Are you looking for a great way to broaden your employment opportunities as a certified nurse aide? One of the best ways to accomplish this is to earn specialty certifications, and one of the most promising specialty areas for CNAs today is hospice care. With our elderly population increasing at a rapid rate, there is a huge need for hospice CNAs all across the country.
But just how do you begin a CNA career specializing in hospice care? Are the requirements similar to those required of traditional CNA careers? Do you need to undergo additional training or earn any special certifications? We can answer all of these questions for you so that you can begin your new career right away!
Basic CNA Training Requirements
First of all, to begin any CNA career, you will need to complete a training program that has been approved for certification in your state. This is true for all states in the United States. Your training will include a combination of classroom or online lectures, laboratories and practical skills training sessions that you will perform in a medical setting.
In most cases, nurse aide programs last only about four to eight weeks. The exact length of your program will depend on your school of choice, your state's certification requirements and your enrollment status. At the end of your program, you will earn a certificate of completion in nurse aide skills. Common areas of study included in most CNA programs can be found below.
- Taking and Recording Vital Signs
- Feeding, Bathing and Other Personal Care for Patients
- CPR Certification
- Basic First Aide
- Patients' Rights and CNA Code of Ethics
- Human Anatomy and Nutrition
- Medical Terminology and Administering Medication
Special Coursework for Hospice Care
If your goal is to obtain employment as a CNA in a hospice or palliative care facility, it will definitely be to your benefit to complete special coursework related to hospice care. By completing one or more of the courses listed below, you can significantly increase your chances of obtaining the employment you desire.
- Basic Hospice and Palliative Care
- End of Life Care
- Psychology of Death and Dying
- Caring for the Geriatric Patient
- Caring for Terminally Ill Patients
The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association
The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association is an organization that was created to raise awareness of the importance of hospice care for elderly and terminally ill patients today. The HPNA offers special certification to CNAs and nurses who wish to specialize in the field of hospice and palliative care.
While only a few states require this certification for hospice CNAs, even if your state does not require it, HPNA certification can greatly improve your chances of better-paying employment. To earn HPNA certification, you will need to work as a CNA in a hospice care setting for a certain amount of time.
You will also need to complete an HPNA certification exam. There is a small fee for this test, and there are testing sites located all across the country. Although you do not need to be a member of the HPNA to complete the HPNA exam, membership can help to make your resume much more attractive.
To become a hospice CNA, you will need to complete various courses in hospice care, join the HPNA and earn hospice certification by completing the HPNA exam.