Duties of a CNA

Certified Nursing Assistants/Aides (CNAs) are responsible for helping patients or clients with healthcare needs. As a CNA, you must work under the supervision of an RN (Registered Nurse) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). CNAs are also known as Nursing Assistants, State-Tested Nurse Aids (STNA) or Patient Care Assistants (PCA). If you want to earn this title, you must have strong ability and work ethic. However, you may be prevented from performing certain procedures due to certain issues of legality and liability.

Daily Duties Of A CNA

As a nursing assistant, your regular responsibilities will vary depending on the place of your work or you live. You can work in a variety of settings, which include hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, personal homes and adult day care centers. All these settings require nursing assistants to co-ordinate with LPN or RN and patients. Sometimes, you must be the eyes and ears of a LPN or RN.

You will be responsible for fulfilling basic quality of life needs of patients, irrespective of their age, gender or ethnicity. You need to contact with patients on regular basis. So, you are responsible for gathering vital information about the conditions of patients. Then you must transmit this information to your supervisors. The workload of a CNA can be intense and fast-paced. However, you will get strong motivation if you have the ability to help and contact people who need medical care. You will be able to handle even the most difficult days if you have a desire to help patients.

Depending on work setting, the general daily duties of a CNA include:

  • Observing patients
  • Helping patients in the bathroom
  • Take care of patient’s personal hygiene, which include shaving, bed bath, nail care, etc
  • Reporting health issues to supervising nurse
  • Feeding patients
  • Setting up meal trays
  • Documenting food and fluid intake
  • Monitoring vital signs such as pulse, temperature, blood pressure and respiration
  • Serving nutritional supplements
  • Turning bed ridden patients to prevent bedsores
  • Bringing patients to therapy area
  • Keeping space of patients clean and tidy
  • Making beds

Where CNAs Work?

You must always keep in mind that law will not permit you to practice on your own in most facilities. Most times, you must work under the direct supervision of a licensed nurse. This is the mandatory statute of state and federal government for protecting the public. A licensed nurse has the responsibility to delegate duties to you. It cannot be done by therapists, doctors, families or other CNAs.  You have the freedom to provide your care giving services and experience as a CNA, but you cannot claim yourself that you are providing full nursing services.

As a CNA, you can seek employment in

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Staffing agencies
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Home healthcare agencies
  • Medical clinics
  • Day care centers and schools
  • Practice groups/Doctor offices
  • Hospices
  • Urgent care centers

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Duties of a CNA in a Hospital Setting

Once you become a certified nurse aide, you can work in numerous places. However, most CNAs seek employment in nursing homes for caring senior citizens. The demand for trained professionals is also very high in hospital settings. Though you need to provide compassionate care to patients in these two settings, there are dramatic differences between the working environments in a hospital and in a nursing home.

Hospitals have different departments. Your duty will be different in emergency room, progressive, intensive care and other departments. However, you must always work under the direction of an RN or LPN. You must also provide care to patients on the basis of individual care plan. Normally, you will be responsible for handling:

  • Date and reason of admission
  • Treatment plan
  • Details of condition
  • Patient specific notes for care
  • Feeding requirements
  • Vital sign schedule
  • Medications of patients
  • List of nurses and doctors overseeing patients

If you are working in a hospital, you can enjoy a very stable work schedule. Even if you miss a shift unexpectedly, a hospital will have extensive number of staff to handle it. However, if you are working in a nursing home, home health care or smaller facilities, you will likely need to work on varied schedule. It’s usually not possible to change your shifts and working hours suddenly.

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CNAs in a Nursing Home

In a nursing home facility a CNA needs to perform lots of responsibilities. Besides caring the elderly residents, you also need to ensure smooth functioning of the facility. Caring of elderly itself is a huge responsibility. Basically, there are three types of nurses in a nursing home. They are RNs, LPNs and CNAs. Some facilities will also appoint nurse practitioners (NPs).

Assisting LPNs is the major role of a certified nurse assistant in a nursing home. Basic tasks of CNAs in a nursing home are changing bed sheets and bed pans, bathe, feed and walk and transport patients, help them with personal hygiene and any other tasks that are assigned by an LPN or RN.

Service of CNAs is highly useful in a nursing home. Nursing homes also require a large number of skilled CNAs to handle patients. Basically, a nursing home is a place for older folks. They need a peaceful environment. So, you must be highly professional to provide proper care to such patients. Besides health, you must be also able to consider their other concerns as well.

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Duties of Long-Term Care CNAs

As a long term care nurse aide, you can work in rehabilitation centers, community centers, long-term health facilities, etc. Patients in a long term facility will be generally elderly or those are suffering from chronic or serious diseases. As such, the tasks that are requires in this setting are usually more intense.  These duties usually require that you:

  • Help patients recover from serious injury or surgical operation
  • Fulfill physical and emotional requirements of patients
  • Assist patients suffering from chronic diseases
  • Help them to recover from illness at the earliest
  • Help patients in bathing, feeding, grooming and dressing
  • Measure vital signs such as temperature, respiratory quotient, blood pressure and pulse rate
  • Empty catheter bags
  • Take care of nutritional and hygiene requirements of patients
  • Make beds and clean rooms
  • Assist in ambulation
  • Respond to call bells
  • Protect privacy and solitude of patients
  • Administer medication
  • Provide sponge baths to patients who are not able to sit or walk
  • Handle medical equipments
  • Inform doctors and family members regarding the condition of patients
  • Control infection
  • Move bedridden patients
  • Prevent bedsores by rotating and moving patients
  • Monitor food and liquid input/output
  • Keep records and documents of patients
  • Transport patient from one ward/room to another
  • Provide hair cut, nail cut and dental care
  • Give enemas
  • Avail fresh drinking water to patients

This housing system is established for senior citizens who want to get isolated and peaceful retirement. They also want to stay away from the chaos of a metropolitan life. As such, the duty of a CNA is paramount in ensuring this comfort.

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Duties of a Home Health Aide

Home health patients will be mainly elderly or disabled people that want care in their own home.This type of role is usually called a “caregiver” because the nursing tasks are generally light and infrequent.   Nursing aides who work in home health care need to provide basic personal care to these patients. Most times, you need not provide any type of medical care to the patients. Providing simple medical care to patients such as changing dressing, assisting bathing, helping patients to eat, etc. are the primary duties of nursing aides in a home healthcare setting. Some other duties of a home health aide include:

  • Assess condition of patient
  • Monitor vital signs
  • Record intake and output
  • Review patient care journal
  • Administer treatments
  • Change bandages
  • Dispense medications
  • Maintain oxygen supply and equipment
  • Introduce assisted living techniques such as use of walker or cane, use of special utensils to eat, use of special equipment for personal hygiene needs
  • Maintain a secure, safe and healthy environment to patients
  • Provide nutritional meals
  • Maintain continuity of patient home care
  • Entertaining patients

If you are seeking employment in a home health care environment, you need to provide services to patients who confine in their homes. This is helpful for patients to stay comfortable in their homes and getting necessary medical treatment.

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Hospice CNAs

A hospice is a form of medical care focusing on comfort or palliative care for patients who are terminally ill. Hospice care is given to patients in their own home or a special hospice facility, usually with the assistance of family members. Hospice CNAs need to provide a variety of services to the patients and family members. Changing clothing, bedding, brushing teeth, bathing hospice patients, keeping wounds cleaned, washing hair, etc are the major duties of hospice CNAs. Hospice patients who undergo chemotherapy face issues related to dental and mouth care. CNAs must be able to handle these tasks. Additionally, you must be able to assist the family members of a terminally ill patient and provide them instructions to perform basic health care routine.

If you want to work in a hospice setting, you must be willing to oversee the nutritional needs of your hospice patients. You are responsible for providing foods and liquids to your patients. You must also ensure that your patient gets appropriate level of food. Hospice patients face difficulties to eat and they will have limited appetites because of various types of medical treatments and medications. However, it is your duty to encourage your patients to intake foods. You must provide them small, frequent meals. You must also ensure that your patient is hydrated adequately.

While CNAs are not licensed to provide injected medications, you may have the responsibility to supervise when a patient needs injections. Maintaining breathing and eating tubes, cleaning and sterile port lines, starting IV fluids when necessary, etc. are also the responsibilities of a hospice CNA. You must also be able to advocate patients and educate visitors and guests to follow best practices when interacting with a hospice patient.  This is crucial, because they are prone to infections very easily. They will also become tired very quickly, and usually need medications to ease their transition out of life.

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The CNA Requirements

Do you think that this is the work you want? Then, you need to locate a training program to become a certified nursing aide. As per the guidelines of Bureau of Labor Statistics, you must have a certificate to work as a nursing assistant. In most states, you can obtain this certificate by completing a state approved training program.

You must ensure that your course is approved by the appropriate state agency. Our search function has already pre-vetted every school in the country to make sure they are approved.  If you’re interested in becoming a CNA, you should click the button below to get started on your search for the right school!

You normally can complete a nursing assistant program within a few weeks. Mainly, you will get clinical and lab instructions and can learn basic nursing skills from these training programs.

A typical CNA course covers topics such as:

  • Patient rights
  • Medical terminology
  • Roles and responsibilities of healthcare team
  • Infection control
  • Legal issues for CNA
  • Communication skills
  • Emergencies
  • Safety and proper body mechanics
  • Patient room upkeep
  • Documentation skills
  • Patient care including taking vital signs, dressing, bathing, oral care, feeding, moving patients, grooming skills
  • And lots of other skills

After completing your training program successfully, you must undergo a state competency examination. If you pass this exam, you will get the title of certified nursing assistant, which can springboard a career in healthcare.  If you’re interested in becoming a CNA, use our search function to have a CNA training expert contact you within hours.

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Ready to start your new career as a CNA?

Most nursing aides want to change their profession into more involved nursing careers. So, the demand for CNAs is always very high. It is also very easy to find a CNA job because it does not require a bachelor or higher degree to get a job. CNAs play a vital role in a medical set up. They also offer qualified and compassionate care to patients. Once you become a CNA, you can become an RN very easily if you earn necessary education. CNAs lack full training. So, they do not have the responsibilities and powers of a registered nurse. However, you will get good insight to the medical profession if you work as a CNA. You can also use this career field as a stepping stone to enroll in a lengthy degree or doctoral program.

Shortage of highly skilled nursing professionals leads to the emergence of nursing assistance in healthcare industry. There are lots of opportunities in this field as well. The demand for CNAs is increasing these days because they are providing quality care for elderly. So, you can confidently step into this career field.  To get started, just press the button below and find a CNA school in your area!

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