Jill has passed her NCLEX but is six months out and has not yet landed a nursing job. To make ends meet, she accepts a job as a nursing assistant in a rehab facility. Can an RN work as a CNA?
Can an RN work as a CNA: Qualifications
Generally, RNs that are hired as CNAs do not need a CNA certificate as they are presumed to be competent. Likewise, many facilities will hire second semester RN students as CNAs without a certificate. In some states, RNs are not eligible to sit for a CNA exam.
Can an RN work as a CNA: Professional Liability
So while you are eligible to work as a CNA, the problem is that you have higher training. You are held to the standard of the highest nursing credential you hold. So it could be a problem if you are an RN working as a CNA and a patient problem presents.
For example, say that you are in your patient’s room and you observe the patient’s IV site swelling and leaking from a vesicant infusion, or you believe your patient is experiencing a blood transfusion reaction. As a nurse, you would immediately turn the IV pump off in either situation (practicing to the standard of your highest credential). But as a CNA, it is outside of your scope of practice to operate an IV infusion pump, even though you are concerned about the delay while going to find an RN. This poses a problem for you.
Some hospitals do not hire RNs to work as CNAs because of this reason. But many do, because the hospital really does nothing unlawful by hiring an RN to work as a CNA- the liability rests more on the RN who is working as a CNA.
Can an RN Work as a CNA: Short term
Working as a CNA when you are an RN should be short-term if done at all. Your efforts need to be towards getting an RN job as soon as possible, as the longer it takes, the less marketable you become.