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What Is a Certified Nursing Assistant and How Do You Get Started?

A certified nursing assistant (CNA) cares for hospital patients, in clinics, and various other settings, such as mental health facilities. Additionally, a CNA may work at a nursing home or make in-home visits. Today, CNAs are an integral part of health care.

If you're thinking about becoming a certified nursing assistant, you probably have a few questions. Read on for more information about this excellent occupation for caretakers.

What Are a Certified Nursing Assistant's Duties?

The certified nursing assistant does many things, from providing medical care assistance to family members' support. They may be responsible for helping patients bathe and get dressed, as well as dispensing medication and recording vital signs. Additionally, a CNA communicates with other medical staff on the patient's behalf. They may also act as a caretaker, preparing meals and changing bed linens.


An LPN or licensed practical nurse specializes in providing direct patient care, while a certified nursing assistant provides support services by recording patient histories and measuring vital signs. LPNs have a degree with coursework. Unlike LPNs, CNAs only need certification and typically fewer classroom and clinical hours.

How Do You Get Certified?

A certified nursing assistant takes health care classes and learns to assist doctors and nurse practitioners by preparing examination rooms. In a CNA program, you'll learn how to help with x-rays, take vital signs, and assist in the laboratory, among other things.

You'll receive supervised clinical training and nursing classes. Some states also require additional HIV/AIDS training and other specific concentrations. After completing a state-approved training program with a set minimum number of clinical and classroom hours, you'll be ready to take the certification exam.

After completing a CNA program, nursing assistants must earn their state's nursing assistant certification before practicing. Each state has requirements for certification, such as:

  • Written exams

  • Oral exams

  • Skills tests

  • Required clinical hours

You may also need to pass a background check.

How Long Does It Take to Complete a CNA Program?

A certified nursing program can run anywhere from four to twelve weeks. Additionally, CNA programs require clinical hours to strengthen practical skills in patient care, such as learning how to check vital signs and practicing CPR. If you take an online CNA program, you'll have local supervisors who oversee the required clinical hours.

The required number of clinical hours vary per state.

Brevard Nursing Academy: Nursing Education

Brevard Nursing Academy offers a five-week program covering basic nursing assistant principals and provides students ample opportunity to practice. You'll learn core functions such as:

  • How to bathe and dress patients

  • Take vital signs

  • Turn or reposition bedridden patients

  • Examine patients for injuries, bruises, and wounds

You'll also learn how to collect information about conditions and treatment plans from family members, nurses, and doctors. Students must take the Florida Nursing Aide exam from Prometric to become a Florida licensed certified nursing assistant.

If you're ready to start a new career as a CNA, get in touch with Brevard Nursing Academy to enroll.

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