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Contrary to popular belief, Certified Nursing Assistants, or CNAs, do not only work in nursing homes. A significant percentage do, of course, but these professionals also work in a variety of other healthcare settings. If you're on the fence about becoming a CNA because you don't want to work in a nursing home, educate yourself about the other work environments where CNAs are found. You're sure to be surprised by the vast array of options and by the many opportunities that are presented to those who pursue this line of work.
CNAs are found in a variety of work environments. The most common include:
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Around 42 percent of CNAs work in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and the like. Such facilities have a strong need for skilled CNAs because they typically have dozens of residents requiring various degrees of care. With baby boomers moving into their golden years, demand for CNAs at nursing homes will be even higher in the years to come.
Public and private hospitals rely heavily on CNAs. They handle the day-to-day tasks that RNs are usually too busy to take care of. Like nursing homes, hospitals are open around the clock, which only intensifies the need for skilled CNAs. Hospitals are everywhere too, so it's never difficult for a talented CNA to find work.
Around 4 percent of CNAs work as home health aides. They go directly to patients' homes to help care for them. Oftentimes, they accompany RNs who provide the actual medical care and assist with things like bathing and feeding.
In many areas, facilities are experiencing shortages of skilled CNAs. As a result, many rely on CNAs who work as independent contractors. Also known as traveling CNAs, these professionals travel around an area assisting facilities as needed. One week, they may work at a hospital; the next, they may work at a private doctor's office. The work is especially grueling due to the travel that is involved, but compensation is usually higher.
Adult Day Cares
Around 14 percent of CNAs work in adult day cares, which care for ill, injured, or disabled adults while their regular caregivers are at work. These facilities are not as numerous as assisted living centers, but they provide an important service and rely heavily on CNAs.
Only around 4 percent of CNAs work in government facilities, including prisons. Still, if any exist in your area, this is a worthwhile option to pursue. The pay is usually quite competitive, and government workers enjoy excellent benefits.
Because they are usually fairly small, private practices don't always need CNAs. However, urgent care clinics and some doctors' offices hire these professionals, so it's worth it to take a look if there are any in your area. One advantage of working at a private practice is you are very unlikely to ever need to work the night shift, as such facilities are typically only open during regular business hours, and patients don't stay overnight.
As you can see, CNAs are hired by all kinds of different facilities. Deciding where to apply can be tricky. Keep in mind that you don't have to work at the same type of facility throughout your career. If you try one thing and don't like it, apply somewhere else. Eventually, you'll find the situation that's right for you.