What Does it Mean to be “On Call” After CNA Training?

cna trainingCNA Training

So, you’ve finally graduated from CNA training and have begun applying for various positions in your area. One particular hospital was extremely interested in calling you in for an interview, but they did mention something totally unfamiliar to you; they want you to work on call.



The Difference Between On Call and PRN After CNA Training

While many CNAs work per diem or PRN after CNA training, being on call is much different. Per diem is Latin for per day, and PRN means ‘as needed.’ When you are classified as a PRN or per diem CNA, this simply means the hospital or medical facility will call you in when they have a position that needs to be filled. These open positions generally only last for a day or two and are often the result of the regular staff calling in sick or going on vacation. With you waiting by the phone, the medical facility doesn’t have to work short-handed or make an extra effort to find a replacement.

While being on call is similar in some ways, the biggest difference between the two is the pay. When you work PRN after CNA training, you have to wait for the hospital to call you in order to receive a paycheck. When you are on call, the medical facility will often pay you a low, minimum wage to simply be ready anytime they need you; if you are called in during the specific hours you are on call, you are often paid much more for, sometimes double your normal hourly wage.

After CNA Training: Are You Ready to be on Call?

If you are recruited to be an on call nursing assistant after CNA training, there are certain things you need to consider in order to ensure your career is successful. Let’s take a look.

  • Keep Your Cell Phone Handy- Many times, medical facilities will either call you via cell phone or provide you with a pager so they can alert you when you are needed. Make sure you are always nearby the pager or phone so you can accept the alert and get to the facility as quickly as possible after CNA training.
  • Get Some Sleep- When you are on call after CNA training, there may be some days when you sit and watch television all day without any interaction with the medical facility. Don’t take these days for granted. There will be days when you are called in first thing in the morning; make sure you got enough sleep the night before so you are ready to get to work.
  • Don’t Drink- Do NOT ever drink alcohol while you are on call after CNA training. You are being paid for this time, even if it only consists of you watching television for 8 hours. If you were to be called into work, drinking could not only cost you your job, but your life.
  • Always Answer- If the pager goes off or the cell phone rings, always answer. Many times CNAs aren’t called in to help cover entire shifts, especially at hospitals. They are often called in for emergency situations, where the number of patients greatly outnumbers the amount of staff on the floor. After CNA training, consider every call an emergency and report in as quickly as possible.

Are you thinking of taking an on call job at a medical facility? Make sure you understand what this type of position means, what it pays, and how to be successful at it after CNA training.


Leave a Reply