During your CNA training, you are going to learn valuable skills that will help you succeed in the medical setting. You will be taught how to perform range of motion exercises, help patients eat, and how to provide daily care. You will also be taught how to take vital signs, which includes monitoring their blood pressure, oxygen saturation level, pulse, respiration rate, and temperature.
While there will be many skills you will learn throughout your CNA training, you must always keep one thing in mind: you are not a nurse.
Scope of Practice After CNA Training
After CNA training, you will become a CNA if you are able to take and pass your state’s certification exam. When you are working with patients, this title only allows you to perform the duties you were taught in CNA training and nothing more, unless your facility provides you with additional training.
These tasks that you are allowed to perform are what is known as your scope of practice. Your scope of practice is set by the Board of Nursing in your state and is used to protect you, your patients, and your employer after CNA training.
Scope of practice can sometimes be confusing term for a new CNA starting out after CNA training, especially if they are asked to perform a task that they know how to do, but were not taught during CNA training. It is important to understand that scope of practice doesn’t necessarily mean you are unable to perform the task, but that it isn’t part of your job. If you go ahead and perform a task that isn’t part of your job description, and you make a mistake, you risk losing your certification, harming your patient, and putting the medical facility where you work at risk for a law suit.
Even if you mean well, stepping outside your scope of practice can be devastating for many individuals. Here are a few tasks you should not be undertaking, even if you are asked to do them after CNA training.
Outside Your Scope of Practice After CNA Training
- Administrating Medication- Unless your state allows you to take additional training that will allow you to administer medication, you should NEVER do so. Don’t touch their medication, open it for them, or hand it to them; this is the nurse’s job.
- Diagnosis- At one point or another, a patient is going to ask you what is wrong with him. He’s going to expect you to give him hope or let him know what to expect. Don’t do this. Diagnosing patients is the responsibility of the doctor. You may not want to let your patient down, but saying anything other than “your doctor will be in soon to discuss that with you” will end badly.
In some states, CNAs are allowed to insert catheters after CNA training. In others, this task only falls within the nurse’s scope of practice. Each state and each facility has their own scope of practice, and it is up to you to find out what is expected of you after CNA training.