What if it Were You? Nursing Assistant Patient Care

Certified Nursing Assistants Advocating Patient Care

Apply for CNA Reciprocity – Essential Information

January 13th, 2015

So you’ve successfully completed your required CNA coursework and have passed your state’s certification examination.¬†After working as a certified nursing assistant, you’re suddenly faced with the notion of relocating to a different state. Regardless of the reason why you must move, there are several steps you must take to continue working as a CNA. If you’re interested in relocating to a new state while still working as a certified nursing assistant, then you must familiarize yourself with the concept known as reciprocity.

What is CNA Reciprocity?

Reciprocity is a a state regulated process in which the certifications and licenses awarded by one state is acknowledged and transferred to a new state. According to both Federal and State laws, reciprocity is applicable for all licensed and certified professionals, which includes certified nursing assistants. While this process can slightly vary from state-to-state, most follow a similar pathway when granting certification/licensure to newly relocated CNAs.

Steps to Applying for CNA Reciprocity

  • Contact Home State Nurse Aide Registry – The first step in starting the reciprocity function is to contact the Nurse Aide Registry for your home state – the state you’re currently certified to work in. Upon doing so, request a copy of the “Application for Enrollment by Reciprocity.” Now, here’s where it can become confusing. Some states require this form to be sent to your current state while others require the form to be sent to the state you’re moving to. To make it more complicated, some states require the form to be sent to both entities before being processed. Inquire about this process with your Nurse Aide Registry.
  • Contact the Other State – Once you’ve gathered the aforementioned information from your current state, you must contact the Nurse Aide Registry for the state you’re moving to. Inquire about their specific steps when it comes to applying for reciprocity. Often times, this information is readily available in the states Nursing Aide Registry website.
  • Gather Appropriate Documents – While the exact documents you require to submit your application for reciprocity can vary by state, most require copies of: (1) Social Security Card (2) Driver’s License or Government-Issued Photo ID Card (3) Current State Certificate of Approval (4) Recent pay stubs indicating you’re an active CNA within the field.
  • Additional Training/Examinations – In some cases, CNAs relocating to a new state may be required to re-take their examination or take part in some form of training before the reciprocity is granted. While this is not the norm for most states, it’s important to be prepared to showcase your skills and knowledge when requesting reciprocity.

If you are unsure about whether or not you are going to move, don’t hesitate to start the process of becoming a CNA. You can get your CNA certification now in your current state and then apply for CNA reciprocity if you choose to move.

Required Legal Obligations for CNAs

January 5th, 2015

CNA Classes and Training

Due to the scope of work CNAs are responsible for, there are many legal obligations for CNAs that adhere to this profession. While your CNA classes and training coursework will delve deep into the legal requirements and ramifications of working as a CNA, there are several required legal obligations all current and aspiring CNAs must be aware of. During your training CNA classes you should adhere to the legal practicum that will be given during your courses. Before delving into the realm of work as a certified nursing assistant, it’s vital to gain a full understanding what Federal and State laws dictate regarding this profession.

Basic Legal Obligations for CNAs

While the exact laws regarding the scope of practice available to CNAs can vary from state-to-state, there are several universal regulations all certified nursing assistants must follow. To prevent facing legal charges against you, all certified nursing assistants must:

  • Retain a working knowledge of what their state allows regarding work as a CNA
  • Only perform tasks outlined by State and Federal regulations. Even if a CNA is asked to perform a duty outside of the legally defined scope of practice, you should refuse and speak with a direct supervisor.
  • Perform your given tasks and responsibilities exactly as you were taught in training. While you may have an idea of how to alter certain procedures, only stray from standards with the direct consent and supervision of an RN or physician.
  • Maintain necessary continuing education requirements as outlined by your State Nursing Aide Registry.
  • Understand exactly what’s expected of you. If you feel you cannot adhere to these expectations, immediately notify your direct supervisor. Never operate out of your comfort zone or knowledge base.
  • Actively work to do zero harm to patients or residents.
  • Respect the hierarchy of medical staff.

Top Three Legal Definitions CNAs Must Comprehend

Although there is a host of legal descriptions and definitions CNAs must understand, the following are the three most important. By understanding these definitions you’ll reduce the likelihood of accidentally causing harm to the patient or the nursing process.

Once a Certified Nursing Assistant understands all the following legal obligations for their medical profession, then they will be prepared for the career ahead of them. These three items, Acts of Negligence, Acts of Thievery, and Acts of Defamation are explained below:

  1. Acts of Negligence – In the most basic sense, negligence refers to any action a CNA knowingly does that causes physical or emotional harm to the patient. For example, you begin bathing a patient without checking the water temperature, which results in the patient being burned.
  2. Acts of Thievery – While this seems like a “no brainer,” this is one of the most common legal complaints against certified nursing assistants – especially when dealing with mentally incompetent patients who mistake actions as theft. Prevent any accusation of theft by never taking anything that doesn’t directly belong to you. This not only refers to patient belongings, but also to items owned by your employer.
  3. Acts of Defamation – Basically, defamation involves making public statements regarding a person that damages their character/reputation. For example, you provide inaccurate information regarding a patient, which results in improper care. If you are unsure of the validity of information you must give, do not say anything. As a general rule of thumb, never put anything in writing unless directly instructed by your supervisor and only if this information is based upon objective observations or quoted subjected observations.

5 Traits to Avoid as Certified Nursing Assistants

December 30th, 2014

Are you curious about a career as a certified nursing assistant? Do you wish to set yourself apart from your competition? If so, there are many ways to accomplish these goals. While obtaining high-quality training through online CNA certification classes and passing the certification examination are two of the most effective ways to gain attention from employers, avoiding certain traits is equally as valuable. If you’re interested in setting yourself apart from others, while showcasing your strong character traits, strive to avoid these five common pitfalls.

Trait #1 – Unreliable Certified Nursing Assistants

Due to the nature of this work, employers and patients require CNAs to be extremely reliable. A lack of reliability can prove to be detrimental to not only your success, but even to the health of your patients. Therefore, all CNAs should strive to not only be reliable when it comes to showing up for work, but also while at work. Your mantra should be to follow through with what you say you’ll do and even go above-and-beyond what was asked of you. After some time, your reliability will be rewarded by your employer and patients.

Trait #2 – Remaining Inflexible to Workplace Changes

Certified Nursing Assistant careers are among the most dynamic in the medical industry. Not only are you responsible for caring for patients, but you must support the ever-evolving medical techniques and treatments performed by nurses and physicians. If you go into work with a set mentality that you’re only going to do the minimum, you’ll soon find yourself without a job. Strive to create a personality, and reputation, that’s extremely welcoming to change. Only say no to a request if you know that you’re unable to successfully fulfill the request.

Trait #3 – Lack of Teamwork

The heart and soul of the CNA position is teamwork. This profession demands teamwork in order to keep track of patient needs and create a fully functional Care Plan. Avoid belonging to specific cliques or only working alone. Your goal should be to assist in any way possible, which means anticipating the needs of your co-workers and patients. CNAs that avoid true teamwork are not only doing themselves a disservice, but also hindering the true level of care every patient deserves.

Trait #4 – Only Does the Minimum

One of the quickest ways to create displeasure among your employer is to only perform the minimum functions of your position. While you may satisfy the basic needs of your career choice, those who do not proactively work to exceed these expectations will soon find themselves first to be cut should layoffs occur. Due to the dynamic nature of this work environment, the best level of care is only provided by those who strive to avoid only doing the minimum.

Trait #5 – Laziness

We’ve all worked with someone who is endlessly lazy. They finish a task and then retreat to the back room to check their phone or catch a quick nap. If you find yourself more on the lazy side of the road, then this may not be the career choice for you; especially if you work in a high-energy environment such as a hospital. As a CNA your goal should be the opposite of lazy. Even after finishing your “required” duties, there is always something that needs to be done. Use these opportunities to work with more advanced-level nurses to help expand your knowledge of healthcare and various treatments. The best CNAs are those that are eager to learn and help in any fashion.

5 Traits of Successful CNAs

December 30th, 2014

When it comes to succeeding as a certified nursing assistant, there are many traits you must obtain. While some of these are gained during training, others are natural traits that can only be fostered by becoming aware of them. Of course, there are far more traits that are more useful to CNAs than that are listed below; however, the following traits are most common among, not only employed, but also also successful CNAs in a variety of facilities.

Successful CNAs Trait #1 – Proactive by Nature and Habit

One of the most essential traits any certified nursing assistant can obtain is a proactive nature. Throughout your daily duties, you are required to not only set forth established procedures, but to think ahead and proactively manage resources to initiate the highest level of care. The biggest mistake any CNA can make is simply reporting problems and sitting around waiting for another professional to correct them. Be proactive and watch your job opportunities grow.

Successful CNAs Trait #2 – Effective Time Management

Many certified nursing assistants feel that there aren’t enough hours in their shift to accomplish all they need to. While you may have a to-do list that’s a mile long, you can’t forget about the essential component of this job – communing with patients. Therefore, the most successful CNAs are those that know how to balance their time between patients to ensure that all patient needs are met.

Successful CNAs Trait #3 – Powerful Priotiziation

When you’re dealing with a hallway full of patients, it can be frustrating when it comes to determining who to tend to first. The most successful CNAs are those that understand how to prioritize patients based upon actual medical needs when compared to non-emergency needs of patients. While a CNA must tend to all patients with the same level of attention, they must know how to categorize patients based upon the urgency of care and need. By doing so, all patients are tended to in a timely manner.

Successful CNAs Trait #5 – Efficient Listening Skills

One of the most important character traits a CNA may contain is the ability to efficiently listen to patients and their supervisors. There is a major difference between listening and hearing. When you hear a patient/supervisor, you’re simply taking in what they’re saying; however, when you actually LISTEN you’re gathering information and formulating your responses and actions to best suit what you’ve heard. The most successful CNAs are those that utilize effective communication techniques to ensure there’s no confusion in what’s being said.