As a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA), there are many different settings in which you can work. Generally speaking, when you have just qualified as a CNA, you will probably take any job you can find. However, as your career progresses and you get more experience, more job opportunities will open up for you as well. The most common areas of work for a CNA are skilled nursing facilities, aide agencies for home health, assisted living facilities and local hospitals. Within these settings, you can work with a variety of different patients from the very young to the very old. You could also work in medical transcription, or become a traveling CNA, meaning you will be deployed where you are needed. Let’s take a closer look at these 4 job settings.
1 – Skilled Nursing Facilities
Usually, this is where a CNA will start his or her career. This is because there is a lot of demand through these facilities as well. For many, the job is a jumping point, but others thrive on the high demands required by working with so many patients and stay in this field during their whole career.
The pros of working in skilled nursing facilities are numerous. First of all, you have great job security. Additionally, you should be able to gain full-time employment, which will give you additional benefits. Also, it is a great place to develop skills and gain experience. However, there are some downsides as well. For many, the job is too stressful because there are too many patients for a single person to deal with.
2 – Home Health Aide Agency
This is one of the most popular jobs out there. The pay is nearly the same as that in skilled nursing facilities, but the patient ratio is far better. Indeed, you will look after just a single client, instead of the 8 to 12 you would need to manage in a hospital. It is not uncommon for skilled facility CNAs to experience burnout, which often pushes them towards home health.
Again, there are pros and cons to this position. The benefits are that you will experience much less stress. Additionally, you can work across 24 hours. However, it may take some time before a patient is allocated to you, which means you may want to work in other facilities while you wait. Additionally, you have to be able to deal with the loss of patients, as most will die while in your care. This can be very traumatic, as you will tend to develop a relationship with your patient.
3 – Local Hospitals
Competition for a hospital job is fierce. This is because these are generally the best jobs, which makes them harder to get. The best way to get one of these jobs is to constantly check hospital websites for their job board and sending your resume to human resources. Many CNAs give up on looking for a hospital job because they find something else. One way to get your foot in the door, however, is to volunteer.
The pros of working in a local hospital are numerous. You will get the best choice of hours and you get offered various amazing benefits. Additionally, you will be backed by some of the best trained nurses in the field. The job security is very good and the salaries are high. Additionally, you can expect to get a yearly raise. However, these jobs are very hard to find.
4 – Assisted Living Facilities
Finally, CNAs often work in assisted living facilities. This means that you help people through their daily routines. This is not overly time consuming or acute, because most of your patients will still be reasonably independent. It is a rewarding job to get into and there are numerous listings for vacancies.
As always, there are pros and cons. The job is great and some employers (not all) offer interesting benefits and bonuses. Additionally, stress levels are very low. However, the job can, at times, get a bit boring. Furthermore, it is not overly well paid. Nevertheless, it is a great stepping stone, or a job to hold on to while you study for further qualifications.