Before wanting to become a certified nursing assistant, you should find out the answer to questions like “what does a CNA do?” and then analyze your skills and expectations and decide if this is really a job for you. Becoming a certified nursing assistant is not so easy, because you have to study a lot, and practicing this profession is even tougher, as you have to deal with disables or sick people and offer them the care, the support and the understanding they need.
Such people are difficult to take care of, because they have much to suffer from their disease or disability, and their mood is not exactly the best one. As a consequence, patience might be one of the most required skills for a certified nursing assistant, not to mention medical knowledge and experience, which are acquired only through extensive study and practice. Being a caring person is a must for a nursing assistant. What does a CNA do when someone is deeply hurt and needs special care? This is a good question to answer to before saying “I will be a nursing assistant, because I want to”.
What Does a CNA Do?
First of all, you have to know that certified nursing assistants work in hospitals, nursing homes, residential care facilities, rehabilitation centers, or home health services. They work under the supervision of licensed medical professionals or nurses and are expected to provide basic direct care to patients and assistance with their daily living activities.
Certified nursing assistants must stick to a job description that may include a vast range of different tasks, which may change from one day to another, depending on factors like the specific needs that the patients under their care have. Here are some of the main tasks a certified nursing assistant is asked to perform:
- Measure the vital signs of the patients, such as temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure, and respiration;
- Collect urine and stool samples when required for testing by physicians or laboratory technicians;
- Assist patients with various daily living activities – bathing, brushing teeth, dressing, eating, using the restroom;
- Reposition patients and transfer them from their beds to walkers, wheel chairs and other medical mobile equipment for transportation;
- Record their patients’ health concerns and pass on this information to the nurses to review;
- Educate patients on motion exercises or stretches, in order to relieve pain and improve the functioning of the joints and other parts of the body for patients with chronic conditions;
- In emergency situations, perform safety techniques which include first aid and CPR;
- Take on housekeeping tasks, which include changing bed pans, making beds, collecting laundry and replacing linens.
Other Tasks for Nursing Assistants
The answer to the question “what does a CNA do?” does not stop here. These are indeed the basic responsibilities, but there are others as well, just as important. One of them is offering constant physical and emotional support to the patients. Nursing assistants work with people daily, and are expected to engage them in friendly conversations and offer them the much needed interaction. When patients lose focus or motivation, it is the nurse’s responsibility to help them get back on track, explain to the family what is going on and pay attention to every change in the patient’s health condition.
When asked “what does a CNA do?”, after a couple of years on the job, many professionals say it is easier to explain what a certified nursing assistant does not do, because there will be fewer points on the list.