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Transitioning from a Nurse’s Assistant to an RN.


Nursing Careers

Are you considering the next step in your nursing career? Many people start their nursing careers as a Certified Nurses Assistant (CNA) before taking the next step to becoming an RN.

Transitioning from a CNA to an RN will involve different responsibilities, nurse prerequisite courses, license requirements, and a hefty salary discrepancy. Becoming an RN is an exciting opportunity to grow within your profession in the healthcare field.

Learn what you need to know to make the transition from a Nurse’s Assistant to an RN to begin your successful, rewarding, and thriving career!

Roles and Responsibilities of a CNA vs. RN

CNAs and RNs have different job duties. CNAs are not required to obtain a nursing degree; therefore, the responsibilities will vary between the two positions. As a Nurse’s Assistant, your role will focus more on task oriented patient care, and you will work under the supervision of an RN or LPN.

CNAs often help patients with basic care activities of daily living, including bathing, getting dressed, using the toilet, and eating. Providing intimate, hands-on healthcare is a significant part of the job description. CNAs are often also responsible for taking vital signs like temperature, oxygen levels, and blood pressure and reporting these findings to the RN. You can expect to learn more about your role as a CNA from the nursing program you choose. While RNs may also be responsible for similar tasks, there is a notable difference in day-to-day duties and levels of accountability.

When you become an RN, you can expect to take on additional responsibilities and be accountable for the tasks you delegate to the CNA working with you. RNs work alongside healthcare providers to ensure the best patient care is being delivered while overseeing other members of the nursing staff. RNs spend more time educating patients and their families regarding their healthcare needs, assessing and planning appropriate care based on  the patient’s health history and current health status, interacting with the various members of the healthcare team, implementing the plan of care, and evaluating the outcomes. RN’s can perform routine procedures such as medication administration, insertion of invasive lines, and documenting in the patient’s chart.

One of the biggest shifts you can expect is supervising and training a new Nurses Assistant, LPN, and other new RNs

CNAs and RNs Often Work Together

CNAs and RNs usually work alongside each other in hospitals, medical centers, clinics, nursing homes, or physicians’ offices. Usually, a Registered Nurse will have more flexibility and choice to work in various locations based on experience and specializations. RNs may work in specialty departments, schools, or unique environments like a travel nurse.

Expected Salary Differences

Advancing from a CNA to RN can significantly impact your wages. Salary and income potential are among the most striking differences between a Nurse’s Assistant and an RN.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for a Nurse’s Assistant is $30,850 per year or $14.38 per hour as of May 2020.

Meanwhile, the BLS reports the median salary for a Registered Nurse as of May 2020 is $75,330 per year or $36.22 per hour.

There’s currently a high demand for all types of healthcare occupations. The need for CNAs, LPNs, and RNs is expected to rise by 14% from 2018-2028.

License & Education Requirements

Becoming a Nurse’s Assistant is an excellent first step for somebody interested in a healthcare career but is unsure what path to take. CNA training can be completed relatively quickly by finishing a nurse course. If you need to work to pay for nursing college, can’t commit to a full-time RN school, or are unsure if healthcare is the right field for you, starting as a CNA is a great way to get your feet wet.

Requirements to Become a CNA:

CNAs are not obligated to hold a nursing degree. However, a high school diploma and training from a nursing program are required. Keep in mind CNA credentials differ by state. Learn more about becoming a CNA in your state here.

If you know you want to further your career in nursing, enrolling in an RN program is the best way to jumpstart your career path. Nursing college will give you the tools, resources, and prerequisites you need to enhance your career in the healthcare field.

Requirements to Become an RN:

RNs typically need two to four years of schooling from an accredited nursing school. You can earn an associate degree in nursing (ADN/ASN) in around two years or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in about four years, depending on which BSN program you chose.

All prospective nurses enrolled in RN school must pass the NCLEX exam to work in the profession. The NCLEX-RN exam tests potential applicants on the nursing knowledge gained in nursing school. Some states may grant temporary licenses to nurses waiting for NCLEX results, while others do not. You can learn about the specific licensing requirements for your state here.

Some students opt to pursue a diploma in an LPN program to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN). These programs typically take one year, and students must also take and pass the NCLEX-PN exam. Find an LPN program in your state here.

No matter what your career goals are, it’s important to have all of the information you need to know about moving from a CNA to RN.

Embark on your career goals today!

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