What is a C.N.A.? What is a P.C.A.?

            A C.N.A. is a Certified Nurse Aide. The individual with these initials after their name has completed a program that is more than 120 hours in length and which in this State is approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing. Certified Nurse Aides are required to have 12 hours of continuing education each year in Virginia, and have had a background check, a drug screen and a test to check for T.B. (P.P.D.) during their training. The nurse aide certification examination which is conducted by the Virginia Board of Nursing requires each candidate to pass a written exam and a skills exam to prove proficiency in 22 skills. These include skills such as taking pulse, respiration and blood pressure, and feeding, bathing and transferring a patient from the bed to the wheelchair.

Certified Nurse Aides are able to work in a wide varieties of areas such as homes, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, assisted living facilities, schools, nursing homes, senior centers, clinics and doctor’s office, to name a few.

In Virginia, as in many other states, there is a great need for C.N.A.s and it is anticipated that this need will continue for the foreseeable future.

A Personal Care Aide receives 40 hours of training that is very basic and includes only 12-15 nursing skills. A P.C.A. provides assistance to individuals who are basically healthy but need a little assistance in performing activities of daily living. P.C.As work in the home, in assisted living facilities and independent living facilities.