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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.