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Continuing education nursing

Guide to Continuing CNA Education

If you live in California, you are likely familiar with Regional Occupational Program (ROP) courses. In California, you can take adult education courses to help you start a new career, expand your skillset in your current career, or simply learn something new. Regardless of your reason, ROP courses can help you achieve your goals.

In the state of California, the state legislature found it beneficial to offer continuing education courses to its citizens in order to positively impact the economy and company (and job) growth within the state. As a resident, you will be able to find low cost (or no cost) courses that will help you provide a healthy contribution to the community within which you work and live.

In this article, you will learn more about Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN) continuing education courses available in various counties and districts in California. You will learn about becoming an emergency medical responder, an emergency medical technician, becoming a nurse, and sports medicine.

Emergency Medical Responder

Being an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) is a highly rewarding career choice. You are essentially a part of an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) team to help those in need of immediate medical attention. Some useful careers that stem from being an EMR include (but, are not limited to):

  • Lifeguard
  • Fire Service
  • Ski Patrol
  • Sports Medicine

In your Emergency Medical Responder ROP course, you will learn emergency medical assistance techniques that will be used to save lives. Some include: assessing a patient, lifting or moving a patient, establish an airway, childbirth, CPR, and rapid problem solving skills. You will also learn about the human body and anatomy in depth as well as how to work within a EMS operation.

You will also be given the opportunity to participate in an unpaid internship to both help you get your feet wet in the field, but also to help you establish a connection that will jumpstart your career in Emergency Medical Services. Within your internship, you will be able to experience firsthand to peaks and valleys of choosing an emergency medical service career path, specifically, how rewarding it can be to make a difference in a person’s life. Also within your internship, you will be able to apply what you have learned directly, relying on your ability to act fast and deliberately to solve a medical emergency.

Within your ROP course, you will also learn often underleveraged emergency medical service skills:

  • Acting ethically
  • Acting within legal parameters
  • Acting responsibly
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication skills
  • Working within a group dynamic
  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking and creativity

Ultimately, within your Emergency Medical Responder ROP course, you will learn all the tools you need to know to succeed in your chosen career.

Emergency Medical Technician

As an EMT, you will likely be on-scene for emergency medical situations, whether as an ambulance attendant or a technician in the emergency room. As a first responder, you will be making an incredible impact on the lives of those that live and work within your community. As part of an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team, you will become versed in:

  • Evaluating a patient or patients
  • CPR
  • Treating shock
  • Treating hemorrhage
  • Treating major wounds
  • Emergency childbirth
  • Treating head or spinal injuries
  • Handling hazardous materials
  • Rescuing multiple victims
  • Handling pediatric (child) emergencies
  • Properly moving injured parties

Ultimately, you will be the first line of defense in a medical emergency, including but not limited to: car accidents, violent trauma, childbirth, heart attacks, and general accidents. You will either be called on-scene as an ambulance attendant or treating the patient immediately upon their arrival. As an EMT, you can expect to be a crucial difference in many lives – whether treating trauma, cardiac arrest, lacerations, or helping bring new life into the world!

As part of your Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) ROP course, you will also have a 24-hour ambulance ride-a-long and observing a bustling Emergency Room. In this shadowing, you are going to learn some of the most important parts of the becoming an EMT. You will find out that there are peaks and valleys within this career path as not every medical emergency can be solved on scene and not every patient can be saved despite effort. You will learn the emotional impact that your patients will have on your life and whether it is something you can personally handle in the career of an Emergency Medical Technician.


As a nurse, your day-to-day will never be the same. In some cases, you will be part of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team, and other days you may be taking blood pressure for a hypochondriac that thinks they have the flu because they sneezed twice in one day.  Though, no person nor doctor can question how imperative nurses are in running a hospital or practice efficiently. The education and skills you will obtain in a Nursing ROP course in California will help you become un-expendable as a nurse in your community.

In your Nursing ROP course, you will learn:

  • Properly taking weight, height, blood pressure, and other vitals
  • Proper application of emergency procedures
  • Long-term patient care
  • Rehabilitation care
  • Observing and preparing/updating patient charts
  • Infection prevention and control
  • Recognizing psychosocial needs
  • Coping with patient dying/death

With these skills, you will be able to become a nurse in an emergency room, a rehabilitation facility, a hospice, long-term care facilities, nursing homes and more. By learning problem solving, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, communication skills, and working within a group dynamic as a part of this ROP course, you will become a highly valued member of any medical team.

As part of the Nursing ROP course, you will also qualify for an internship within a hospital or nursing home. You will be able to directly experience the ups and downs this career path offers. While as a nurse you will be making positive contributions to patients and their families, you will also be faced with unforeseen circumstances that cause the patient’s loss of life. It will be difficult to not feel responsible or like you could have done more, especially at first. Seasoned nurses may tell you that it gets easier over time, while others feel that the sting of a loss never gets easy. Either way, it is important to remember that you are making a positive impact within your community.

Sports Medicine

In Sports Medicine, you will learn a variety of skills that will be applied in the sports field of medicine. You will work with athletes in both prevention and treatment of sports injuries. You will help athletes in their need of protective equipment, nutrition plan, the psychological aspect of competition, as well as conditioning and training. You will be combining the basic skills of nursing (taking vitals, assessing vitals, and nutrition) with the immediate application skills of an emergency medical responder or technician (temporary/immediate care, emergency care, and treating injuries).

In Sports Medicine, you are going to learn three main types of athlete care: preventive, immediate/injury, recovery. It will be important in all three aspects to be well-versed and able to provide a complete medical experience to each and every athlete of any sport. Whether running, gymnastics, football, boxing, or swimming, you will need to be ready to handle every type of emergency.

For preventive care, you will need to establish a dietary guideline for an athlete’s goals (losing, gaining, or maintaining a specific weight). You will also need to help them determine an appropriate training and conditioning routine for improving their “best” performances. Additionally, you will want to give your athletes a comprehensive stretching guide for both before and after work-outs.

For immediate or emergency care, you will need to provide your athletes with injury treatment for all parts of the body including ankles, feet, legs, knees, thighs, wrists, hands, elbows, shoulders, head, neck, and back. Treatment of injuries will include treating lacerations, broken bones, torn ligaments and more for immediate care.

For recovery, you will be helping your athletes recover from injuries. This includes rehabilitation, physical therapy, adjusted diet, and more.

Getting Started

Hopefully you found the information in this article to be informative. If you are ready to get started in a new career or expand on your existing career, there are a few easy ways to begin:

  1. If you are a high school student, you can schedule an appointment with your ROP representative at your school to register for CNA education courses.
  2. If you are a high school student attending alternative high school, you should be able to meet with your career counselor or register for classes directly at your local ROP office.
  3. If you are an adult, you will need to visit your local ROP office to register for classes.

Most CNA courses require you to be at least 18-years-old and have obtained your high school diploma or diploma equivalent. Once you have accomplished these prerequisites, you can start preparing for your new career in medicine!