Nursing is a noble profession, but many people aren’t sure if it is right for them. While doing research online and talking to nursing professionals can give you an inkling of what the career is all about, the best way to determine if you want to be a nurse is to enter the profession. However, nursing school requires an investment of at least two years and tens of thousands of dollars. No one wants to put that amount of time, money, and effort into a career they will ultimately abandon.
Fortunately, those considering a nursing career have an alternative way to test the waters. They can become certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Right away you can tell becoming a CNA make more sense because training only takes a few weeks and costs, at most, $2,000. In return, you’ll get to see firsthand what the nursing profession is like and whether a career in healthcare is right for you while earning a good wage.
Even though they perform different duties, a certified nursing assistant works just as hard as a registered nurse. CNAs, however, have the added benefit of being able to cultivate closer and more personal relationships with patients. The bulk of your time will be spent caring for and interacting with patients. In addition to being able to get to know them, you will be developing critical communication and interpersonal skills. Working as a CNA offers such a wide range of learning experiences that you will become a better nurse should you ultimately choose to enter that career path.
Unlike nursing programs, CNA programs can be completed in a matter of weeks. This allows you to enter the field quickly and start making money. Programs are available at a variety of post-secondary institutions including community colleges, vocational colleges, and even online schools. Once you have obtained your degree, however, you must be certified by the state before you can start working. Typically this involves taking the state exam, after which you will be placed on the CNA registry and eligible for jobs at medical facilities.
Certified nursing assistants are in demand. The healthcare industry is changing, partly due to recent healthcare laws being passed, but also because of the aging Baby Boomer population. Registered nurses are acquiring more duties, which means they must rely more and more on the help of assistants to get things done. A person entering the CNA field now will enjoy good wages and job security.
Whether you are looking to make a quick career change or just want to test the waters of a healthcare profession, becoming a CNA is an excellent way to go. In addition to accumulating valuable medical experience, you’ll be helping to make life easier for nurses and patients alike.