How to Become a CNA in Virginia
Choosing to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) is one of a handful of professions that focuses on personal care rather than just medical care, and offers the opportunity to interact more directly with patients. Being a CNA is both challenging and rewarding and the right choice for a highly motivated individual in search of a fast paced career.
CNAs are very much sought after individuals who work with the nursing staff and provide personal and basic care to patients while under the direction of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). CNA opportunities are always increasing as healthcare options also increase. Medical candidates also become CNAs and work within the industry while pursuing other healthcare fields such as nursing, physician and medical technicians.
The state of Virginia requires all CNAs to complete an approved CNA training program and become licensed. The training program must cover 120 hours and include 60 hours of class work and 60 hours of clinical training. After completing the training program candidates are required to take the state mandated CNA exam. The exam is administered by Pearson VUE Testing Services and candidates must contact Pearson VUE to schedule the exam. The exam is a two part exam, one part being 75 multiple choice questions and the second part being the clinical task demonstration. The clinical demonstrations are performed before the chosen evaluation board. CNA candidates must pass both parts to become licensed. Candidates who pass the exam will be issued a license and those who do not pass the exam will be given another opportunity to take the exam.
Once licensed, CNAs are required to renew their license every two years. CNAs will be notified of renewal 60 days prior to license expiration and renewal is accomplished online. CNAs must document 8 hours of actual CNA employment within the 24 months prior to expiration to qualify for license renewal.
CNAs find employment in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted care centers and home and private duty care. CNAs typically work one of three shifts, day evening and night, and either work one typical shift or different shifts on a rotating basis to include weekdays, weekends and holidays.
CNAs assist the nursing staff with patient care and the tasks include toileting, dressing, feeding, personal hygiene, transporting patients to other areas of the facility for appointments, tests and recreational events and light housekeeping. CNAs also assist physicians and nurses with procedures if necessary, gather vital signs, document patient interactions when warranted and collect non-invasive fluid specimens.
The average CNA salary in Virginia is $29,000 annually. Starting salaries are about $20,000 annually and top out at about $48,000. The salary package for CNAs often include health benefits sometimes including dental and vision care, compensated time off, short and/or long term disability, tuition reimbursement, performance bonuses and night shift differential payments.
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