You have probably heard people spelling the word “CNA” and asked yourselves what is a CNA. Well, the term “CNA” is the abbreviation for “Certified Nursing Assistant”. A CNA is a person who following a special training program and passed the licensure exam to become a nursing assistant. This person is expected to assist patients in recovering their health and works under the supervision of a licensed practical nurse or of a registered nurse. This profession requires high skills, specific knowledge and, of course, experience.

What Is a CNA’s Place in the Health Care System?

whatiscnaA nursing assistant’s title may vary depending on the specific of the location where he or she works. This location may be a hospital, a nursing home, an adult day care center, a personal home or any type of assisted living facility. A CNA is in fact a liaison between the patient and a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse.

Nursing assistants provide basic care to people in need, no matter if because of serious health problem, of a disability or of old age, no matter what the gender, age, or ethnicity of these people is. They are also the first ones to provide important information about the patients’ condition to their supervisor, due to the permanent direct contact they have with the patients.

As far as the work volume is concerned, it definitely depends on the place of work and the condition of the patient or patients the nurse is caring for, but it can be a really stressful job, with high responsibilities and considerable physical effort requirements.

Although the nurse is not the one in charge of prescribing treatments and evaluating the health condition of a patient, he or she is.

The natural question that comes to everyone’s mind is “what is a CNA professionally getting from this job”? Well, the salaries depend on the working conditions and the person or institution paying them and can be quite attractive, but the greatest reward someone working in this field gets is the possibility to actually make a difference in someone’s life and even help that person’s family, to alleviate the patient’s pain, help him or her recover after a considerable trauma and/or chase away his or her loneliness.

What Is a CNA Really Doing at the Job?

  • Taking the patient’s vital signs – these include pulse, blood pressure, temperature, respirations, as well as the amount of breaths.
  • Assisting the patient with personal hygiene activities – the nursing assistant is expected to help the patient while bathing and changing clothes.
  • Range of motion and repositioning – in many cases, the patients cannot move around and it is the responsibility of the CNA to reposition the patient at least every two hours, in order to avoid skin irritations and bed sores. Nursing assistants will also help the patients perform physical exercises meant to improve their joints and limbs’ mobility and blood circulation.

How to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant
For a successful nursing assistant, interpersonal skills and consideration for a person’s well being are a must. The ability to work as part of the team and is very important, and so is experience, but that is something you acquire along the way.

The first step, after you realize you have these skills, the abilities and the motivation to become a certified nursing assistant, is to sign up for a training programs in an accredited college, at the Red Cross or with a specialized online school. You should also ask around, as many medical facilities offer on-the-job training opportunities. Taking the licensure examination is the final and most important step to become a qualified, certified nursing assistant, and find your own answer to the question: “what is a CNA?”.