In a couple of my latest posts, I mentioned that I signed up for a nurse aide course. Today, I want to share why I decided to do so and what my plans are upon completion. I also want to note that once I complete the program, I will be a nurse aide. But, I won’t be a CNA until I sit for the certification exam.
What is a nurse aide?
A nurse aide assists patients with basic activities of daily life (bathing and dressing). Their duties are assigned by a supervising nurse (RN/LPN). To become a nurse aide, you must have a high school diploma or GED. In addition to this, you must successfully complete a nurse aide/nursing assistant program. These programs are offered at community colleges, vocational schools, or medical facilities. It’s important to make sure that the program you’re interested in is accredited by your state’s nursing board. To become certified, pass the CNA board exam which consists of 2 parts– a multiple-choice portion and a skills portion.
Why I’m becoming a nurse aide/CNA
After receiving my first MCAT score, I decided that I would take some time to strengthen other parts of my medical school application before studying for the test again. This wasn’t an easy decision because I had my heart set on enrolling in a post-baccalaureate program in the Fall. I knew that my score would limit my options so I decided to hold off for now.
Aside from shadowing and volunteering at a free clinic, I don’t have much hands-on healthcare experience. Many hands-on healthcare jobs require you to have some kind of certification which led me to look into nurse aide courses. Most of them are 6 to 8-weeks long and cost about $1000. I’ve been fortunate to find a program that offers payment plans so the tuition has been manageable. My instructor also has partnerships with some of the most reputable assisted living facilities and hospitals in the area so I’m in good hands.
How COVID-19 has affected the program
I have about 2 more weeks left of the lecture portion of the program. I’m not sure when we’ll be able to complete clinicals as the facilities we use are closed to students due to COVID-19. My instructor is allowing students to come in for skills lab. It’s only two days in total and it’s limited to 3 students at a time. I won’t be able to sit for the board exam until I complete the clinical portion. This means I probably won’t be able to work as a nurse aide for a while.
In the meantime, it looks like I will be returning to my job at the gym soon. I will say, I don’t imagine these facilities being open much longer as cases continue to spike. When I am able to complete the board exam, I hope to land a hospital job. From what I hear, they’re more fact-paced than the nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. I also think the environment will be motivating for me as I begin MCAT studying for the second time.
What I’m hoping to get out of being a CNA
After watching Lenox Hill on Netflix, I thought about what kind of doctor I wanted to be for my patients. I also thought about what kind of doctor I want to be on a team of nurses and other healthcare professionals. Ultimately, I want to be known for my empathy and ability to be a team player, and becoming a CNA seems to be the perfect way to hone these skills.