Monitoring a patient’s urine output is a part of a Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) responsibilities. This skill helps assess the functioning of the kidneys, hydration levels and overall well being of the patient. Properly measuring and recording urine output can provide information to the team enabling early detection of potential complications. In this lesson we will outline the step, by step process for measuring and recording urine output in two scenarios: patients with indwelling catheters and non ambulatory patients using bedpans.

1. Preparation and Hand Hygiene

Before proceeding with measuring and recording urine output it is crucial to ensure hand hygiene in order to prevent the spread of germs and maintain an environment.

1.1 Hand Washing: Start by washing your hands with soap and water. This step is essential for preventing contamination and promoting safety.

2. Measuring Urine Output for Patients with Indwelling Catheters

Measuring urine output for patients, with indwelling catheters requires observation and documentation.

2.1 Supplies: Gather all the supplies, which include gloves, a measuring container (graduate) , a Chux pad, two alcohol pads and a recording sheet.

2.2 Check the markings on the side of the collection bag to determine how much urine has been collected. Typically a normal output ranges between 30 and 400 centimeters (ccs), per hour.

2.3 Take note of the appearance of the urine in the collection bag. Healthy urine should be clear and pale yellow. If you notice anything like cloudiness, sediment or unusual colors such as amber, pinkish or green make sure to inform the nurse.

2.4 If you spot blood or a foul odor in the urine it’s important to let the nurse know for further evaluation.

2.5 If instructed by the nurse, empty or replace the collection bag following their instructions. Afterward make sure to wash your hands to maintain hygiene.

3. Measuring Urinary Output for Patients Using Bedpans

When it comes to measuring output for ambulatory patients using bedpans it’s crucial to prioritize patient comfort and cleanliness throughout the process.

3.1 Once the patient is done using the bedpan ensure they have privacy and take measures to maintain their dignity. Begin by washing your hands and putting on gloves.

3.2 Adjusting their position is important, for preventing leakage during measurement: gently lower the head of their bed until it becomes flat and carefully turn them onto their side while supporting the bedpan.

Remove the bedpan. Set it aside.

Step 3.3. Cleaning and Comfort: Thoroughly cleanse the patients buttocks and genital area ensuring their comfort and maintaining hygiene.

Step 3.4. Measuring Urine Output: Utilize a measuring container (graduate) to measure the urine collected in the bedpan accurately. Make sure to record the measurement 

Step 3.5. Disposal and Hygiene: Dispose of the urine, in the toilet. As instructed by the facilities guidelines. Remove your gloves. Thoroughly wash your hands afterward.

Section 4. Importance of Monitoring Urinary Output

Monitoring and precise documentation of output offer several crucial advantages for both patients and healthcare professionals.

4.1. Early Detection: By monitoring output potential kidney dysfunction, dehydration or other complications can be identified at a stage.

4.2. Kidney and Organ Health: identification of urinary patterns helps prevent harm to vital organs like kidneys.

4.3. Infection Detection: Unusual characteristics in urine such as blood presence or strong odors can indicate infection. Early detection enables treatment minimizing patient discomfort.


As a Certified Nursing Assistant having proficiency in measuring and documenting output significantly contributes to maintaining health and well being. Accurate recording of output assists the team in early identification of potential complications allowing timely interventions when necessary. Whether you’re assisting patients, with indwelling catheters or those using bedpans your meticulousness, empathy and dedication to upholding hygiene guarantee the possible care, for patients. By honing this skill you become a part of the healthcare team devoted to ensuring patient well being, safety and overall healing.