Certified Nursing Aide Salary Advice — by C.N.A.s

Senior caregivers, especially C.N.A.s, have a lot of love for their profession. They have to — the hours are long, the work is tough, and the money...well, we all agree that there are better-paying jobs out there. And while there are few professions that affect so many lives in so many ways, let’s face it, a gal (or guy) has got to eat.

While scouting C.N.A. salaries across the country, our friends at Scrubs Magazine found that the highest paid spots tend to be big cities like NYC, Los Angeles and DC, while smaller cities (especially in the South) offer lower hourly rates. So they posed this question: As a C.N.A., how do you feel about the pay where you live? Do you think the pay would be better if you moved to a different region? What tips do you have for a C.N.A. looking to make some extra money?

C.N.A.s across the country chimed in and have this to say about pay:

Portland, ME:
“I worked at a nursing home right outside Portland, Maine for a few years while living up there and I made $17.50. That was weekend pay but I also was per diem so that bumped me up a few bucks and I was ALWAYS looking for extra shifts that were posted because they were either double time, +$10 or +$6 an hour. C.N.A.s have to be crafty! Always keep your eyes out for how to make THE MOST money because we work very hard and do hard work! Companies will always try to screw you so you have to be on top it!”
-SassyCathy

Burlington, VT:
“I kept on applying for jobs in hospitals and was offered one six months later in Vermont. I worked as a C.N.A./PCT for two years in LTC and at a large hospital in Boston. I have a BSN and a BS in biology. The job market in Mass. is horrible, for both new grads and experienced nurses. Vermont, on the other hand, has a great need for nurses. It’s still competitive to get a job as a new grad, but once your foot is in the door you can move about to any specialty you desire.” -Yllomia

Boston, MA:
“I made around $14/hr as a tech at Tufts. However, working there (or any hospital) in nursing school is no guarantee of a position there as an RN. I graduated last year, and they were unable to give me (or any other graduating techs) anything. Having a C.N.A. position is a leg up, but is by no means a guaranteed in, so please consider that before signing yourself up for a long commute and expensive parking.” -NurseKatie08

New York City, NY:
“Here in Long Island, NY you can make up to $18.75 an hour. That’s what my friend is making at a nursing home. Definitely don’t rule them out.” -*Miss*

Albany, NY:
“In NY, it’s $14-$17 to start. Plus shift differential. Usually 3-11 p.m. is $1.50 extra, and 11-7 a.m. is $2.00 extra. Of course, this is evened out by the cost of living being so high here, but if you have the same benefits in a cheaper living situation, this could make all the difference!”
  -Paws2people

“I’m in NY and started at $15, I’m at almost $16 now. Evenings are 10% diff and overnights are 15% diff. Every little bit!” -peppercat21

“I live in upstate NY. I commute 45 minutes away to a large hospital in Sayre, PA. I was offered 3 positions immediately after graduation. I work on a step-down cardiac floor (yes, it is a specialty). I have 2 bachelor’s, one is a BSN another in psychology. We do hire new grads, they hire I’d say at least 20-30 a year, hospital wide. I’ve almost completed my first year. It has been a whirlwind; school does not teach you half of what the “real world” is going to teach you, it is so completely different! I plan on becoming a Nurse Practitioner.” 
-cardiacrocks

Newark, NJ:
“Mountainside Hospital School of Nursing requires nursing assistant skills before you begin their program. They give the course for the month of July before the program begins in August. You can work across the street at the hospital while you continue on to get your RN. The cost of the nursing assistant course is only $500. It is in Montclair/Glen Ridge. It is not a certification course, but you will still be able to work for the same pay as a C.N.A. The hospital starts you off with almost $13 for the first 3 months, and then you get your eval.” -Hydakins

Philadelphia, PA:
“I live in Southeastern PA. When I first started back in 2004-2005, I was paid $9.72 an hour. The pay was a bit low, but they offered a full benefit package as well as paid vacation/sick time. My last position at an LTC in 2008 I was as a pool/floater and was paid $13 an hour during the week and $14 an hour for weekends. No medical benefits or I would have had to take a $3 pay cut! Pay attention to those sorts of details and decide what’s best for you.”  -asun21ta

Baltimore, MD:
“I am a tech at GBMC. I’m also a junior year nursing student. When I started working there almost 4 years ago the starting pay for techs/nursing students was $10.50 an hour. Now I believe it’s between $11.50 – $12 an hour. I just want to let you know that without patient care experience you can’t expect to start off making a lot of money. When I finished the C.N.A./G.N.A. course I was working in a nursing home making $8 an hour.” -jenawade25

Wilmington, DE:
“Christiana Care is a great place to work. There are endless options as to what you may want to do there. I worked at Wilmington Hospital for 7 years and left for 3 to work for private practice. I went back to Wilmington because I missed the bedside. I’m now a PCC at Christiana. They do own everything and they are lacking in the HR dept. I’ve seen a few horror stories from people who have gotten injured. However, there is some pride in working for the biggest healthcare organization in Delaware. Even the change from Wilmington to Christiana has been huge. I used to say “Wilmington Hospital” and people would say, “Where, St. Francis?” No one had any clue that Wilmington was part of Christiana. I swore I’d never go to Christiana, but I took the chance and I’m there now and I am pretty happy. Things could always be better. One hospital versus another? They all have their good and bad sides.”  -GreenEyedNurse

Washington, D.C.:
“Children’s in DC, Washing Hospital Center, GW all hire CNAs. At Children’s they are called PCTs, Patient Care Technicians. If you are a nursing student and have already had your first clinical there are other types of opportunities in the role of the CNA, one-on-one with a nurse, but still a C.N.A.” -RNNPICU

Providence, RI:
“I JUST got hired at hospital for my first C.N.A. job on a med/surg floor. With no experience, it’s $12.49/hr. It’s 3rd shift though, so I get a $2.50 differential and on weekends I get an extra $1.50. With experience it’s more like $14 and change an hour, plus any differentials. Low, yes, but higher than most nursing homes. I’ve interviewed at places that were barely $10/hr!” -kelsey.kristine

“I work at a hospital in RI and with no experience, I make $12.49 an hour, plus differential. 3rd shift(what I was hired for) is an extra $2.50/hour, weekends are $1.75 and I believe evenings are $1.50. If I work my regularly scheduled hours any 3rd shift I pick up is time 1/2 which is very, very nice! Most nursing homes I interviewed at were under $10/hour. I made more working at a coffee shop!” -kelsey.kristine

When you apply for a C.N.A. or C.H.H.A job through Caregiverlist, your caregiver resume is seen by the top quality Home Care Agencies. It only takes 5 minutes to fill out our application. Senior care companies nationwide hire new Part-time, Full-time and Live-in staff weekly from Caregiverlist.

Caregiver Winners of the Summer Photo Contest Announced

Certified Nursing Aides, CHHAs, professional and family caregivers entered Caregiverlist’s first-ever Summer Photo Contest for Senior Caregivers. We counted the votes were and the winners were announced this morning. The top 3 voted photos submitted of caregivers with the seniors in their care win Amazon gift cards. Runner-ups receive free t-shirts. The contest was conducted on Facebook and ran from Monday, July 8, 2013 until voting closed on August 31, 2013. You can see the results of the voting here.

First prize of a $100 Amazon gift card is awarded to Christi M., whose submission “Clary and I” received 877 votes.

Here's a little bit about her:

I am a 29 year old caregiver in more ways than one. I am a daughter, a wife, a Mom, a Granddaughter, a transporter and a friend of the elderly. During the day my job is to transport the elderly. I am responsible for 6 people at a time. I am responsible for keeping them safe and making sure they arrive to their destination without any trouble. I make sure they trust and know me so they feel safe in my care. I have to admit some days are harder than others since you never know if the patient had their medication or if they are just not in the mood. I always put their needs first and approach everything with a smile. A smile is the best cure and is highly contagious. I transport a gentleman who loves to sing. It is the same song "Take me out to the ballgame" over and over, but it seems to make everyone's day. When I see him sad, I start to sing and he perks right up and starts signing. I believe it reminds him of his childhood.

My day does not end there. I also care for my husband and two children, which is a 24/7 365 days a year job. There is no sick days or vacation days. There is no paychecks or breaks, but I wouldn't give it up for all the money in the world. I also helped take care of my Grandmother, which consisted of changing sheets, cleaning bed pans, sponge baths, dressing, giving medicine, feeding, transporting, long sleepless nights, all while still working. She passed away and if I had it all to do over, I wouldn't change a thing. I would empty a thousand bed pans as long as I knew it was helping someone. To me, being a caregiver is about passion, love, caring, and being selfless. Above all the needs of everyone I care for comes before my own. I remember everyone I have ever cared for and each and everyone of them have touched my heart in one way or another. They have helped mold me into the wonderful caregiver I am today. Caregiving can be both rewarding and challenging at the same time but I wouldn't change it for anything.

Edward Hatfield was a close second with 848 votes for his photo submission, “Our Wedding Day.” Edward will receive a $50 Amazon gift certificate.

Caitlin Villasenor, is the third prize winner of a $25 Amazon gift card. Her untitled photo shows multi-generational caregiving and received 420 votes.

We'll be featuring each of them in upcoming posts.

Senior caregivers provide emotional support and socialization for seniors, enabling many families to continue to support grandparents and parents with quality care in their home. Adult children often do not live in the same city as their aging parents which means caregiving often becomes much more than a job for senior caregivers.

Caregivers perform the essential job functions for their senior clients—from seniors who need 24-hour care to those in nursing facilities. Working as a professional caregiver provides employee benefits along with a fulfilling career. Caregiver Training is crucial to providing professional care. Caregiverlist offers a 10-hour online orientation training course that meets most states' requirements and was created by members of the senior care industry's national association. 

Caregiverlist continues to show the love to caregivers with our Refer-a-Friend program. If you know someone who would make a great caregiver, refer them to Caregiverlist and be entered to win a free t-shirt or $50 gift card.

Caregiverlist congratulates all those who submitted photos of themselves with the seniors in their care.

Should Caregivers Wear Scrubs?

Caregiver scrubs as uniforms are clear indications of professionals on the job. Your elderly client can more easily identify you as a caregiver if you present yourself in a caregiver uniform. We think scrubs are ideal for the senior caregiver because they are comfortable, allow for a range of motion and are easily cleaned. And scrubs are a universal symbol identifying the wearer as a member of the healthcare profession.

CNAs and healthcare professionals are in the business of providing care. A set of stylish scrubs can also provide comfort for your senior client by distracting them from any unpleasantness by giving them something else to focus on.

Caregiverlist has partnered with Scrubs Magazine, the nurse’s guide to good living, to offer a Scrub of the Month as a Grand Prize in our Refer-A-Friend program. If you know someone who has what it takes to be a great caregiver (you know the type — good work ethic, reliable, and above all, empathetic), fill out the form and we'll be happy to set them on a career path that offers the ability to make a huge difference in someone's life.

This month’s scrubs are from Cherokee Uniforms. As you can see, they are smart, chic, comfortable, professional and FUN! They are easy to clean and they let the world know that you are skilled and ready to work. You could win the whole outfit — top, bottoms and shoes, when you refer a friend to Caregiverlist.

What do you think? Do you wear scrubs in your daily work as a senior caregiver? If you don’t, what is stopping you?

Nursing Home Dental Care May Be Lacking Report Shows

Nursing homes care for senior residents who have a wide variety of care needs.  However, the level of staffing of Certified Nursing Aides to the number of senior residents they are caring for directly impacts the quality of care. You can review the C.N.A. to resident staffing levels in Caregiverlist's easy-to-use Nursing Home Star-Ratings directory.

Dental care for nursing home residents can impact their overall health.  This sort of makes sense, because everything needs more attention as we age and our new cells stop regenerating quickly to replace the old cells. And now we have a little research to back this up.

This means a new question to ask nursing homes when you are considering moving a senior into one for rehabilitation, should be:  "how often do you assist residents to brush their teeth?  And, "what do you do if they are resistance to dental care?"

A survey by the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors says seven states have evaluated nursing home residents since 2011.  The findings show that there may be a growing epidemic in cavities, cracked teeth and gum disease in nursing home residents due to a lack of oral hygiene.

The association report gives the example of Kansas state, where nearly 30% of 540 older residents in 20 long-term-care facilities (that means nursing homes), had substantial oral debris on at least 2/3rds of their teeth and that regular oral care had become scarce.  

In Wisconsin, the report shows that about 31% of 1,100 nursing home residents from 24 different homes had teeth broken to the gums with visible roots, while about 35% had substantial oral debris.

Nursing home care includes dental care and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 requires brushing the teeth of nursing home residents who cannot do it themselves.  However, this is easier said than done.  As Certified Nursing Aides, or C.N.A.'s, know, if a senior is resistant to assistance, it can be very difficult to brush their teeth for them.  C.N.A.'s are required by law to be staffed at nursing homes to assist with the daily hands-on care.  

Seniors who have neglected their dental care for years prior to be admitted to a nursing home present an additional challenge.  Medicare does not pay for routine dental care.  Perhaps new technology can assist with finding a better way to assist C.N.A.'s to perform dental care in nursing homes.  The family members of seniors should be aware that they may have to step in to assist if the senior does not want to cooperate with the brushing of teeth and oral hygiene.

As assisting senior can be a challenging job, although always fulfilling, there is an ongoing demand for more Certified Nursing Aides - apply for a companion caregiving job in your area (Part-time and Full-time positions are available) and learn about becoming a C.N.A.

 

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features purple violets that are bright and blooming. Thank you for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the week Violets

"There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes."

William J. Bennett

Dementia (Memory Loss) May Show Early Signs

Memory loss actually may be first noticed by the person with the condition - meaning the person who is losing their memory realizes they are forgetting things and that something has changed even before anyone else does.  But as this is a confusing process, most people find it difficult to identify exactly what is happening.  This is why it usually is not until memory loss has escalated that it truly is identified.  Many seniors have needed senior caregivers for ten or more years as their memory loss has progressed.

The Alzheimer's Association conference in Boston this week presented studies which show that some types of cognitive concerns were more likely to have Alzheimer's pathology in the brain although dementia would only fully develop later.  People with more concerns about memory and organizing ability were more likely to have amyloid, a key Alzheimer's-related protein, in their brains.

As millions of dollars are poured into Alzheimer's research, in order to prepare for caring for what will become 5 million seniors with the disease, it still is not known exactly how the amyloid protein escalates in some individuals and causes the "tangles" that seem to be present when Alzheimer's disease is present.

Dr. Rebecca Amariglio, a neuropsychologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, presented the research which shows there are people who have their own sense that their memory and thinking skills are slipping.  This is being called the "subjective cognitive decline".

Mayo Clinic's Alzheimer's center presented a similar preliminary study result.  However, the problem remains that even early testing for amyloid in the brain does not necessarily help as we still do not know exactly who will have this condition escalate into Alzheimer's disease and why.

Perhaps as technology advances, all the research along with the caregiving for seniors with memory loss can collide to help move us closer to identifying a cure for this disease.  The federal government's National Alzheimer's Project is a step in this direction.

 

 

Senior Caregiver Training

Senior caregivers assist seniors to remain independent in their own homes and sometimes also assist seniors living in assisted living communities and nursing homes.  This is because often nursing homes staff 1 Certified Nursing Aide to care for as many as 10 to 15 residents. Because of this, most seniors prefer to have one-to-one caregiving services in their own home while needing rehabilitation care or on-going senior care services.

Senior care services cannot always be administered quickly - senior caregiving, as experienced caregivers know, requires all the extra attention to detail you receive when enjoying a meal at a fine dining restaurant.  It cannot be done in fast-food style. Senior care also requires a wide variety of skills in order to understand how to cope with the aging process and promote dignity while providing caregiving services.

Caregiver training enables senior caregivers to provide quality care to seniors while maintaining a safe environment for themselves and for the senior.  By following consistent systems for the care routine, each caregiver can know what to expect and also quickly document when a care condition changes.

Certified Caregiver training verifies a caregiver has been taught the basic caregiver training skills.

Understanding how to take proper Care Plan notes, how to make objective observations and how to safely assist with bathing, meals, maintaining a clean and safe environment and making sure germs and infections are not spread.  Even tasks such as hand-washing, which is the #1 way to stop infections, must be done correctly.  

Caregivers can learn the basic senior caregiver training skills (which includes how to safely wash your hands - did you know properly drying your hands is very important, for instance?), and be confident they will deliver quality care with an online training course meeting industry standards.

Begin a career in senior care by purchasing an online certified training course and apply for a part-time or full-time caregiving job position to receive additional job training by a professional senior care company. Review the caregiver training requirements in your state as many states now do require basic training for professional senior caregivers and purchase the industry's approved certified caregiver training.

Senior Caregivers Win $$ -- Contest Extended

Senior caregivers are unsung heroes. Professional caregivers allow the elderly to age in place longer, they make life in assisted living and nursing homes possible, and they provide the support and attention that's vital to a growing older population.

Caregiverlist wants to "show the love" to the professional senior caregiver. That's why we've decided to extend our summer photo contest to honor professional caregivers. Caregivers, Certified Nursing Aides, and Certified Home Health Aides may submit a photo of themselves with a senior client to the Caregiverlist Summer Photo Contest for Senior Caregivers.

Submit a photo of you and your senior client. Show us the special bond that makes caregiving so much more than just a job. Then invite friends and family to vote for you and your senior. Contest winners will be chosen based on popularity via voting. Caregiverlist will award $100, $50 and $25 Amazon gift cards to the top 3 voted pictures and free t-shirts to the runners-up The contest runs through Monday, August 31, 2013. Winners will be announced shortly thereafter. Our Caregiverlist Facebook page hosts the contest.

Caregivers may submit their photo on Facebook and vote for caregiver and senior photo submissions here.

You can vote for your favorite caregiver and senior photo here.

Good luck!


Julie and the Grandmas.

Caregivers also may always submit a job application on Caregiverlist to be considered for part-time, full-time and live-in caregiving jobs and find online caregiver training.

Senior Care in Summer: Hydration

Seniors can easily fall victim to dehydration when their bodies don’t get the fluids they need. It is one of the top ten causes of hospitalization among the elderly and one of the most easily preventable. Now that the heat of summer is finally upon us, it’s important to realize just how vital the intake of pure water is on the health and well-being of those over 65 years of age.

As people age, their ability to detect thirst lessens. Therefore, if liquids are only taken when a person feels thirsty, they might not be getting the amount of water they need. And things only get worse in advanced age.

The European Hydration Institute reports that people aged between 85-99 years are 6 times more likely to be hospitalized for dehydration than those aged 65-69 years.

High-risk seniors tend to be those who live on their own in the community. As such, they rely on their caregivers to recognize the symptoms of dehydration and take appropriate steps to combat it.

Signs of dehydration are:

  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Low or no urine output; concentrated urine appears dark yellow
  • Lack of tear drops
  • Sunken eyes
  • Lack of skin elasticity
  • Lethargy


Here are some tips from the EHI to help keep elderly people well-hydrated:

  • Fluids should be taken at mealtime and in between meals. Fluids should be readily available and physically accessible both day and night.
  • Caregivers should be familiar with dietary changes so that appropriate hydration recommendations can be made.
  • Alcoholic beverages may provoke dehydration and are not recommended.
  • Many types of foods contain a substantial amount of water. If an older person finds it difficult to increase the amount of fluid drunk, increasing the intake of foods, such as soups or fruit and vegetables, which typically contain 80-90 percent water, can help to maintain an adequate water intake as well as being good sources of essential nutrients.
  • Varying flavors and even colors can improve palatability of beverages offered and can help facilitate adequate hydration.


Caregivers should also keep in mind that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and is essential to healthy aging.  During the dog days of summer, watermelon, popsicles and ices are also delicious means of keeping your senior well-hydrated and out of the hospital.

Senior caregivers can gain additional crucial caregiving skills by taking a 10-hour online Caregiver Certification training course.

 

Illinois CPR Classes: Certify with Windy City CPR

Emergency situations require first instinct action. Almost 383,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur every year and 88% of those occur in the home, according to the American Heart Association. How prepared will you be in this situation when it can happen be your mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, or the senior you care for?

Senior caregivers in Illinois—Indiana and Kentucky, too—can sign up for CPR classes through Windy City CPR to be prepared for life threatening situations. Classes can be taught at your location or at Windy City CPR.  Read more on this Chicago training center.  

BLS for Healthcare Providers (Basic Life Support)

$50.00 per person.

4 hour class.

Objective:

    • CPR for the Adult, Child and Infant
    • Choking for the Adult, Child and Infant
    • Use of the Automatic Eternal Defibrillator (AED)
    • Use of the Bag-Valve-Mask (BVM)
    • Differences between 1 and 2 rescuer CPR
    • Infant portion is optional

 Heartsaver CPR/AED  

$45.00 per person.

2.5 hour class. 

Objective:

    • CPR for the Adult, Child and Infant
    • Choking for the Adult, Child and Infant
    • Use of the Automatic External Defibrillator (AED)
    • The Infant portion is optional.

Heartsaver First Aid & CPR/AED

$85.00 per person.

4.5-5 hour class.

Objective:

    • CPR for the Adult, Child and Infant
    • Choking for the Adult, Child and Infant
    • Use of the Automatic External Defibrillator (AED)
    • The Infant portion is optional.
    • First Aid Objectives: Epi-pen training, bandaging, bleeding, wound, choking, shock, seizure, fainting, burns, bites, stings, poison, temperature related conditions and more.

American Heart Association Heartsaver First Aid (No CPR)

$45.00 Per person.

2.5 hour class but may vary depending on participants.

First Aid Objectives: Epi-pen training, bandaging, bleeding, wound, choking, shock, seizure, fainting, burns, bites, stings, poison, temperature related conditions and more.

American Heart Association Bloodborne Pathogens

$40.00 per person

AHA’s course uses the PACT acronym (Protect, Act, Clean, Tell) and slogan, “Make a PACT, Know How to Act,” to help students learn and easily recall bloodborne pathogens training.  

    • Protect themselves from exposure to bloodborne pathogens 
    • Act when exposed to blood or blood-containing materials in the workplace
    • Clean themselves and the area when exposed to blood or blood-containing materials in the workplace 
    • Tell or report any exposure to blood or blood-containing materials in the workplace

The caregiving job description may be limited on paper. But, when life calls for your immediate attention, will you be prepared?

Caregiver training and certification may be purchased through Caregiverlist.comThe 10-hour online course meets orientation training requirements for most states and was created by members of the senior care industry's national association.

Log in