A Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, goes by several names in Canada. You may be referred to as a support worker, resident care worker, nursing assistant or a healthcare aide. A Canadian CNA is also known as a UHW, or unregulated healthcare worker. Things can get confusing because the initials of CNA also stand for the Canadian Nursing Association. That’s the reason for other names like PSW or UHW being used instead of CNA for a Certified Nursing Assistant.
CNAs work in all sorts of medical facilities as long as they’re supervised by certified nurses. The biggest difference between a nursing assistant and a CNA is that a CNA isn’t nationally regulated. Even though this isn’t a nationally regulated profession, there are, however, provincial requirements put into effect by different Canadian provinces. A UHW having successfully completed a college course is preferable for hiring to most people.
You can take short courses at many colleges and universities throughout Canada that will prepare you for a career as a UWH. Whether it’s a regulated program or not, if you complete one of these programs, your chances to be hired increase. They’re called by various names; depending on the region they’re located. They usually last 3 to 12 months and must give training in communication, personal care and body mechanics.
Some provinces require personal support workers, or PSWs, to pass a provincial exam before they’re awarded their certification. They also must finish an educational course. Both PSW graduates and PSWS that began working in their fields before the certification requirement was established are eligible to take this exam. Working PSWs aren’t required to upgrade their certification.
English and French are both national languages in Canada and CNAs must be fluent in at least one of them because it would be impossible to work at any hospital or healthcare facility otherwise. If you speak both languages fluently and want to work in Ontario, Manitoba, or Quebec, you’ll have an edge to being hired. The reason being is the majority of French speaking residents live in those areas.
To start on your way to being a Canadian CNA, choose your work location and get trained there. Next, do your required training and successfully pass the exam so that you can start applying for work. Don’t forget that the language requirement can actually get your hired more quickly.