The duties a Certified Nursing Assistant is expected to perform will depend largely on where you are working. For instance, a CNA’s duties at a hospital will be different than at a nursing home, or at a patient’s home. Some positions may require a considerable degree of physical exertion, while others may not.
A CNA must have the ability to understand and carry out routine non-technical, oral and written directions in relation patient and/or resident care. The willingness to cooperate and to carefully follow a prescribed routine is essential, as is discretion – patient privacy is something to be taken very seriously. You should have the ability to get along well with others and to secure cooperation of patients and/or residents. And even more so than many jobs, neatness and personal cleanliness are a must.
That said, the primary duties of a certified nursing assistant are always care of your patient. This can include daily care of a patient, and assistance as appropriate, such as help with eating, getting dressed, and movement.
As a CNA your duties may also include taking and logging patient information: vital signs (BP or blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and temperature), assessing your patients pain level, and their weight.
As a Nursing Assistant, it will also be your duty to report on your patient. Depending on where your job is, that may mean reporting to a head nurse or supervisor. A CNA is expected to be the “eyes and ears” for the attending nurse.
To function well and be the best possible Assistant, you are expected to be patient, caring, responsive, and above all responsible and professional. Your role may be varied, but the well-being of the patient or patients that you care for is always “Job Number 1″. A CNA can’t afford to be distracted or disinterested.
Here are some actual examples of duties a Certified Nursing Assistant is expected to perform, taken from recent “Help Wanted” classified ads:
- Assists in walking, feeding, bathing and related restorative and rehabilitative care activities for
patients and/or residents and aids in caring for their personal needs and comfort;
- Assists nurses in lifting and turning patients and/or residents, in restraining disoriented patients
and/or residents, in holding patients and/or residents for treatment, in care of involuntary patients
and/or residents and may assist in preparing them for surgery;
- Helps regulate number of visitors and gives information to visitors in accordance with instructions from
the nurse in charge;
- Assists professional nursing personnel in carrying out assigned range of motion, promotion of self-help
and independence activities and reality orientation;
- Assembles information concerning the patient’s and/or resident’s condition and enters reports on the
patient’s and/or residents record;
- Cleans and sterilizes equipment;
- Labels and stores patients’ and/or residents’ clothes and turns over valuables to person designated by
- May assist with care and moving of room furniture, fixtures and supplies to help keep patients and/or
residents safe and comfortable;
- May assist in cleaning, laundry, resident feeding, and resident transportation, as needed.
A nurse assistant should expect a degree of physical activity as part of the job. While you don’t have to be a body builder, you also don’t want to find yourself unable to get out of bed after your first day at work!
Along with the a Certified Nursing Assistant’s duties comes the satisfaction of helping others, and of knowing that you are a crucial member of the overall health care environment. Job satisfaction and self-esteem – along with good pay and the security of knowing there will always be jobs available – are some of the rewards you can expect in this career!