Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Being a Nursing Assistant can lead to a Career as a Nurse

A Nursing Assistant certificate allows you the opportunity to secure employment at entry level in the medical field. This position requires compassion and dedication to assisting others. It also requires a high level of effective communication as well as attention for detail. Most people entering the Nursing Assistant profession find it to be a rewarding and challenging career. However, many choose to use it as a building block for becoming a Nurse.

The program for becoming a Nursing Assistant is very fast compared with the time it takes to earn a degree in Nursing. Therefore, many see it as a logic choice to gain experience in the medical field. It is an excellent idea for those that aren’t sure if Nursing is for them. It is better to spend four to twelve weeks in training to find out then to spend two or more years working on a Nursing degree.

There are individuals who must maintain employment while pursuing their education degree for financial reasons. For individuals in this position, completing the Nursing Assistant program offers them a way to secure employment that is related to what they are going to school for.

Others choose to advance their career once they have been working as a Nurse Assistant because they see many of the tasks Nurses are responsible for. It is a level of responsibility they wish to acquire. Since they work so closely with the Nursing staff, it is a perfect opportunity to explore more of what takes place. Others have a sincere desire to further their education, but for a variety of reasons have not been able to.

There is a significant pay difference between working as a Nursing Assistant and having a degree as a Nurse. The dollar amount varies based on location, but on average the difference is $4 to $9 per hour more. It doesn’t take long at all for the overall income difference to be seen. Nursing assistants often decide that they want to work in the medical field, but definitely want to be paid more for their work. Of course, the level of responsibility differs greatly between a Nursing Assistant and a Nurse.

Working at a medical facility as a Nursing Assistant can work to your advantage when you decide to pursue a degree in Nursing. It might help you get into the program if there is more interest in the program than enrollment opportunities.

Due to the continuous demand for qualified trained professionals in the area of Nursing, most medical facilities will support you in your efforts to further your education. They will often adjust your work schedule to accommodate you whenever possible.

Tuition assistance programs are offered by many employers in the medical field. They work in a variety of ways. Some will cover a percentage of your tuition; others will pay up to a particular dollar amount. Often, you will be required to agree to work for them for a particular length of time or have to reimburse them for any tuition paid on your behalf. Others won’t pay anything while you are attending school, but will offer tuition reimbursement upon completion of your Nursing degree.

Another advantage of working as a Nursing Assistant prior to obtaining your degree in Nursing is you will have an edge over other recent graduates. You will have work experience to offer in combination with your degree while many others will only have their degree.

Employers like to maintain their quality employees. If you are able to show outstanding work ethic as a Nursing Assistance, it is very likely they will offer you a position as a Nurse upon your completion of your degree. This often depends on the job openings at the medical facility you work for.

Your certificate and work experience as a Nurse Assistant can help make career opportunities appear. It may peak your interest in returning to school to work on your Nursing degree for a variety of reasons. It can help you be accepted to a Nursing program, as well as help you secure employment after completing your Nursing degree.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Nursing Assistant Licensing Requirements

For those interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, obtaining your certification as a Nursing Assistance can be exactly what you are looking for. While the specifications for licensing vary by state, all programs have basic elements. First, you must be able to pass a background check. This is for the safety of all patients and other staff. Some states only look at felony convictions, while others look for reckless behaviors including harassment, domestic violence, and driving under the influence of alcohol. Most programs also require a GED or High School diploma.

Nursing Assistant programs are generally run by healthcare facilities and local colleges. Contact any such facility for a listing of up coming classes in your area. Generally, the courses run from four weeks to twelve weeks in length. You will be required to complete a set amount of hours of classroom time as well as a set amount of hours of clinicals. These clinicals are hands on practice that takes place at a medical facility. You will not be paid for your hours worked during this training program. Federal law requires a minimum of 75 hours in any program, all of which must be supervised by a qualified Registered Nurse.

Upon completing all of your classroom hours and clinical training, you will then be required to take a Certified Nursing Assistant exam. This exam is held periodically throughout each state. Some agencies will allow you to secure employment as a Nursing Assistant during that period of time between completing the program and your scheduled exam. Often, verification of program completion and verification that you are registered to take the test are sufficient.

This comprehensive exam is made up of two parts, written and clinical. The written part of the test is said to be mainly common sense. The clinical portion will require you to perform a number of techniques that you will be using in your job. You Nursing Assistant program instructor will inform you of items you should be well skilled in for the exam. In addition, forming your own study group and taking online practice tests can help you feel confident as the date of the test arrives.

The Nursing Assistant licensing requirements are designed to ensure everyone obtaining a certification from the program is properly trained in policies and procedures. Precautions are taken for the safety of the patients, their families, and other medical staff members. It is important to understand that the program will only help you to learn the basics of the job. The specific job requirements will depend on the facility you are working for. You will receive either orientation or on the job training at each medical facility you begin employment with in the area of Nursing Assistant.

With the demand for Nursing Assistants very high right now, it is an excellent career to pursue. The demand is anticipated to continue growing, with the biggest demands being in facilities caring for the elderly. This is the result of people living longer on average.

If you have any questions about the Nursing Assistant licensing requirements in your state, contact your state Medical Board by phone or online. The interest also provides you will additional information on licensing, classes, and career development in the area of Nursing Assistant.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Counseling for Nursing Assistants

The day to day activities of a Nursing Assistant can be rewarding and draining. Most of us only know that they offer assistance with feeding, dressing, and bathing patients. However, they do so much more. They develop ongoing relationships with the patients as they have more one on one time with them than any other medical staff. They also provide comfort to the patient and their family. They do all they can from reading to them, helping them write letters, and holding their hand as they move from life to death.

Experiencing the negative activities that occur in the Nursing Assistant profession can really take a toll on an individual. It is especially hard when someone they have been caring for takes a turn for the work, becomes terminally ill, or dies. They still have to go on with their other patients, but they can be left feeling empty and at a loss.

Many medical facilities are aware of this issue. With being compassionate comes true feelings of friendship and loss. Counseling is a good way to help Nursing Assistants deal with the events that take place in the working environment. This counseling can be conducted through the employer or at the expense of the Nursing Assistant from an outside resource.

Counseling services offered on site to Nursing Assistants is generally offered free of charge, as long as the information being discussed is work related. The employer may have several paid counselors that only provide services to employees. Others use their counselors to provide services to their employees, patients, and the family and friends of patients. You will need to look into how it is set up at your place of employment for specific details.

These counseling sessions can be ongoing or set up only when a Nursing Assistant feels the need to do so. It is important to understand that the information you discuss with the counselor at your worksite will not be shared with your employer. Too often, Nursing Assistants avoid this type of support and help because they are afraid their boss is going to get a transcript of the entire session. All counseling sessions are held in strict confidentiality. They only time anything is reported is if the counselor feels you are in danger of hurting yourself or others.

Since counseling is important in the medical profession, you may be able to encourage administration at your place of employment to set up services for employees. While they may argue that it is costly and not in the budget, be prepared to discuss the benefits to the overall effectiveness of the staff. Employees with good mental health will do a better job. They will also choose to continue employment longer than staff that needs counseling but does not receive it.

If your employer does not offer counseling services, it is important that you look into an outside resource for such services. The Nursing Assistant field can be draining and emotional. A key to staying on top of the game is to take care of yourself. This means both on a physical and emotional level. In reality, you aren’t going to be effectively caring for patients if you haven’t been taking care of your own needs. Counseling services can be expensive, but most health insurance plans cover them. If yours doesn’t or you don’t have health insurance, check in your area for discount programs and sliding scale fees.

Counseling services for Nursing Assistants is a vital key to staying compassionate and interested in your work. If you let the dark side of the profession consume you, then you will no longer be contributing to the well being of the patients you care for. Being a Nursing Assistant is a great opportunity to care for others and give something of yourself to society. However, it can’t be stressed enough that you must take the opportunity and time to properly meet your own needs. This is one of the biggest reasons so many people in the medical field suffer from burnout. They simply do not take their own needs into consideration at the level they should.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Confidentiality is a Must for Nursing Assistants

Nursing Assistants are exposed to a wide variety of events taking place in the medical field. It is crucial that they are aware of the importance of maintaining confidentiality in all aspects of their job.

Nursing Assistants are well trained in the policies and procedures of the facility. While it is important to follow them, it is not recommended to discuss them outside of the facility. For example, you don’t want to provide others with confidential information regarding evacuation and other emergency procedures. Doing so many compromise the safety of the patients and staff during a natural disaster or violent attack.

Patients requiring care in a medical facility are to have their privacy protected. This means you do not discuss their care or other personal information with any other person except staff they have an interest in the care of that patient. Confidentiality becomes an issue when you know someone in the facility or someone asks you why someone else in there.

All patients have the right to their privacy being maintained. Compromising this information is a direct violation of every medical practice. Providing such information can result in termination of your job, and in some cases, the loss of your Nursing Assistant Certification.

Communicable diseases can surface in medical facilities. It is important that you follow the policies and procedures set in place by the particular facility your work with. However, do not release information regarding such diseases to anyone. This could result in a panic over the possibility of an epidemic, and lead to patients wanting to leave the facility against medical advice.

The proper medical staff will release information on communicable diseases to the proper agencies. Often this includes the area health department. They can then help the medical facility incorporate a plan of action to remedy the solution. The decision might be made to share the information with the area newspapers in an effort to allow them to protect themselves and to seek medical attention if they display the symptoms of a communicable disease that requires treatment.

Confidentiality also includes other medical staff. Nursing Assistants should not be disclosing any information they overhear among other staff in regards to a patient. Likewise, they should not disclose any information that they hear about the private interactions of staff. Often referred to as gossip, this violation of confidentiality can result in poor working relationships. The result is often a stressful work environment and patients not receiving the best care because lines of communication are not open.

To protect yourself, it is important that you clearly understand the basics of confidentiality and why it is so important in the Nursing Assistant profession. Make sure you are fully aware of the specific policies and procedures in place for the facility you work for prior to accepting employment. In addition, it is the responsibility of the Nursing Assistant to report any violations of the confidentiality policies and procedures to the proper person. Not doing so makes you as much a part of the violation as those who committed it.

While it is human nature to talk and discuss things in common, make sure the information you are sharing in regards to your work are being shared with those who need to know the information. It can be humiliating enough for individuals who need to be in a medical facility without worrying about who is going to find out about what took place while they were in care.




Thursday, January 5, 2012

Consumer Complaints about Nursing Assistants

Most Nursing Assistants work very hard to ensure the safety of patients as well as provide them with quality care. However, consumer complaints happen often, resulting in the profession not getting a fair look. Too often the focus is on the negative that takes place during interactions with Nursing Assistants than reporting good staff to the proper people.

One of the biggest complaints about Nursing Assistants by consumers is that they are too rushed. They often have to hurry through bathing and dressing because they have too many demands on their time in a given shift. This often results in patients getting cared for, but quickly and robotically. The personal touch is often smothered in an effort to get it all done.

For patients, simple requests are on of the few perks they have in a medical facility. It also allows they to still exercise some control over their decisions. This is very important to someone who no longer is able to be at home or do basic tasks for themselves without assistance. These requests can be as simple as helping them from the bed to a chair or bringing them a pen and paper to write a letter. It is easy for Nursing Assistants to get side tracked or forget. However, since these simply requests are important to the patient, it is very important that Nursing Assistants follow through with them. Carrying a pen and notepad to jot down requests is a great way to remember them.

Patients don’t like to be kept waiting. It is very hard to adjust to. They may forget they are not the only patient. Nursing Assistants do the best they can to stay on schedule. However, working short staffed and medical emergencies can quickly put them behind schedule. Nursing Assistants have to prioritize, so sometimes helping someone who has fallen is more important than giving the patient a shower on time. Since confidentiality is so important, the Nursing Assistant can’t tell the patient why they are running late.

Never discuss a patient with another staff member or family member in a manner that makes the patient feel as if they are not in the room. Speak with them in mind. It is important to carefully choose your words, even when you think they are asleep or in a coma. Many patients have filed complaints regarding conversations they overheard while Nursing Assistants thought they were sleeping or unresponsive.

One huge area of controversy is that many consumers are uneasy with who quickly a Nursing Assistant can obtain a license. They do not feel there is adequate training time to do an effective job. Federal guidelines require all Nursing Assistant programs to have a minimum of 75 hours of training. The actual amount will depend on the program coordinator and the state requirements for a particular program. However, it is often debated that to be certified as a manicurist, it takes over 1000 hours of training, but so little to become a Nursing Assistant.

Medical facilities and program developers defend the hours required to earn a certificate as a Nursing Assistant. They feel the training builds on an individuals basic concepts of feeding, bathing, and dressing individuals. It is routine tasks we have all done at some point in our lives. They also stress that the clinical hours are hands on training in a medical facility with close observation. This type of training is more effective than just classroom curriculums of other programs. In addition, Nursing Assistants are closely supervised by Nursing staff on a regular basis.

Nursing Assistants work hard to do an effective job of meeting the needs of consumers. Complaints will continue to be file as long as Nursing Assistants maintain such high workloads. With the demand of this field continuing to grow, it is not likely that the workloads will get anything but larger over time.



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Disadvantages of Being a Nursing Assistant

Being a Nursing Assistant can be a very rewarding career for those who are compassionate, hardworking, and who enjoy helping others. They are a necessary part of the medical field. Often, their work goes unappreciated by others in the medical profession. There are disadvantages to being a Nursing Assistant that can lead to someone no longer enjoying their job. The Nursing Assistant profession has one of the highest turn over rates in the medical field.

Most people who become certified as a Nursing Assistant don’t do it for the pay. They are interested as a way of helping others and working with other medical professionals. The low cost of the program as well as the short amount of time it takes to complete it are also big motivators to enroll in such a program.

We all like to feel appreciated, both professionally and personally. Nursing Assistants who don’t feel respected and appreciated by the other medical staff quickly come to dislike their job. It can lead to feelings of inadequacy and resentment. In some cases, it can result in not performing duties to the best of your ability. In others, it can result in simply not performing the duties you don’t enjoy doing.

While Nursing Assistants help keep things running smooth for everyone including patients, families, and other medical staff, they are often not paid very well. This type of position is considered entry level. The starting pay is generally a few dollars above minimum wage, but when compared to the earnings of Nursing staff, the pay is still considered to be very low.

Being a Nursing Assistant exposes you to a wide variety of patients. Meeting their needs including feeding, bathing, and dressing can often be difficult. Nursing Assistants are also required to be able to assist the Nursing staff with anything that arises during their shift. Nursing Assistants often find themselves running short on time to complete everything on the agenda for a given day.

One of the most difficult things for Nursing Assistants to deal with is the behaviors of patients. While most appreciate the help being offered, others become very angry and mean towards the Nursing Assistant. The risk of both physical and emotional abuse is very high in this profession. This can definitely take a toll of anyone.

As with any area of the medical field, Nursing Assistants are exposed to death and dying. There are times when feelings of hopelessness are felt by the Nursing Assistant as they see patients that they aren’t able to help as much as they would like to. While they understand that is part of the medical profession, it can still be very difficult to take.

Even the most dedicated and responsible Nursing Assistants can start to feel burnout in association with their job. This is when your job becomes so overwhelming that you lose interest in it, as well as other activities. It can be the result of working too many hours, working short staff, or a combination of other factors. Watch for the warning signs.

The decision to pursue employment as a Nursing Assistant lead to a wonderful career for you. However, it is important that you are fully aware of the disadvantages of the career choice as well. This way you can make an informed decision. You will need to ask yourself if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. It will also help you prepare for signs of such disadvantages that you can overcome.

For example, you can obtain counseling services if you are experiencing negative feelings related to the death of a patient or other such issue. You can prepare yourself for issues that arise with other staff, and know where in your facility to go with that information for a solution. You can also prepare yourself to avoid burnout with the job, and take the necessary steps if you start to feel that way.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Nurse Assistant Training

Nurse Assistants play a vital role in our healthcare facilities. They provide patients with assistance in regard to their basic needs including bathing, feeding, and dressing them. The level of assistance depends on the individual needs of each patient. They also are an invaluable resource for the Nursing staff.

Becoming a Nurse Assistant requires completion of a certificate program. Such programs are available at several medical facilities and college campuses. The programs can be completed in as little as four weeks. Others run as long as twelve weeks. It depends on the curriculum, the requirements of the state the program is taking place in, and how many hours per day the course is conducted.

All Nurse Assistance courses will teach you the basic fundamentals of taking care of those under your care in a safe and professional manner. Your work will be supervised by licensed Nurses both during your training and regular employment. The training program will teach you to care for both the physical and psychological needs of each patient. Since you must successfully pass the Certified Nursing Assistant exam, the course will help you prepare for the information on that exam.

During the Nurse Assistant course, you will be involved in learning textbook materials as well as hands on training. The textbook material cover all the terminology and information you need to lay a solid foundation to build on. This information will also cover items that are likely to be found on the Certified Nursing Assistant exam. You will also learn ways to improve your communication skills. Communication is key to being a great Nurse Assistant. You will need to be effective at communicating with patients, their family, and the other medical staff.

The hands on portion of the training will give you the opportunity to practice the concepts you are learning in the classroom. Most training programs have special medical maniquins that you work with. You will practice proper bathing and lifting on them. You may also practice taking their vital signs as some are designed for that purpose.

The majority of Nurse Assistant programs work with in conjunction with the medical facilities in the area. This often means a large portion of your hands on training will take place as such a facility. This portion of the curriculum is called clinicals. During this process, you will tend to real patients with the close supervision of licensed medical staff. You will begin applying your knowledge in this setting.

Clinicals can be intimidating to some students. However, they are designed to give you the best opportunity to fully understand and learn your role as a Nurse Assistant. Generally, these clinicals are conducted with a very small group of students. Your class will be broke up into groups of at least two but no more than six. They take place in the actual medical facility. It is important to understand that you will not be paid for the work you do during these clinical hours of training.

During clinicals, the Nursing staff is fully aware of your inexperience. They will attempt to explain what is taking place as it happens to improve your ability to look for key factors in a medical setting. It is very important that if you do not fully understand something, that you discuss it with those training you. They are there for that purpose during the training portions of the Nurse Assistant program.

Completing your Nurse Assistant training at a medical facility not only gives you hands on experience, it may lead to a job offer at the end of your training program. Many medical facilities that host the clinical training are watching out for students who show potential. They are looking for punctuality, attendance, attention to detail, a willingness to learn, and a positive attitude.

On advantage of accepting a job offer at the facility you completed your clinical training at is that you will know their policies and procedures. It is important to keep in mind that every facility has variations of how you were training. The basics will be the same, but you will need to be willing to adjust to what is expected at the particular facility you accept employment with. Keeping that in mind, you will want to ask questions of that nature during job interviews if a complete job description is not given to you.