Nurses constitute a large and vital part of the healthcare industry. According to the American Nurses Association of Colleges of Nursing, nurses comprise one of the massive parts of the U.S. workforce, with almost 4.2 million registered nurses nationwide.
When it comes to primary healthcare, nurses are the key to effective treatment and patient satisfaction. There are a dozen career pathways and an extensive list of specialization options in this field. For this reason, it is one of the most rewarding and continually growing professions.
In this guide, we will walk you through what CNAs do in hospitals and how you can prepare for the CNA practice exam. Moreover, we will list some other rewarding career pathways in this profession.
How is Life as a CNA?
Being a Certified Nursing Assistant is not just another job. CNAs work day in and out to demonstrate their commitment to the field and compassion for their patients.
Nursing assistants mainly provide basic care to patients. Their routine tasks typically include assisting patients with dressing, feeding, grooming, repositioning, etc. In addition to these duties, CNAs set up medical equipment, conduct medical examinations, and act as a bridge between patients and the medical staff.
Common workplaces for nursing assistants include a state, local or private hospital or a nursing or long-term care home. Work shifts and job timings depend upon the facility at which they work. For instance, someone at a medical facility may have to work late at night, early in the morning, on the weekends, or over the holidays.
The nursing assistant role can be a great stepping stone in a broader healthcare career. Many nursing assistants move on to different positions in the healthcare industry with time.
How to Practice for CNA Tests?
Students who invest time and practice in their long-term studies ace medical school exams. You can use flashcards and mnemonics or enroll in online portals for free practice courses.
Once you have memorized everything, it is time to put yourself through a free CNA practice test. Practice exams and mock tests are a great way to identify your core strengths and weaknesses. Such quizzes will help strengthen your knowledge base and teach you to manage time for the final exam.
Other Career Pathways in the Field of Nursing
The great thing about nursing is that it offers several career pathways for people who want to enter this field. Some positions demand specific experience, but that is not hard to acquire. Here are a few options available to a nursing practitioner:
- Registered Nurse
A Registered Nurse works in settings like residential care facilities, hospitals, or government offices. The job requires coordinating patient care, educating people about various health conditions, and providing advice and emotional support to patients and their families.
If you seek a career within healthcare and would like to begin working only after two to four years of schooling, consider this option.
- Critical Care Registered Nurse
The demand for cardiac nurses continues to grow with the rise in cardiac health issues. Such nurses might work in a long-term care facility, a hospital ICU, or a clinic. They assist with surgical procedures such as bypass, angioplasty, or pacemaker surgery.
Consider this option if you want to assist with heart surgeries or develop treatment plans for cardiac patients.
- Emergency Room Registered Nurse
ER nurses work under intense pressure to help save ill or critically injured people. In such a role, your duties might include examining and triaging patients, recording their histories, and consulting physicians about them.
People who can manage high-pressure scenarios and want to assist patients with every type of ailment are fit for this role.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
You will find nurse anesthetists in operating rooms providing patients with anesthesia for surgery. In addition to the safe use and administration of anesthesia, they may assist in caring for individuals during their surgeries.
If you can cater to the requirements of a surgical room, you can choose this area of specialization.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist
Clinical nurse specialists play a role in patient care by working with other nurses and staff to ensure the patient receives high-quality treatment. Their role is a dynamic blend of leading, researching, and teaching.
Someone who wants to utilize their leadership qualities and excellent managerial skills while practicing medicine is fit for the job.
- Family Nurse Practitioner
Family nurses are the ones that work as primary care providers in family medicine. Their job description includes duties from diagnosing and treating illnesses through physical exams and diagnostic testing to prescribing medications.
You can opt for this career if you like providing comprehensive medical care to patients of all ages.
- Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
As a geriatric nurse, you will specialize in helping older adults with unique health needs and challenges related to the aging process, such as reduction of bone density and Alzheimer’s. Your routine tasks might include helping the elderly with bathing or dressing, monitoring vital signs, and administering medication.
- Nurse Midwife
With a specialization in caring for pregnant women, a nurse midwife assists in labor and delivery and prenatal appointments. Moreover, these nurses conduct gynecological exams, deliver prenatal and postnatal care, and provide family planning information.
This career pathway is a perfect option for people who like being around newborns and are interested in a holistic approach to women’s health and childbirth.
- Rehabilitation Registered Nurse
It may look like the term relates to people fighting substance-abuse disorders. But, a rehabilitation RN develops and implements care and discharge plans, communicates with patients’ families, and supervises ancillary nurses in outpatient and inpatient work settings.
Nursing is a rewarding profession and one of the best career options in the medical field. Besides, it is a very diverse field with opportunities even outside of medical practice. It has opportunities for people interested in law, forensics, education, or even public health.
According to current trends, nursing is continually growing even though there are millions employed in this field. Besides, there are significant opportunities for personal growth and advancement once you enter the profession.