Certified Nursing Aides are valuable members and lifeline of the health care industry. They perform a broad range of nursing tasks and spend highest time with residents compared to other members of a medical team. The classroom instructions and clinical hands-on experience of CNA Training program provide them expertise in nursing care. According to the PHI survey, direct care workers are responsible for offering activities of daily living (ADL) and basic care to 70 to 80% Americans living with chronic conditions, disabilities, and long illness.
Nurse aides must complete state-approved training programs and earn certification by passing the state-approved examination to be able to work as a CNA. The federal Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA ’87) have also made it mandatory for the states to provide minimum 59 hours classroom instructions and 16 hours clinical training to nursing assistants. The states should also assess their nursing care competencies through competency evaluation exams prior to their performing as a CNA. These OBRA measures are adopted by Congress for improving the quality and standards of cares for residents in the facilities.
Nurse aide Exams are a means through which states implement OBRA-87 measures for evaluating nursing care competencies, skills, knowledge, and abilities of nurse assistants. The state’s home health departments are mainly responsible for developing and administrating these exams. However, many states have also contracted national exam providers like Pearson VUE, Prometric, and D & S Headmaster for developing, administering, and scoring nursing assistant exams. The examination consists of Oral or Written Tests, and Skills demonstration test. The test papers are prepared on the basis of classroom teachings and clinical trainings. The candidates must score required passing grade to be eligible for certification.
Nursing assistants and orderlies work in health care settings where their nursing proficiencies are essential for performing basic nursing cares and activities of daily living (ADLs). They are mostly found working in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living centers, long-term care units, residential care facilities, and home health agencies. In these facilities, nursing assistants offer ADLs and personal assistance to elderly and other people who suffer from disabilities and chronic conditions, long illness, and severe injuries.
According to the Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013, total employments for Nursing assistants were 1,427,830, and their Mean hourly wage was $12.51, and Mean annual wage $26,020. However, their percentile median annual wage from starting 10 percent to 90 percent varied from $18,600 to $35,780 annually. The variation in wages was due to factors such as practical work experience, places of work, job types, education and training, and position. The salaries also differ in states, cities, and metropolitans due to density of population, nursing shortages, numbers of health care facilities, and hospitals.
In coming years, the demand for nursing assistants will continue to rise rapidly, and more nurse aides will be required to perform varied basic nursing care duties. The factors responsible for higher nurse aide demands include nursing shortage, baby boomers age, and increase in aging population. During this period, many nurse aides will also retire and leave nursing for other high paying lucrative jobs. According to the BLS survey, the need for all categories direct care workers will grow by 21 percent from 2012 to 2020.