Are you considering pursuing a career as a State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA)?

You’re making a sound career decision. Generally speaking, there couldn’t be a better time to pursue a career in nursing than now. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of health professionals will grow 13 percent through 2028, much faster than the average growth for all occupations in the U.S.

So, in terms of job prospects, rest assured of getting hired as soon as you obtain the necessary qualifications.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, what is an STNA and how do you establish whether this is the right career path for you?

Keep reading for deeper insight.

What Is an STNA?

An STNA is a nursing professional who works under the direction and supervision of registered nurses (RN), physicians, and other senior healthcare professionals.

Although the specific job duties of an STNA can vary from employer to employer, they typically perform the following tasks:

  • Providing personal support to patients, including bathing them, changing their clothes, and assisting with their bathroom needs
  • Preparing patients for various medical examinations and treatment procedures
  • Ensuring patients take their medicines as prescribed
  • Measuring and recording a patient’s vital signs, including temperature and blood pressure
  • Cleaning and dressing wounds and performing other minor procedures
  • Setting up and monitoring medical equipment used in the treatment of patients
  • Monitoring the stability and wellbeing of patients.

How to Become an STNA

Now that you know the typical duties and responsibilities of an STNA, what does it take to get this job?

First things first, it’s essential to note that STNAs rank lower than RNs. As such, the educational requirements for becoming an STNA aren’t as high as that of RNs. As such, you don’t have to worry about pursuing a nursing degree in college.

In most states, aspiring STNAs need to have a high school diploma or its equivalent. You should then pursue a state-administered nursing aid course and pass the examination.

Bear in mind that exam requirements vary from state to state. If you’re in Ohio, for instance, these are your exam requirements.

After passing the examination, your state will issue you with a license or certification. Without either of these, you won’t be able to secure employment.

Where Do STNAs Work?

Qualified and licensed can find employment in public and private hospitals, nursing homes, physician offices, assisted living facilities, organizations that provide in-home care services, and hospices.

What’s the Salary of an STNA?

How much does an STNA take home?

Salaries vary depending on the state, employer, and level of experience, but according to Payscale, an occupational resources website, the annual salary ranges from $20,000 to $31,000.

How to Know Being an STNA Is the Right Career Move for You

So, then, how do you determine whether this is the right career to pursue?

Here’s a couple of factors to look at:

You Have the Occupational Skills Required to Become a Competent STNA

Pursuing a nursing aid program is a good place to start when you want to become an STNA, but it’s not all you need to be a competent professional. You also need to have a good mastery of the relevant occupational skills and abilities.

For instance, you need good manual dexterity. Since the job involves handling treatment machines and other medical equipment, you need the ability to make coordinated hand and finger movements to grasp and operate them.

Physical aptitude is also important. If you’re the kind of person who loves sitting, this isn’t the right job for you. STNAs spend most of their time on their feet helping patients or simply standing as they wait to assist physicians and RNs.

Are you an empathetic person? If yes, you won’t struggle to understand and share the feelings of your patients, some who might be in extreme pain and worried about their health.

To be a well-rounded STNA, you need to be a good communicator. The job involves communicating with patients, some of whom might not be good at it. With good listening skills, you will be able to give them the attention they need to pass their message.

You’ll also be dealing with patients’ loved ones. You need good communication skills to clearly and coherently explain to them the progress of their patients.

You Want to Become a Registered Nurse

If your dream is to become an RN but aren’t able to pursue the career right now – perhaps you lack the money to pursue a BSc in Nursing – you can start out an STNA. This career will give you the opportunity to break into the nursing profession and possibly raise the funds you need to pursue a degree in nursing.

What’s more, practicing STNAs who want to become RNs might be able to get some credit transfers in college, meaning you’ll achieve your dream much sooner.

You’re Passionate About Helping Other People

Healthcare professions, especially nursing, aren’t for everyone. People who aren’t patient or don’t have a natural affection for helping other people won’t excel as nurses.

So, if you’re deeply passionate about helping other people, this could be the perfect career for you.

You Don’t Want to Pursue an Education-Intensive Career

Most healthcare professions are education-intensive.

To become an RN, for instance, you must spend at least four years in college and meet state licensing requirements. To become a physician, you must complete at least eight years of professional education. Plus, you need to have the book smarts; otherwise, you’ll fail your exams.

If you want to work in healthcare but at the same time don’t want an education-intensive medical career, why not become an STNA? Most nursing aid programs take about one year to complete.

Becoming an STNA Is a Good Career Move

To this end, you now have the answer to the question: What is an STNA? From an STNA’s job duties to education requirements and salary scale, you have a clear picture of this profession. You also have the information you need to decide whether this is the right career for you.

Need more career advice? Keep reading our blog.

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