Where Can CNAs Work?

After completing CNA training you will need to look for employment. A common question is where do CNAs work? Where can they find jobs that will fulfill their lives and allow them to use their training? The generic answer is hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and hospices. Below is some information about the requirements and job functions of CNAs in these different facilities.

Certified nursing assistants work in a variety of facilities. You can find CNAs working in:

  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Clinics
  • Doctor Offices
  • Nursing Homes
  • Home Health Care Agencies
  • Hospices
  • Hospitals
  • Urgent Care Centers

Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

Only nursing homes are mandated by the federal government to hire certified nurse assistants. Other facilities are not required to have any on staff and may hire nurses exclusively.

In assisted living facilities and nursing homes, nurse aides provide personal care and support with activities of daily living for residents. This can and does include dressing, eating, physical transfers from bed to chairs, transporting via wheelchairs, and toileting. Many residents are unable to perform these activities themselves and must rely on aides for many of their basic needs.

Aides also provide emotional support and comfort to residents. Many residents suffer from anxiety, depression, and dementias in addition to any physical limitations. Some residents may have no family and their only link to human contact is the staff in their facility. CNAs receive some training in psychology during their course and will learn how to offer this support while maintaining the dignity of the resident.

In other facilities, the aides may perform the duties traditionally associated with nurses. Preparing patients for surgery, taking vital signs, and administering some medications. The duties that these aides are allowed to perform will vary by state, sometimes by county.

Doctors’ Offices

CNAs that work in offices and hospitals may go by a different name. These aides go through specialized training and may only enter some special courses after working for a set number of hours or months as a ‘regular’ CNA. Courses for these aides may be for memory care, medication dispersion, rehabilitation, or hospice care.

Hospitals

A hospital is an institution offering health care, specialized treatment, and short term care. In a hospital setting CNAs work with a wide range of patients from children to the elderly. Their duties can change based on the medical condition of the patient and what care they might require. For instance, CNAs in the emergency room often take patient vitals and settle the patient to wait for the RN and doctor. On other floors, CNAs may check in on patients, record vitals, and obtain medical documentation that will help the doctor do his/ her job. CNAs tend to ask the patient what occurred, their reason for being admitted, and then do simple procedures like drawing blood.

Clinics

Clinics are another area where CNAs work as an aide to gather information and prepare it for the RN and doctor to help progress the level of care to a solution. Often the CNA is the first person to see and welcome the patient inside the office.

Hospices

Hospice care also called palliative care, is a term for a specific kind of support in one of the several different types of facilities. For the most part, people working in hospice facilities are treating and caring for patients with terminal injuries or illnesses. People residing at hospice facilities are at the final stages of life, there is nothing more that modern medicine can do to help them. It is up to the staff to keep the patient as comfortable and as pain-free as possible for their final days.

It takes a special kind of person to be able to work in hospice care. You must be a dependable and compassionate person to be able to work in any type of end-of-life situation. Many people find fulfillment in these types of jobs and, probably more than any other nursing situation, these workers are appreciated and needed.

Should you decide you want to work in a hospice environment, you need to first make sure that you can psychologically handle death and dying. It can be a very painful process, even for those who are giving care to the ill. You will develop emotional attachments to your patients and, when they pass away, the toll it can take on your psyche can be monumental.

You also must be prepared for the emotional response the patient will have from visiting friends and family. Though the patient might be ready to pass on, the family may have real trouble dealing with the inevitable. Grief is already a difficult thing to bear, but a prolonged and painful death is very hard for loved ones to process.

One way that can help you decide if hospice care is right for you is by volunteering at a facility that provides this type of care. As a trained medical professional, you will need to decide in what capacity you would like to volunteer, whether you would like to assist the medical staff or the patients directly. This will help you gain valuable experience with death and dying, and will show you whether you have the correct mentality to be able to serve in this area.

One thing is certain: Hospice care is very much in demand and careers in this field are secure and stable. Anyone who can handle a career in a hospice situation will find meaningful, challenging work and a strong sense of self. Many people who work in this field say that their occupations have given them a much stronger appreciation for life itself.

Travelling CNAs

You may have heard of traveling nurses. These nurses travel the country and sometimes even the globe in order to take care of patients. They make higher wages than most nurses that stay in one area, this is due to the unique needs of traveling.

Did you know that there are also traveling nurse aides? These nurse aides may not travel around the world, but they do travel from facility to facility and sometimes to different states in order to help facilities in need of staff.

Most of the time these traveling aides stay in their home state. Others may find that they can make a much higher wage by working in another state. One such state that brings in aides from another state in Connecticut. Nurse aides that are certified in New York state can apply for a license to work in Connecticut. The license or certification is reciprocated by the state and costs between $50 and $75. The license is good for two years and the aide is then free to work anywhere in the state.

Aides that travel to different states usually choose a state that practices reciprocity with the state they are licensed in. The reason is that the aide will not need to take classes or a test in order to receive their certification in the reciprocating state. They will only need to provide a copy of their home state certification, then pay the fee for their certification in the other state.  An aide can hold certifications in all 50 states if they have the time to train or visit each state.

This creates a great money making opportunity for aides. They are able to travel away from home and sometimes work only a few weeks a month. Some aides may only work for a few months a year when they are in need of cash.

This also creates great opportunities for employers as they can bring in aides from other states to fill the gaps in their staffing. There are no enough people in each state to fill the aide roles for facilities. As traveling aide jobs become more popular, the staffing needs of more facilities can be met. This is good news for residents and aides that are familiar with low staffing problems.

Restrictions on Services CNAs can Provide

CNAs may not legally provide care without the supervision of a nurse. Aides that advertise on websites and in local newspapers for in-home care cannot legally charge rates for CNA care or offer personal healthcare – they may only work as companions. The nurse may be either a Registered Nurse (RN)or a Licensed Vocational Nurse (or LPN/LVN). Certain states require that an aide may only be supervised by an RN.

It is important to note that any CNA employed by a staffing agency to provide in-home private care must take yet another course and be certified as a Home Health Provider or Home Health Aide. These aides are still under the supervision of a nurse. If the aide is not under the supervision of a nurse, the staffing agency must provide a nurse to ‘check in’ on the aide and patient.