In every medical environment, a CNA, or certified nursing assistant, has a key job. CNAs play a significant role in the treatment of patients because of their wide range of duties. They support nurses and other medical personnel by giving patients direct personal care.

CNA Job Description
Group of medical professionals with digital tablet discussing along hospital corridor. Doctor and nurse walking together and talking.

Although working as a CNA is sometimes seen as an entry-level occupation, it is an excellent starting point for various healthcare careers. In many aspects, working as a CNA may help you become ready for a career in nursing or healthcare administration.

However, while looking for the job of a CNA, you should be well-acquainted with its roles and responsibilities. So, in this article, you will learn about what a CNA does, the skills you need to become one, and how your working experience as a nursing assistant can add to your career prospects.

What is a CNA?

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) works in hospitals or other healthcare environments under the supervision of nurses and other medical professionals. They provide patients with high-quality care by helping them with daily activities. Hospitals and long-term care institutions, including nursing homes, assisted living communities, and home care places, are where they usually work.

CNAs assist patients with eating and taking care of their hygiene, reposition bedridden patients, and record vital signs. Under the guidance and supervision of registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs), nursing assistants perform their duties.

A CNA shall give patients kind attention and help them with everyday requirements. The ideal assistant will contact patients often, keep an eye on their overall well-being, and offer assistance whenever required. They also act as patients’ advocates via dialogues and engagement to enhance their quality of life.

What are the Responsibilities of a CNA?

A home caregiver helping a senior man take his prescription medicine. She is holding the pill bottle she is giving him instructions, helping him read the label. The nurse is an Hispanic woman in her 30s and the patient, also Hispanic, is in his 80s. The focus is on their hands and the bottle.

A nursing assistant has a lot of responsibilities and provides direct patient care while frequently working under the direction of a nurse. CNAs collaborate directly with nurses and patients to assist in many strenuous physical activities involved in patient care.

So, to become a qualified nursing assistant, you must carry out essential tasks that guarantee patients’ well-being and security while in the healthcare facility. Every state has specified duties that CNAs have to perform.

The following are some key responsibilities of a CNA.

  • CNAs enable daily living necessities for patients, including helping them prepare meals, feed them when necessary, and move, turn, and situate patients.
  • They ensure that patients have access to clean water and food between meals.
  • They monitor the patient’s vital signs, weight, urine test results, and other health parameters to ensure their stability.
  • They provide supplementary care, including surgical preps, enemas, non-sterile dressings, douches, cold packs, restraint usage, heat treatments, and sitz and therapeutic baths.
  • A nursing assistant can comfort patients by utilizing the available tools and supplies, responding to their cries for help, transporting them, and notifying the nursing supervisor for any concerns.
  • They must fill out forms, make reports and logs, and record patient activities to document every task.
  • Abiding by local standards, hospital regulations, and mandates, as well as professional norms, CNAs serve and protect the entire hospital community.
  • CNAs maintain business operations by adhering to the rules and regulations of the healthcare organization or facility.
  • They examine patients’ nutritional needs, food preferences, and allergies to ensure they are fed a suitable diet.
  • They examine individuals to look for conditions that require medical attention, such as open bruises, wounds, or blood in the urine.
  • They advise patients to take their prescriptions and dietary supplements on time.
  • They report to nurses on patient behavior observations, such as complaints or physical ailments.
  • They take responsibility for completing new and varied demands.
  • They ensure every patient’s information is private to safeguard the organization’s value.
  • They look for ways to improve the nursing department and the hospital’s reputation to add value to their job success.
  • They upgrade their professional knowledge by taking advantage of various educational opportunities, reading trade magazines, and joining trade associations.
  • They also update their license to keep it current and their profession to continue proactively.

Qualification Requirements of CNA

For CNAs, various hospitals and care facilities have different needs and obligations. Besides, the qualification requirements may vary for different states. The exact employment obligations may change based on where you reside.

However, nursing assistants’ education and certification requirements are often less stringent than those for other entry-level occupations in hospitals or healthcare organizations. States have different criteria for CNA education. But many of them involve a state-approved training course.

You may get the necessary training in a hospital, community college, technical school, or high school. Typically, the CNA courses are 4-8 weeks. And they include patient care, fundamental medical concepts, critical ethics, and moral reasoning. There is also an in-person or practical skill component to help students become ready to deal with patients in real life.

Getting certified as a CNA is essential. The certification exam involves a written or oral test and a demonstration exam. Since students need licensing and certification to apply for and get hired for specific employment, passing these tests is crucial.

Besides, licensing guarantees that you have the needful expertise to deal with actual patients in a healthcare facility.

Qualification Requirements

Here are some common qualifications you need to have as a CNA across the United States.

  • Possess state-issued certification for nursing assistants.
  • Must be CPR-authorized by American Heart Association.
  • Able to function in a fast-paced and occasionally stressful atmosphere, think critically, follow directions, and communicate with other staff.
  • Currently holding a Certified Nursing Assistant designation in the state registry.
  • Must be a graduate from high school or an equivalent.
  • Possess basic computer skills.
  • Have good personal hygiene.
  • Must have a basic understanding of biology, physiology, and medical terminologies.
  • Should know professional yet amiable bedside manner
  • Keep their CPR certification up to date
  • Must have multitasking abilities
  • Possess effective communication skills in reading, writing, and speaking
  • Recognizes the ramification of patient care on the law
  • Prior employment in a set-up providing direct patient care or in a long-term care facility is desired.

Final Thoughts

CNAs’ work is highly demanding; thus, the ideal candidate must care about other people’s welfare. Under the supervision of a nurse, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) shall provide the utmost medical care to clients and patients at home, in hospitals, and other settings.

In contrast, employers looking for a CNA must detail all the mentioned responsibilities and qualifications in their job descriptions to hire suitable candidates.