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.
- 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
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.
- 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