Older teens can work in nursing homes. However, you must be 18 years old (due to liability) to work in a facility. Otherwise, you can ask about the volunteer jobs that are available. Sometimes teens can work as dietary aides (cleaning dishes, etc.). They may also be employed to stock supplies or perform cleaning. Teen volunteers normally have to be at least 15 years old.
If you are keenly interested in working as a certified nursing assistant and eventually as a nurse, then you will enjoy this type of environment. However, again, you need to be at least 18 years old to work in a paid position.
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That is because residents in nursing facilities are provided with professional caregiver services. The use of caregivers is included in the cost of a patient’s care. So, in order to be paid, you generally need to obtain a certified nursing assistant designation or CNA. This type of license will help you assist elderly people who are frail, or have specialized physical or medical conditions or disabilities.
Therefore, nursing home residents need the assistance of a professional who can assist them and knows what to do. If you are not medically trained, you can advertise to be a companion for an elderly person. As mentioned, gaining volunteer experience can help you obtain the necessary training or work, for instance, as a CNA, when you are older.
What the Statistics Reveal
By 2050, the population of older people will double from the 2012 population of about 84 million. Therefore, the need for nursing home employees will also be in great demand. As a result, if you enjoy caring for the elderly, you can make inroads in this field if you are interested in nursing home work.
If you are setting your sights to work as a certified nursing assistant or nurse then, you can prepare now for working in a nursing home. Working in a nursing facility is special as you are considered a collective member of the healthcare team. Because the patients are long-term residents, you get to know them and their conditions during their care.
An Important Member of the Healthcare Team
Whether you work as a certified nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, or registered nurse, you hold an important position in the interdisciplinary team. This team is also comprised of occupational therapists, speech therapy workers, social workers and case management workers.
Working as a nursing assistant enables you to develop a specific skillset – skills that are different than what are used in clinics or hospitals. These kinds of skills permit you to fully concentrate on resident care. Rehabilitation, therapy, and hospice skills differentiate nursing assistants and nurses from caregivers in more traditional settings. Caregivers in nursing facilities also have more involvement in the case management of residents.
Special Communication Skills
In a nursing home, it is important to deliver care with dignity, respect, and compassion. You also must be cognizant of various forms of communication. For instance, if a resident cannot see, hear, or talk, it makes them especially vulnerable. Therefore, you need to develop nonverbal communication skills.
In a nursing facility, caregivers get to know patients better – a bond that develops as the result of long-term care. As a result, one-on-one care is emphasized more in these settings. If you plan to work as a nurse one day then, working in a nursing home also enables you to sharpen any skills in pharmacology. However, your skills are also more concentrated when working as a health care provider. That is because, medically, a nursing home represents a low-intensity environment.
You can initially gain working experience in a nursing home by working as a CNA. CNAs are responsible for basic care services, such as grooming, feeding, and bathing patients. They assist nurses with medical devices, and check a patient’s vital signs.
CNAs provide important emotional and social support, and supply vital information on each patient’s conditions to nurses. You need to possess a high school diploma or GED as well as completion of a six-to-twelve week CNA certificate program. The median salary annually for this type of work is around $25,000 per year.
When you are a CNA in a nursing home, you are on the front lines with respect to patient care and daily operations. Your skills and compassion in the area of patient care lessens the stress of the people who are sick or cannot care for themselves. CNAs are also referred to as nurse’s aides and patient care technicians. They work under the supervision of a nurse practitioner to assist patients with daily living tasks.
Because CNAs work one-on-one with patients, they can develop close bonds with them. No two days, working as a CNA, are exactly alike. The responsibilities that you perform depend on the time of your work shift and the kind of nursing facility.
Good Organizational Skills are Required
As a CNA in a nursing home, you need to be well-organized. That is because you typically manage multiple patients at one time. For example, while breakfast is being served, you may be asked to change bedsheets.
Being a CNA goes beyond providing support to patients. You also need to help the RNs in a nursing facility. Not only will you maintain charts or provide reports for the next shift, you will also be asked to gather needed medical supplies, admit new patients, and prepare patient rooms.
According to surveys and research, about 85 percent of CNAs said they interacted face-to-face with patients and 50 percent noted they spent time walking throughout the day. Because you have regular patient interaction, you need to be cooperative, reliable, and able to cope with stressful situations on a routine basis.
Projections for Growth
CNAs are usually paid on an hourly basis, so you may be able to pick up additional hours. If you want to work in a nursing home as a CNA, the predicted rate of growth for the job is excellent. Employment is projected to increase by 17%. The national average is 7%.
Programs that train CNAs are featured at medical facilities, trade schools and community colleges. Before you enroll in a program then, make sure it is approved by the nursing board in your state. Once you complete the CNA curriculum, you will need to prepare for and take the state exam. Aspiring CNA candidates are expected to answer questions about patient rights, legal and ethical behavior, daily living activities, and working as a member of the health care team.
Sample Test Questions on the CNA Licensure Test
You can find test preparation materials online for the CNA examination. Some of the sample questions include the following:
Classroom instruction for a CNA includes:
CNA-to-RN Bridge Programs
Students also gain hands-on clinical experience. You can take your experience as a CNA and continue your education as a registered nurse. Some schools offer CNA-to-RN bridge programs. These programs allow students to complete schooling in under two years.
To earn a CNA licensure and designation, you need to pass the state competency exam. The exam features a multiple choice section and test-takers are expected to show specific skills in a clinical-type setting. In order to maintain your licensure, you should complete 48 hours of continuing education every two years. Many nursing homes cover the cost of CNA classes for their employees.
To apply as a volunteer in a nursing home, again, you need to be at least 15 years old. You also need to love being around older people. One of the main purposes for volunteers is to engage the residents. Therefore, if you like to play bridge, for instance, you may be asked to establish the card game or take part in the home’s resident activities. If you can steer a wheelchair, too, you may be needed to transport nursing home residents to various areas in the home.
Are you committed to the idea of working as a caregiver? Then, working in a nursing home in a paid position is possible. You will like work in a nursing facility, especially if you are interested in working as a CNA. Some nursing homes even pay for your training. This is a good place to begin if you are currently 18 years old or older.