What Is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)?

According to NursingAssistantGuides.com, if you’re interested in becoming a CNA, it’s important to learn as much as possible about the job before applying to certification program. The job of a CNA is an important one, and for the right person, it can lead to a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. CNAs are in demand, and the job makes a great step on the ladder that leads to other positions in healthcare.

A certified nursing assistant, or CNA, helps patients or clients with healthcare needs under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). A CNA may also be known as a Nursing Assistant (NA), a Patient Care Assistant (PCA), or a State Tested Nurse Assistant (STNA). Each state also has its own scope of practice for CNAs and its own code of ethics. We’ve pulled together some useful information to help you discover this role and to determine if it’s a good fit for you.

Job responsibilities vary based on where you work and live. CNAs often work in a wide variety of settings; nursing homes, hospitals, adult day care centers, personal homes and assisted living facilities all require nursing assistants to act as a helpful liaison between the RN or LPN and the patient. In many cases, CNAs serve as the RNs or LPNs eyes and ears, and relays information between many patients and nurses.

CNAs are typically responsible for the general care of their patients. Duties will vary, depending on the specific needs of the patient. The most common responsibilities are taking and recording vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure; assisting them to and from their bed or chair as needed; and helping them with feeding and personal hygiene. CNAs may also assist doctors or nurses during medical procedures.

Other job duties may include:

  • Adjust positions of patients on beds or tables
  • Assess physical conditions of patients to aid in diagnosis or treatment
  • Operate medical equipment
  • Apply bandages, dressings, or splints
  • Move patients to or from treatment areas
  • Prepare medical instruments or equipment for use
  • Transport biological or other medical materials
  • Explain technical medical information to patients

Nursing assistants fulfill basic quality-of-life needs for patients of any age in residential nursing care facilities or outpatient clinics. Since nursing assistants have daily contact with patients, they are gatherers of vital information about the patients’ conditions, which they must then transmit to their supervisors. A CNA’s workload can become intense and fast-paced, but the human contact and ability to help those in medical need is a strong motivating factor. A desire to help people and compassion for patients can help a nurse’s assistant get through difficult days.