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Monthly Spotlight: CNA


What is it?

CNA stands for “certified nursing assistant,” an entry-level role that provides vital support to both patients and nurses. From transporting, bathing, and feeding hospital patients, to stocking medical supplies and logging patient information, CNAs are on the ground working to enhance patient outcomes. While a CNA is not classified as a nurse, this position is a fantastic entry point for dozens of different nursing careers.-- National University

What do they do?

  • Help patients with bathing and getting dressed
  • Grooming patients via combing hair, brushing teeth, or shaving
  • Helping patients eat and drink
    • Usually while tracking their liquid and food intake
  • Repositioning patients in beds
  • Transferring patients from bed to wheelchair
  • Measuring vital signs
    • Such as heart rate, blood pressure, and recording observations
  • Cleaning and prepping rooms for new patients
  • Collecting and stocking medical supplies
  • Answering phone calls and patient calls
  • Documenting patient's personal and medical information
  • Assisting registered nurses and licensed practical nurses with medical and patient safety procedures
  • Caring for wounds
  • Following patient privacy and applying professional ethics
  • Communicating patients' questions and concerns to nurses

 Information gathered from Indeed and National University.

Classes @ NICC

Learn basic nursing, personal care, and communication skills, and gain an understanding of patient rights with an emphasis on the mental, physical, and social health of geriatric and special populations. Online and classroom learning is supplemented with hands-on lab and off-site clinical experiences. With successful Nurse Aide State testing, graduates of this Career Pathway Certificate program may enter the workforce or transfer course credit into the Practical Nursing program or Associate of Science program.

For more information CLICK HERE to visit the NICC CNA program page.


  • 2023 median pay was about $38,130 to $39,610 per year
    • or $18.33 to $19.04an hour
  • Number of jobs in 2022: about 1,406,800
  • The field is projected to grow by 4% from 2022-2032
    • On average, over the years, there's been about 209,400 openings projected for each year
  • As of May 2023, there are about 19,460-29,800 CNAs in Iowa
    • About 640-1,160 in Dubuque County
    • About 1,170-2,190 in Winneshiek County
    • In 2020 there were about 22,880 CNAs in Iowa
  • Projected job growth for CNAs in Iowa is about 13% from 2020-2030
    • Annually, that's about 3,220 for Iowa
  • 94% of nurses are women
    • 6% men
  • 48% of nurses work in hospitals
    • 19% in offices or clinics
    • 18% in other settings
    • 10% in long-term care
    • 5% in home health

 Information from Iowa Nurses, O*Net OnLine, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Employment and Wage & Nursing Assistants and Orderlies

Fun Facts

  • The history of nursing assistants actually dates back to the time of World War I.
    • The American Red Cross created a program to train individuals to assist nurses during the war.
    • The program was referred to as the Volunteer Nurses’ Aide Service.
  • Congress passed the Omnibus Reconciliation Act in 1987 to ensure that well-trained and skilled individuals were hired to work as nursing assistants in nursing care and other healthcare facilities that are Medicare and Medicaid Certified.
  • One of the states with the highest demand for certified nursing assistants currently is the state of Michigan.
  •  If you are a certified nursing assistant, it can improve your chances of being accepted into a nursing school program. 
    • In fact, some nursing schools require students to hold their nursing assistant certification before they can enter the program.
  • About 3/4 or more of all certified nursing assistants work on a full-time basis.  
  • CNA programs can last from 4 to 8 weeks
  • CNA credentials usually last around 2 years from the date of issuance
    • Requirements vary by state so make sure you are checking their rules
  • You can travel a lot more if you choose to be a traveling CNA
    • Again, look at each state's rules for certifications