and if disciplinary action has been taken against a particular license.
CNAs are required to renew their license every 24 months and the renewal process must be completed before the actual expiration date in order for the license to remain valid without interruption. Licenses can be renewed online or via postal mail.
CNAs find employment in short and long term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted care facilities, hospitals, rehabilitative care facilities, as well as private home care. CNAs work under the direction of a nurse, either a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). CNAs may also take direction from a physician, but it should always be through the nurse in charge.
The average salary for a CNA is $30,000. The starting salary is about $22,000. The actual salary will depend on the type of facility where employed, years of experience and geographic location. CNAs are necessary 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, holidays included. Most facilities that employ CNAs assign shifts on a rotating weekday and weekend schedule.
CNA Training Classes in South Carolina
Helms College, a nonprofit post-secondary career college operated by Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA, has been granted continued accreditation by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), a national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
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