Certified Nursing Assistants work under the supervision of other health care professionals including Physicians and Registered Nurses. CNAs perform their assigned duties in accordance with polices and procedures established by the facility where they work. Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for a variety of tasks including assisting patients with daily living activities such as eating, hygiene, and walking or moving. CNAs also take the vital signs of patients and perform routine care such as changing bed linens that increases the patient’s comfort level. The exact duties will vary depending on the specific location where a CNA works, but some of the general responsibilities are described below.
Skills and Abilities of Certified Nursing Assistants
- The CNA must have a certification from the state in which they work. This can be earned through completion of a college level program or earned by on the job experience at certain facilities.
- A Certified Nursing Assistant must be able to do basic math to calculate information necessary for recording on the patient’s chart.
- Strong communication and people skills are a requirement for CNAs. The Certified Nursing Assistant must develop and maintain good relationships with patients, family members, staff, and visitors to the facility.
- The Certified Nursing Assistant must be able to read and write in English. The ability to communicate in other languages is strongly desirable.
- Certified Nursing Assistants should participate in continuing education that will help them enhance their nursing abilities.
Following the directions given by the Registered Nurse, the Certified Nursing Assistant is responsible for providing basic care to patients as well as education to family members. The Certified Nursing Assistant will be responsible for assisting patients with bathing, positioning patients in bed, completing oral care, changing bed linen and clothing, helping patients to walk, assisting with feeding, taking and recording vital signs, collecting specimens, determining and recording intake and output of fluids, weighing patients, transporting patients via wheelchair or other method, and ensuring the safety of patients. The Certified Nursing Assistant will help the nurse determine patient care needs and report changes in the health or condition of the patient.
One of the most important functions of the Certified Nursing Assistant is to communicate information about the patient and his or her needs to other health care professionals including doctors, nurses, and other CNAs. This can be done verbally, through reports, or by documenting observations in the patient’s chart. The Certified Nursing Assistant will help the patient learn self care skills as often as possible, and may help the patient’s family to learn ways to care for the patient. As part of the CNAs duties, he or she will provide the patient and his or her family with emotional support.
The Certified Nursing Assistant will often be asked to help new staff members learn their responsibilities. As part of his or her daily responsibilities, the CNA will need to make sure that all areas of the patient unit are clean and safe. The Certified Nursing Assistant will also be responsible for stocking supplies, cleaning and caring for equipment, and retrieving supplies as requested by other health care team members.
Caring for patients is the primary goal of the Certified Nursing Assistant, and all the duties of the CNA are assigned with that goal in mind.