Among nursing, two popular choices are becoming a registered nurse (RN) or a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Because these are two common choices, people are often curious about the difference between CNA and RN. In this article, we will explore that topic in detail.
Nursing is one of the most impactful fields in healthcare. Many people wish to pursue this career, but they don’t know how to start or determine what type of nurse they want to be. In nursing, every profession has different requirements and levels of education. If you’re going to pursue that career, you have to know how to get there.
- What Is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)?
- How to Become a CNA?
- What Is a Registered Nurse (RN)?
- What’s the Difference Between CNA and RN Video:
- Find Your Path Forward into Healthcare
- More Resources:
What Is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)?
A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a health care professional responsible for providing primary care and daily assistance to patients under the supervision of a registered nurse or other health care professional. CNAs are often the first members of the healthcare team to interact with patients and, as such, play an essential role in inpatient care.
Certified nursing assistants are typically required to complete a state-approved training program, which can last several weeks to a year. After completing the program, candidates must pass a certification exam to become certified.
Daily Activities of CNA May Include the Following:
- Assisting patients with bathing and dressing.
- Serving meals and recording nutritional intake.
- Provide care for patients.
- Positioning patients in bed.
- Emptying and providing bedpans.
- Helping patients to move from wheelchairs to beds and other locations.
- Removing sheets from beds.
- Keeping the patient’s room clean.
- Taking vital signs.
- Recording patient information.
- Working collaboratively with other healthcare professionals.
- Communicating the individual’s condition to the patient and their family.
- Wound care of patients.
- Performing basic medical procedures. Although the CNAs cannot prescribe medication, nor do they have the authority to make critical decisions on their own, they provide an essential link in the overall care of patients.
What Qualities Should a CNA Possess?
The nursing assistants are the backbone of nursing because they work with patients directly. Because of this, CNAs need to have certain qualities to be successful in the role. These include:
Working various shifts, including weekends and holidays, is vital for CNAs. They may also be asked to work overtime on short notice.
Communicating at an Advanced Level
Communication skills are critical in almost every profession, but they are significant for CNAs. They need to communicate effectively with patients, their families, and other members of the healthcare team.
When it comes to the time, CNAs need to manage it well. They often have many tasks to complete in a short period.
The compassion that CNAs have for their patients is one of the most important qualities they can possess. Patients need to feel that they are in a safe and comforting environment, and CNAs play a prominent role in creating that atmosphere.
The reliability of a CNA is another vital quality. Patients need to rely on them to show up for their shifts and complete their tasks.
Physical strength is crucial for nurses because they usually work with patients and move them from one place to another.
Sometimes, patients need someone to listen and empathize with them. CNAs should be able to do this in a way that does not cross the line into becoming personal friends with the patients.
Salaries of CANs
According to payscale, the average hourly fee of a CNA nurse is $13.67 to $25, which means every year, they make from $23,752 to $43,680.
- An entry-level Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) with less than one year of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $12.52 based on 1,867 salaries.
- An early career Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $12.98 based on 13,680 salaries.
- A mid-career Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $13.62 based on 9,459 salaries.
- An experienced Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) with 10-19 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $14.22 based on 12,902 salaries.
- In their late career (20 years and higher), employees earn an average total compensation of $15.
How to Become a CNA?
One of the advantages of this career option is that you don’t need a college education to apply for a nursing assistant training program. The only requirements for most states are that you are at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and pass a few screenings.
With that, you can attend a CNA program at a local community college, vocational school, or healthcare facility. The typical program lasts from six to twelve weeks and culminates in a certification exam.
After completing your training and passing the exam, you will be able to work in most nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and home health agencies. As the population continues to age, the demand for certified nurse assistants will only increase.
In short, the education requirements to become a CNA will include:
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- CPR, first aid, and AED certification.
- Infection control.
- Communication and teamwork.
- Patients’ rights.
- Delivery of personal care.
- Workplace safety.
- Vital signs recording.
- Range of motion exercises with patients.
What Is a Registered Nurse (RN)?
A registered nurse (RN) is a licensed health care professional who has completed an accredited nursing program and is qualified to work independently in providing direct patient care. RNs typically have more education and clinical experience than CNAs and are therefore better equipped to handle more complex patient needs.
The registered nurses are usually the ones who take care of the patients. They are responsible for making critical decisions when it comes to patients’ health and they also monitor the patient’s condition and report any changes to the doctors. RNs can also prescribe medication, which is why many people see this as a more advanced position. Let’s see the daily tasks of nurses.
Day Activities of RNs May Include the Following:
- Assessing patient conditions.
- Administering patient medications and treatments.
- Observing and recording patients’ responses and results.
- Helping perform diagnostic tests.
- Helping analyze test results like blood sugar.
- Creating patient care plans.
- Provide Education to patients about their conditions. Because patient education is very important.
- Monitoring patient progress and creating care plans.
- Collaborating with other health care professionals to develop the best course of treatment for each patient.
- RNs may also have additional duties depending on their place of employment.
Career Path for RN
Once you earn your RN certification, you can focus on or advance your nursing career by choosing a specialization. There is a variety of specialties, and here are some examples:
- Psychiatric Nurse
- Ambulatory Care Nurse
- Geriatric Nurse
- Hospice Nurse
- Pulmonary Care Nurse
- Infection Control Nurse
- Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse
- Emergency or Critical Care Nurse
- HIV or AIDS nurse
With that, you can also build on your experience and education by earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing. This will allow you to take on more advanced roles and responsibilities within the nursing field.
Average Salaries of RN
The average registered nurse earns $30 per hour, which means an annual salary of $60,000. The top earners make more than $100,000 per year.
An entry-level Registered Nurse (RN) with less than one year of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $27.60 based on 6,298 salaries.
An early career Registered Nurse (RN) with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $29.16 based on 21,655 salaries.
A mid-career Registered Nurse (RN) with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $31.89 based on 12,074 salaries.
An experienced Registered Nurse (RN) with 10-19 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $34.57 based on 11,577 salaries.
In their late career (20 years and higher), employees earn an average total compensation of $36.
The registered nurses are usually the ones who take care of the patients. They are responsible for making critical decisions regarding patients’ health, and they also monitor the patient’s condition and report any changes to the doctors. RNs can also prescribe medication, so many people see this as a more advanced position.
What’s the Difference Between CNA and RN Video:,center>
Find Your Path Forward into Healthcare
No matter your experience level, there’s a nursing career path that’s right for you. With the proper education and certification, you could become a registered nurse and take on even more responsibility for caring for patients. Explore your options today and find the program that’s right for you. Now you know the difference between a CNA and RN.
As you can see, the roles are vastly different, with a CNA typically providing primary care while an RN is responsible for more complex patient needs. If you’re interested in becoming a nurse, there are plenty of paths forward to consider.
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