What is the Difference Between a CNA and RN?

CNA and RN DifferencesWhat is the difference between a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)? The difference is the responsibilities and experience level. While CNAs are in high demand, RNs are in even higher demand. Depending on the responsibilities that you would like to have, you may fit better in one position than another. Both levels of nursing are rewarding, but they are rewarding in different ways.

What is a Registered Nurse?

A RN is someone who deals directly with the physician. The RN is capable of administering complex medications through an IV, responsible for educating the patient and family members on illnesses, procedures and medications and creating a care plan for the patient. A Registered Nurse will have taken at least 72 hours of college courses pertaining to nursing, received an Associate’s Degree and will have completed state board tests. On top of the basic education and state tests, a Registered Nurse is required to have completed 400 hours of clinical rotations.

What is a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A CNA is someone who deals directly with patients and their everyday needs. The responsibilities may include bathing, restroom assistance, eating, walking and going to scheduled appointments. CNAs are there to help people remain independent in an assisted living environment. CNAs are supervised by Registered Nurses. CNAs are considered unlicensed healthcare professionals. They only have to go to school for two to three months, they only have to complete 48 hours of clinical rotations and they do not have to pass the state exams.

How the Professions are Related

A CAN is a RN’s best friend in the work environment. By delegating tasks to the CNA, the RN is able to worry about more pressing matters. While the CNA is helping care for the patient’s hygiene, the RN is able to ready the prescriptions, implement care plans and even delegate tasks for other patients. The chain of command is important in improving and sustaining a healthy living environment for the patients.

Related Resource: Become a Pediatric Nurse

The Better Profession

There is not necessarily a better profession when it comes to these two programs. If you are more interested in working directly with the patients, being a CNA is very rewarding. CNAs personally handle most patient related duties. If you are more interested in being able to administer medications and discuss plans on better lifestyles, but you do not want a direct relationship with the patient, you would probably fair better as a RN. Either way you decide, both professions are extremely important and rewarding. For more information regarding CNA and RN certifications and responsibilities, Ozarks Community Hospital has a great blog for research.

CNAs and RNs are members of the healthcare community. Without those, patients would lose much of the personal care and treatment that they receive. Both of the professions offer rewarding benefits, but they differ in their duties and responsibilities. Next time that you are wondering what the difference between a RN and a CAN is, you should remember that the difference is in what way the nurse helps care for the patient.