We were hanging around the water cooler at myCNAjobs headquarters today in Chicago (yes, we ACTUALLY have a water cooler) and we collectively agreed there’s nothing better than a good caregiving story to start the day.
In the spirit of showing our love for the amazing work you do each day and the strong desire for a big belly laugh or heart felt tear, we’re giving away a $10 giftcard to Amazon for the blog post (linking to us), tweet, or comment to this blog post that either makes us laugh the hardest, cry the hardest, or makes the most impact on our loving community.
Tell us what you’ve got. What’s your best, most favorite, caregiving story of all time?
The gift card winner will be announced next week. So, go!
Thinking of becoming a CNA and obtaining a CNA Certification? We’ve been getting a lot of questions about CNA classes over here at myCNAjobs recently so we thought we’d share with our broader community.
How long is a CNA class?
CNA class duration is dependent upon your specific program and state requirements. Most programs range from 80 to 120 total hours, with the bulk of the hours focused on clinical training. Classes range from full-time sessions that run a few weeks to part-time sessions that run longer in the evenings and weekends. Soon, we’re launching a directory to locate CNA schools based on timing, location, and cost. Stay tuned!
Where can I take a CNA class?
Universities, community colleges, and even local community outreach centers offer CNA classes. When evaluating CNA classes, do proper due diligence to ensure the program is certified and meets your local state CNA requirements. To become a Certified Nursing Aide, you will need CNA certification in each state you intend to work – and it needs to be updated.
If I just show up to class, I’ll get a CNA certificate at the end, right?
No! Obtaining your CNA certification is more than just showing up to your CNA class session. You’ll need to pass a state exam. The classes prepare you to pass this exam. During class, you’ll be able to practice CNA tests to better prepare yourself for the big day.
After I pass, am I a CNA forever?
No. You need to keep your license up-to-date per the unique requirements of your specific state. The regulations vary greatly by state so it’s important to understand local CNA requirements. Keep up with your CNA training with our CNA CEU modules.
A caregiver job is hard work…long hours, few “thank yous”, and a sore back from standing on your feet most of the day. But at the end of the day, it’s worth it for the upsides – there are a few reasons why you would become a caregiver. Here are the little things that make us tick over at myCNAjobs:
Ahhh…Isn’t it nice to feel appreciated? One simple thank you goes a long way. Cherish these moments.
Knowing that your job makes a difference
Unlike many careers, caregiving makes a true difference in someone’s life. Caring for a person struggling to care for themselves is rewarding. Without people like you, the quality of life for thousands of people around the globe would be compromised.
Good stories & fun bonding times
Chit-chatting with fellow CNAs and caregivers is one of the things we love most and often hear from other in-the-trenches caregivers working in the field. No one else can quite understand (and appreciate) the life of a caregiver. From a good laugh about something your client did to a shedding a tear about a recent set back, SHARING is definitely one of the upsides of a caregiver job.
@Laurby92 puts it best: “Having a giant 2nd family basically! (wt coworkers and the residents).”
What do you love most about your caregiving job? Add to our list of upsides!
Receiving CNA certification is a big step in a caregiver career and often attracts a wide array of folks. Here’s a quick guide on what caregiver certfication is, how much CNA school typically costs, and a few tips along the journey of obtaining your degree.
First, note that there are three main types of caregivers:
- Non-certified caregivers without any formal training. Often times, familial caregivers start here.
- Certified caregivers that undergo a small amount of training, like a 10-hour training course (this is mandated in some states like IL and AZ)
- Certified Nursing Assistants are formally trained in a school or university type setting
Caregiver & CNA Pay
Typically, the more you know, the farther you’ll go. CNA’s are often paid a couple more bucks per hour than caregivers without any formal training. Further, caregiver pay is highly dependent upon your location. If you want to know more about caregiver and CNA pay, check out our free CNA pay guide.
CNA Certification Duration
CNA certification, a 4-16 week program, is offered at multiple universities, colleges, and sometimes even local community outreach centers. Regardless of location and timing, each school prepares caregivers to pass the state CNA exam.
CNA School Cost
The cost of a CNA Certification program varies drastically from facility to facility. If you’re looking for the most cost effective CNA school option, check out community colleges – they tend to be more affordable than other programs.
Landing a CNA Job
Now, you’re ready to work and have a variety of options at your finger tips. You can choose to work directly for a client or you can choose to work for a company like a senior homecare agency or nursing home. CNAs choosing to work for a company tends to have better benefits and career growth.
Remember to get the word out DURING your CNA certification process that you’re on the market for a caregiver job – not after. Many companies like to hire certified nursing assistants during schooling so they can learn the ropes.
Considering a live-in caregiver job? Here’s the lowdown on the differences between an in home caregiver job description from a position within a nursing home or assisted living community.
You focus on one patient instead of dozens
The upside of live-in caregiving positions is the ability to focus on a single client. The flip side, you better like (or love) your client…you’ll be spending a whole lot of time with each other!
You get to know your patient VERY well
If you’re a people person (and you should be if you’re a CNA/Caregiver!), you probably love talking to people. With live in-caregiver jobs, you have the opportunity to get to know everything about your patient’s life, from their first love to the dirt on the guy or gal next door.
Flexibility, but in a different way
With live-in caregiver positions, you are the go-to person. Often times, there isn’t a back-up ready-to-go in the room next door. However, you may be able to fit a few more daily routine activities in a live-in caregiver position, as it’s just a way of life (hint: you can grab your milk while at the store picking up your client’s prescription, too).
What do y’all think?
Caregiver burnout is a real issue – faced by hundreds of thousands of people across the globe. Are you getting sick more? A tad irritable? Experiencing a change in sleep patterns? These are all symptoms to be aware of. By understanding the underlying causes of caregiver burnout, you can reduce the chances that it will happen to you. Here are a few quick tips:
Work, work, work and no play = caregiver burnout
Caregiving is hard work. At times, it’s an around the clock job. Remember to savor a few moments for yourself each day. If you’re a live-in caregiver, sneak in a few breathers each day to stop and smell the roses and on your day off, do something that makes you smile. You’ll be a better caregiver or CNA employee and your happiness barometer is sure to soar!
Go easy on yourself, girlfriend (or boyfriend)! You can’t change the world in a day. Too often, we chat with caregivers that want to move mountains…yesterday. Set realistic expectations for yourself and your clients.
Remember, you can’t control everything in your own life, let alone someone else’s life. Take a step back and focus on the things you CAN control – like how you react to situations, the value you provide each day to your client, and the joy you get from hobbies, friends, and loved ones.
Forgetting someone very important – YOURSELF
You are a care GIVER, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet, and keep up with your family and social life (and Keeping up with the Kardashians if that’s your cup of tea)
While there isn’t a magic formula to avoiding caregiver burnout, our biggest advice is understanding burnout symptoms and address it early and often.
We’d love to hear from our community. Have you ever experienced a burnout phase? If so, what advice can you share for others?
Caregiving programs change from client to client (and season to season)! However, there are a few fundamental caregiver and CNA duties that most all caregiver programs include. Here’s a quick six step caregiver program guide for those looking to understand the basics. For those more advanced, please add your tips for the community
Make your client comfortable: A home-like feeling goes a long way
Nothing is worse than being uncomfortable in an unfamiliar place. If you’re working with someone outside of their home, add a few home-like essentials like pictures, artwork, and even a favorite blanket.
Stay on top of specific medical needs
A good caregiver knows the ins and outs of their clients’ medical routine. Most all caregiving programs include medical assistance from administering medication to ensuring one makes it to their doctor appointment on time.
Keep em’ clean & groomed (and happy)
Bathing is an essential, but often times it’s the little things that go a long way. Go the extra mile to add a splash of favorite perfume or lipstick.
Encourage healthy eating and exercise according to the docs plan
If the doc says eat more protein and drink more milk, than take the role of the biggest protein and milk cheerleader on the block. Many clients, especially seniors, won’t comply. Do your part to be a good support system.
Remember the numbers
Many caregiving programs include keeping legal and financial information up-to-date.
Care for yourself and get caregiver support if you need it!
Ever hear the phrase, “Care for the Caregiver”? That’s rule number 1. Caring for yourself is critical, as it allows you to bring your A game. And, that’s at the heart of winning caregiving program for you and your client.
With hundreds of CNA skills required to be successful on the job, a certified nurse assistant is truly a jack-of-all-trades. Each skill is as valuable as the next, but rather than writing a novel outlining each individual quality, here’s a look at the top five most desirable CNA skills, according to our in-the-trenches, insider knowledge:
1. Excellent verbal and written communication. Among the many CNA skills, strong communication skills are one of the most important. CNAs must be able to communicate effectively with their client, as well as with the client’s family members, doctors, nurses, and other staff members. Clear and concise written communication is required when reporting and documenting a client’s wellbeing.
2. Astute observation skills. One of the main CNA duties is observing the client’s day-to-day physical and mental health. Since doctors and nurses can’t be around their patients all the time, CNAs must keep a keen eye on their clients and report even the slightest changes. In a live-in caregiver situation, CNAs also must be detail-oriented and have a strong sense of awareness in the client’s habitat to ensure safety.
3. Ability to follow set rules and protocol. Some CNA skills—like the ability to follow rules—are so simple and basic, but the most important. Each senior care patient has a plan of care that must be executed by the CNA. Failing to follow the set protocol established in the plan of care puts the client’s health and well-being at risk and also increases the potential for liability, especially in an emergency.
4. Time management and organizational skills. CNAs often work with limited supervision. Therefore, top-notch time management and organization are CNA skills that any employer looks for. Specifically, a successful certified nurse assistant should be able to prioritize one’s daily task, file paperwork and reports in a timely manner, and work independently and efficiently while maximizing one’s time.
5. Empathy and compassion. While often considered inherent traits, these vital qualities are an extension of interpersonal skills. When working with senior care clients, an empathetic nature and caring bedside manner are essential for completing the job. A highly skilled CNA should be able to successfully navigate delicate social situation with grace and execute proper interpersonal skills.
If you’re looking for a CNA job in your area, be sure to check all the CNA jobs available on myCNAjobs.
What CNA skills do find essential for the job? Please share!
Before taking a professional caregiving job, it’s important to know what to expect for caregiver and CNA pay. So let’s talk money!
CNA Pay vs. Caregiver Pay
On average CNA pay is a few dollars higher than caregiver wages. CNAs are required to complete training and certification before practicing, and their increased wages reflect the additional education they have completed. The average hourly salary for a CNA is $11.54, whereas a caregiver typically earns $9.25 per hour.
Caregiver and CNA Pay Varies by Where You Live
Caregiver wages and CNA pay is not universal; the average pay varies from state to state. But why? A variety of factors contribute to these variations including local industry demands, cost of living, and state minimum wage laws. The highest CNA salary can be found in Alaska, where the average hourly rate is $16.40. At $9.05 per hour, Mississippi has the lowest pay rate of all states.
Increase Your CNA Pay with Training
As a caregiver, the best way to increase your earnings is to complete more education and become a CNA. CNA training requires a minimal investment of time and money. Within six weeks and for $300 to $600, you can obtain your CNA license. If you aren’t ready to commit to CNA school, online caregiver training is also available for a low cost (under $100). Whichever route you choose, increased education and obtaining certifications is an investment that eventually pays for itself.
Other ways to increase your CNA or caregiver include on-the-job training and increased experience. Many senior care agencies also offer increased pay for holidays, weekends, and nights.
To learn more, check out this detailed caregiver and CNA pay guide.
One of the greatest perks about choosing the career path of a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or professional caregiver is the daily variation of CNA duties and responsibilities. Often, a routine plan of care is established for a senior and executed daily by one or more CNAs or caregivers. However, the day-to-day work is anything but routine – hello variety! Below is a small flavor the daily life of a CNA. We’d love to hear from our community regarding your experiences – where do you spend most of your time?
Typical Caregiver or CNA Duties
Companionship and socialization
Providing social support and company for senior clients is perhaps the most rewarding of caregiver or CNA duties. As a caregiver, you’re more than an employee but an integral part of your client’s life. Sometimes this means watching a seniors’ favorite TV show, playing cards, or simply listening – allowing someone to reflect on their past.
Maintaining a clean and hygienic living space for senior care clients is a key caregiver and CNA duty.
Errand and appointment escort
As a caregiver or CNA, you’ll never be confined to a boring office cubicle. Whether you’re driving your client to a doctor’s appointment, picking up groceries at the market, or escorting your client to the hair salon, CNA duties allow you to live an active lifestyle.
Daily personal care
The ability to independently care for oneself is a privilege that many often take for granted until it’s gone. Among the many essential CNA duties, assisting with daily personal care and hygiene is a constant day-to-day activity.