California continues to lead the nation in its effort to put to work the largest number of nursing assistants. In Los Angeles, the annual salary for a certified nursing assistant (CNA) ranges from $44,000 to $64,000, according to current employment trends.
“We care for patients who require different levels of attention, based on their condition,” said Evelyn Aldana, a certified nursing assistant at Kaiser Permanente’s West Los Angeles Medical Center. “My role is to identify the need, ensure that our patients are comfortable at all times and serve as the main contact between a patient and the nurse.”
Aldana said, her challenging position in the medical surgical department is a vital job function.
“In the medical surgical unit, we care for patients who are very ill,” said Aldana, a 20-year veteran. “Sometimes they feel angry, scared, confused or upset by the fact that they are hospitalized. In ensuring that our patients are comfortable and have what they need at all times, our role is critical.”
What is the difference between a good CNA and an admirable one?
“A good nursing assistant must be kind, caring and compassionate and must be able to proactively anticipate patients’ needs. An admirable nursing assistant must be patient above all else.”
What major advancements have you seen since 2010?
“The biggest change has been the growing importance of the electronic medical record. Another improvement has been a rise in equipment designed to assist CNAs with difficult tasks, like lifting patients.”
What do you expect to experience by 2020?
“I’m excited to see how we will offer even more innovative ways for patients to further communicate electronically with their medical team from their beds.”
How does one plan for a CNA vocation?
“The best way to prepare for a job as a CNA is to study. Find a local college or vocational school that offers this type of education. I also encourage others to find volunteer opportunities at local hospitals.”
What is your advice to those interested in becoming a CNA?
“If you are going to pursue this career, make sure you love what you do.”
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.