Becoming a nurse is challenging because you are put through rigorous training. However, the reward is gratifying because you are helping people, and this profession offers a great financial package. If you think about it, the health industry is one which hasn’t declined over the years. I believe that if people exist in this world, we’ll always need nurses and doctors to help. Over the last few months, I’ve been very lucky, having been able to work with health care professionals who are doing clinical research. These people took some time out to shed light on the struggles they face as certified nursing assistants.

I want to help, by giving an overview of what I have discovered over the last few days.

Building a Network

It’s funny how this applies to every profession, and having friends can help guide your learning curve. People learn at different rates and some have a better understanding of the technical philosophy. Making friends with these people will help you get a grip on what’s being taught. They’ll be able to embed their knowledge into you, making things smoother going forward. However, just like they have taken out the time to help you, it’s important that you do the same as you start to take part in clinical research and work your way around the floor.

Ask A lot of Questions

Many nurses have told me that there is a basic flaw within students, which then becomes a barrier in their learning. What do I mean by flaw? In this case, a flaw would be a limitation, imperfection, problem, phobia, or deficiency present in a person’s character, which may block them from being very functional. During CNA classes, some people just wait around for others to tell them what to do, and this can be a huge limitation especially when that time could be used for learning. Remember, you are in a profession that will be saving lives, so you better start asking questions when you don’t understand a concept. Here’s the thing –

The more questions you ask, the greater knowledge you’ll gain. You can then start to apply this knowledge everyday, to aid in fine-tuning your skills.

Studying (magic)

Your path to a career in nursing starts with studying so it’s important that you use the resources available to you. Your first step in the right direction is that you’re reading this on our blog – careercrawlers.com – and it’s important to check out the free CNA practice tests that we have available for all of you. As you start to go through all the exams, you’ll notice how they break down into different sections. It’s important to accomplish all of them so you are well prepared.

The formula is very simple.  For example: you can’t become a certified nurse if you don’t pass that exam. You can’t become a doctor if you don’t pass that exam, etc. Therefore, you cannot become a Certified Nursing Assistant, if you don’t pass the CNA Test.  With that being said, do a quick search online and read what others are saying about the importance of studying.

Have Patience

Clinical research is tough, especially your first time around so you’ll make mistakes. It’s important that you learn from those mistakes, by making notes and then studying what you did wrong. However, at the same time it’s important to have patience because you’re not going to be an expert right away.

You’ll notice over time, that you’ll become more comfortable in your own skin as a nursing assistant. You’ll easily be able to perform the duties that you once found incredibly difficult.

Stay Healthy

While conducting my research, staying healthy and eating regularly was something that many of the students had mentioned. I believe that it’s very important, especially if you have a hard time functioning on an empty stomach. It’s important to keep small snacks with you while on the floor, so you have something to munch on when you have a moment. This will keep your stomach full and your mind on point; decreasing the likelihood of mistakes along the way. Also, it has been proven time and again, that when you have food in your system, you can focus, stay motivated and reduce anxiety.

Write Things Down and Practice Afterwards

I know a lot of nurses who keep a notepad in their pocket so they can write down a stump during their clinical research. Then, they’ll find a solution to the problem they are having and afterwards practice at home until they have perfected it. These days, with the growth of mobile phones and awesome productivity apps, you can make a voice note to yourself and go back to it for afterwards.

Always Leverage the Orientation

It’s important to always take advantage of the learning opportunity when you have it. This is a great way to build, ask questions and gain experience. Even the experienced nursing assistants will actively engage in the new employee orientation because it’s a great way to get a refresher.

When your orientation is over and you still have questions, then ask them because that’s why you have been assigned a mentor. You are employed to get the job done correctly so by not asking questions when you have them, will lower your success in the position.

Eye’s Wide Open

Keeping your eyes open during the clinical research and around the floor is very important. You’ll see many of the experienced nursing assistants on the job, and you can learn a lot from them. Watch them in your unit or wherever you are practicing, because you can learn an enormous amount just by observing them in action. Pay attention to the way they handle situations, interact with physicians and handle difficult patients.

Set Your Priorities

It’s important to learn and evaluate the most important tasks, and differentiate those, which you can delegate to someone else. This way, you can spend more time concentrating on the things that make a larger difference in a patient’s life. When you start to focus your energy on tasks that are less important, you’ll spread yourself way too thin. You have the luxury of asking someone who has been a clinical nurse for many years, so they’ll help you troubleshoot any situation you are having.

I have often noticed, that as someone who is a new employee, you’ll have a clearer vision of what is going on and can (tactfully) question the existing processes that may not be working. However, you must prioritize what is happening around you, to figure out a clear vision. You will then be able to learn the process and/or question the flawed process.

Never Give Up

This is something that I apply to my everyday life, and I hope you do the same, because it’s important to stay positive.  By staying positive, you’ll set yourself up for success because you won’t give up when the going gets tough. With that said, when you hit a roadblock and get frustrated, never give up on the situation or think that you have made a wrong career choice.  From my experience, it takes a good 6-8 months to get used to your environment completely. Throughout those months, you’ll start to feel comfortable in your role and improve your skillset as it applies to a specific situation.

Closing Thoughts

Becoming a certified nursing assistant is an impressive career choice, but it does come with its own challenges. Anything to do with the health care profession does require being licensed with the examination process being extremely rigorous. However, with the right amount of training and practice you can conquer almost anything. We provide a great selection of CNA tests, however you will also have to go through the clinical testing afterwards. In order for you to improve your chances of successful completion during this phase, you should follow the Career Crawler tips provided above.

Here’s a quick overview of what was discussed:

  • Build a network of people whom you trust and that you can go to for help. This way, when you run into a problem, you have a solid foundation of knowledgeable people willing to walk you through the entire process.
  • If you don’t know something, then improve your CNA skills by asking a lot of questions. The only way you’ll find a solution is by asking the right questions to the right people. Ask people with experience so you find out the best solution available.
  • Read and study the resources provided, because they have been created to help you succeed.
  • I believe it takes a minimum of 6 months to get used to your environment, so you should have patience. If you start to get anxious then you’ll start to mess up on important things. Have patience while believing that everything will work out fine.
  • Get a lot of sleep and make sure you eat during your breaks. This will help you stay focused on and motivated towards your end goal.
  • If you run into any problems, you should write them down, and then practice and work on them afterwards. Practice makes perfect!
  • Orientations have been put in place to help you improve your skills, and get used to your new environment. You’ll have a mentor so ask a lot of questions if you need to.
  • Deal with most important tasks first because these will affect the outcome, more then the smaller ones. If you focus on smaller tasks, then you will not be focused on what really matters at the end of the day.
  • You have chosen this profession as a nursing assistant, because it resonated with you, so never give up on your dream. If you love what you do, then remember this and use it as motivation going forward.

Tell us what you think by leaving your comments in the box below. 🙂

To get started with your CNA training, view our selection of sample certified nursing examinations.

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