How to Become a Nursing Assistant


Certified nursing assistants, or “CNAs,” are on the front line of medical care.

They don’t diagnose conditions or make medical decisions for patients, but they do play a critical role in patient care and well-being. Nursing assistants help patients who are unable to wash or feed themselves. They also help by moving patients into more comfortable positions, caring for, and comforting them.

If nursing assistant jobs sound like a good fit for you, here are the steps to follow to become a nursing assistant. 

What Is a Nursing Assistant?

CNAs are healthcare professionals. They provide hands-on, intimate healthcare to patients in medical facilities. They work under the watchful eyes of either a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse.  

Day Shift Nursing Assistant

Day shift as a CNA will start with getting patients ready for the day. This involves helping those who need assistance with their breakfast. Washing and dressing patients who aren’t able to do it themselves. You might need to changed bedsheets while breakfast is happening. 

You’ll be managing more than one patient at a time. Good organizational skills and time management is key. 

Night Shift Nursing Assistant

A night shift CNA will take patient’s vital signs and make sure they have what they need for the night. You’ll respond to call lights, provide support to uncomfortable or upset patients. You’ll help patients that are going in for surgery and empty catheters.

Assisting RNs

Your role in assisting RNs will involve things like maintaining charts and provide reports to the incoming shift. You may be asked to fetch medical supplies, prepare rooms, or admit new patients.

5 Steps to Become a Nursing Assistant

Working in the medical field as a CNA will take hard work, but can be realized in less than a year. If you’re wondering whether to become a nurse or pursue a career in medicine, this is one way of testing the waters before committing to many years and the expense of studying medicine. 

Becoming a Nursing Assistant takes these five steps:

  • Attain your GED or high school diploma.
  • Apply and complete a state-approved CNA training course.
  • Complete the in-person clinical quota.
  • Take and pass the certification exam. 
  • Get listed on the CNA registry in your state.

NB: pre-requisites for the CNA program vary from state to state, make sure to check the requirements in your area. The program can be completed in a short space of time, but there is a good amount of work to get through, and the classes will require your attention and focus.

Where to Study to Become a Nursing Assistant

Many institutions offer CNA courses. Some of the courses are online, while others are in person. Some organizations like the Uma Nursing Program offer both online and in-person classes. Whichever organization you choose, make sure that it is state-approved. If you opt for online classes, remember that you’ll be required to complete a period of on-the-job, in-person training.

Take Your First Step to Become a Nursing Assistant Today

For those interested in a career in medicine, becoming a nursing assistant is one of the most satisfying hospital jobs. A nursing assistant career also provides a great springboard into further opportunities in the medical field. Take your future into your hands and apply today.

If you found this career advice helpful, keep browsing for more helpful education and career articles.  


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