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The Life of a CNA

Senior Helpers Charleston employs Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) to provide in-home healthcare for elderly patients. But what does this actually mean? What does a CNA do?

First, let’s take a look at where CNAs come from. There are two options to becoming a CNA - a 4 - 12 week certificate program or a 2 - 3 year associates degree program. Each course will teach health and wellness basics like administering medication, administering oxygen, testing blood glucose levels, emergency CPR and removal of catheters. CNAs are also taught information like what health problems a wrinkled bed sheet can cause, how to take a pulse, how to help maneuver a patient in and out of bed. CNAs are also required to be recertified every two years to stay up-to-date on the latest in the healthcare world.

These health care professionals have to not only obtain a lot of knowledge in a short period of time, but also must hold certain personality traits. CNAs must be patient, kind, trustworthy, loyal, compassionate, physically fit, a good listener, a problem solver, and an effective communicator to name a few.

The day in the life of a CNA varies from day to day and patient to patient, they must be ready for literally anything at all times. They can go from a simple companionship role of feeding a patient and listening to stories to helping a patient use the bathroom, to injecting necessary medications or providing emergency CPR to keep a patient alive. CNAs get yelled at, they get scolded, they get urine and feces on their person, they have to clean up after people, they miss out on being with their own families, they work long, grueling days with little more than a thank you, and they generally do this for less than $30,000 per year.

Being a CNA is no easy task - it is a calling, and we are thankful every day for our CNAs here in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Daniel Island, Sullivans Island, the Isle of Palms, James Island, and West Ashley. Without these caring individuals our program wouldn’t run.

So the next time you see your CNA, thank them, offer them a box of cookies, or take them out for a drink. And if you think you have the heart for this profession, Trident Technical College offers CNA certificate programs right here in the Lowcountry.