Certified nursing assistants work in healthcare facilities and private homes where they are responsible for providing direct and indirect patient care. They help patients in handling their personal care needs such as bathing, grooming and toileting and also help them by providing emotional support.
As a CNA, one has to be patient, empathetic and be able to work on one’s feet for long periods of time. Because of the nature of their jobs, CNAs need to be compassionate and enjoy helping people who cannot help themselves. Some CNAs also work with medical technology such as health information and billing software, but mostly, their work is directly with patients.
Certified nursing assistants report to nursing managers or registered nurses, depending on the hierarchy that the hospital is following. They need to possess phenomenal communication skills and they must be great listeners and observers. Working as a CNA requires a high school diploma along with a state approved nursing assistant program certification. CNAs also need knowledge of the principals of growth and development for different age groups and demonstrate the ability to interpret information needed to identify each individual patient’s care needs.
Typically, certified nursing assistants perform the following duties:
• Comprehend each patient’s medical history to determine plans of action
• Confer with nurse managers and physicians to determine patients’ conditions
• Assess patients’ diseases and advancements by looking through their paperwork and evaluating present physical and mental conditions
• Provide support with basic care such as bathing, grooming, changing and toileting
• Assist patients with mobility by pushing wheelchairs or providing physical assistance in walking
• Take and record vitals such as temperature, pulse and blood pressure
• Administer oral, intravenous and intramuscular medication in accordance to prescribed plan of care
• Observe patients to determine signs of deterioration or emotional upheavals and notify physicians and / or nurse managers immediately
• Maintain a safe and secure environment to ensure that patients thrive and are physically safe from hazards
• Provide emotional support to patients and families and educate them on medical procedures and in-home care
• Set up medical equipment such as ECG machines and assist technicians with medical procedures
• Serve meals to patients and ensure that they partake them on time and in the prescribed quantity
• Change linen and ensure that any spills are cleaned immediately by coordinating activities with the custodial staff
• Assist in applying cream and ointments to wounds and changing dressings
• Provide services such as CPR and First Aid during emergency situations
• Complete and maintain patients’ records in safe and confidential manner