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What Does a Certified Nursing Assistant Do?

If you’re looking for a fulfilling job that makes a difference, then consider becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Frequently referred to as nurses aides, they provide hands-on healthcare to patients in hospitals, nursing homes and other medical settings. Their responsibilities often vary from recording vital signs to helping bathe and dress patients. At long-term care facilities, they often assist residents with the activities of daily living.

They generally work as part of a health care team that helps patient reach their highest level of functioning and independence.

Certified nursing assistants often see people at their most vulnerable, so being kind while providing dignity to the patient is crucial. CNAs ensure the safety of patients and provide emotional, psychological and even spiritual support.

Night, weekend and holiday work is often required.

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Certified nursing assistants provide hands-on care to patients
Openings for nursing assistants are expected to grow faster than the average job as baby boomers age. (Credit: Tyler Olson/Shutterstock)
Duties + Responsibilities
  • Clean and bathe patients while providing privacy and dignity
  • Help patients get dressed
  • Turn, reposition to avoid bed sores
  • Transfer patients between beds and wheelchairs and help them maintain or increase their ability to walk
  • Observe, listen to and document patients’ health concerns or changes in condition and report that information to nurses
  • Measure patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature
  • Serve meals and help patients eat
  • Follow infection control procedures 
  • Help maintain a clean and organized environment
Education + Training

Nursing assistants often need to complete a state-approved education program that includes both instruction on the principles of nursing and supervised clinical work. These programs are available in high schools, community colleges, technical schools, hospitals and nursing homes.

In addition, nursing assistants typically complete a brief period of on-the-job training to learn about their specific employer’s policies and procedures. Rules vary by state, but most students must pass a state certification exam and get listed on their state's CNA registry. CNA certification typically lasts two years.

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Are compassionate to those in need
  • Have the patience and physical stamina to perform routine tasks
  • Have a good understanding of medical technology
  • Are a good problem-solver
  • Have the ability to adapt and improvise

Certified Nursing Assistant training in your area


Nurse Aide Certificate

Front Range Community College
Westminster (0.0 Miles)

Advanced Bedside Care Technician Certificate

Morton College
Cicero (0.0 Miles)

Certified Nursing Assistant Workforce Development

Prince George's Community College
Largo (0.0 Miles)

Multi-Skilled Health Technician Certificate

Community College of Beaver County
Monaca (0.0 Miles)

Health Professions- Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) Track Occupational Skills Award

Collin College
McKinney (0.0 Miles)

Nurse Assistant Certificate

Edmonds Community College
Lynnwood (0.0 Miles)

Home Health Aide Certificate

Neosho County Community College
Chanute (0.0 Miles)

CNA Certificate

Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College
Baraga (0.0 Miles)

Nursing Assistant Certified Certificate

South Seattle College
Seattle (0.0 Miles)

General Technology - Patient Care Technician, A.A.S.

Piedmont Technical College
Greenwood (0.0 Miles)

Nurse Aide Continuing Education

Durham Technical Community College
Durham (0.0 Miles)

Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide Certificate

Middlesex Community College (MA)
Bedford (0.0 Miles)
Johndarius Akins, certified nursing assistant ambassador
Meet Ambassador Johndarius Akins

As a child, Johndarius Akins dreamed of becoming a pediatrician.

“I knew that I wanted to be a part of the medical field so that I could help people who were in need physically, mentally or emotionally,” says the 31-year-old certified nursing assistant. “It brings me a sense of joy to lend a helping hand, have a listening ear and to provide the utmost care to others.” Learn more of his story.

Find Certified Nursing Assistant Jobs in Your Area


Nurse Aide

Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System
Salinas ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 weeks 2 days ago

Nursing Assistant

RWJ Barnabas
Rahway ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 weeks 2 days ago

CNA - Certified Nursing Assistant

Consulate Health Care
Altamonte Springs ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 week 3 days ago

Covid 19 CNA

Daybreak Venture
Lancaster ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 week 1 day ago

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

Brightview Senior Living
North Andover ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 days 10 hours ago

Endoscopy Assistant

Beaufort Memorial Hospital
Beaufort ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 5 months 2 weeks ago

Certified Nurse Assistant- Skilled Nursing- NOC

Human Good
Boise ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 3 weeks ago

CNA, Assisted Living Pine Terrace

Freedom Village
Lake Forest ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 2 weeks ago