If you’re looking for a rewarding career where you can make a difference every day, being a nurse aide at a nursing home might be just what you need.
These professionals spend their days making sure patients have everything they need from daily activities to personal hygiene to medication management. It’s important to have good communication skills and patience when taking care of elderly or disabled adults who may not remember much about themselves or what is going on around them.
If you want to find out about CNAs and are ready for your nursing career, keep reading to discover more about what does a CNA does in a nursing home? their work schedule, common challenges they face at work, and tips to avoid them.
Role of a CNA in a Nursing Home
Below is a list of roles CNA perform working in nursing homes:
1. Feeding Patients
When you think of a CNA, feeding an elderly person is probably the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s actually just one part of their role. CNAs are responsible for feeding patients their meals and making sure they eat all their food so they don’t lose any nutrients.
Additionally, you will help them cut up the food if necessary and be there for them when they need to take medication at mealtimes. This can also include cleaning trays and loading dishwashers after each meal.
2. Dressing & Undressing Patients
Some CNAs might simply be in charge of helping to change clothes when needed or undressing patients when it’s time for a bath or shower. When they aren’t bathing themselves, they also need to make sure to keep bathrooms stocked with clean towels, washcloths, and soap at all times to keep things fresh.
3. Bathing Patients
Some nursing homes don’t provide patients with full baths, but if they do CNAs are responsible for helping their patients get in and out of the tub or shower. They may need to lift them into the tub to make sure they aren’t injured by slipping or falling, then help them wash up before getting them safely back into bed afterward.
4. Assisting With Personal Hygiene
Many nursing homes hire an aide specifically for this role to help people who can’t complete personal hygiene tasks on their own. This could include brushing teeth, combing hair, washing face and hands, shaving legs, and more. The CNA will also be prepared to jump in if the patient is unable to move away from the sink or bathtub on their own.
5. Mobility Assistance
CNAs also help with mobility around the home, especially for patients who need extra support getting around safely. They may help them get up and out of bed in the morning before beginning their day, accompany them to meals or other activities if needed and get them back into bed once it’s time to rest again at night.
6. Taking Vital Signs
CNAs will be responsible for taking vital signs throughout the day, which include temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure, and weight measurements to ensure that each patient is doing well enough to move around comfortably without hurting themselves or others nearby.
7. Administering Medication
If a CNA works in a nursing home that doesn’t have a dedicated medical professional, they might be responsible for giving patients medications when needed. They will need to look up the right dosage before giving it to them and double-check with a doctor or nurse in charge if necessary to make sure that is still the proper treatment course.
8. Keeping Tasks Organized & Clean
One of the biggest responsibilities of working in this type of environment is keeping both yourself and your surroundings organized at all times. Since you’ll be around sick people on an almost constant basis, it’s vital that you don’t get their germs by forgetting to wash your hands regularly or letting trash pile up nearby. You also need to keep an eye out for potential hazards like water on floors where someone could slip, off-balance furniture, missing items from patients’ rooms, and more to make sure everyone remains safe.
9. Helping With Sanitation
Since you’ll be working in a nursing home that cares for people who are either sick or elderly, it’s important that you keep the space looking and feeling clean at all times. Most homes won’t have a dedicated cleaning crew, so CNAs might need to sweep, mop and dust regularly to get rid of dirt and debris before vacuuming carpets if needed. They may also need to run the dishwasher occasionally, do laundry when necessary and do some light cooking on occasion like heating up meals or boiling water for tea or coffee.
10. Calling For Help When Needed
CNAs report directly to nurses or other health care professionals, but they can’t be with them at all times. If someone needs help, they need to be able to call for it so the patient doesn’t suffer any consequences of having nobody available nearby. This may require running through the halls or following posted signs to find where more medical staff are located before shouting out for their assistance.
CNA Work Schedule in a Nursing Home
CNAs often work full-time hours and need to be on-call for emergencies at night and on the weekends. They usually work either 8 or 12-hour shifts, with a lunch break built in anywhere from one hour to half of that time depending on the needs of the facility’s patients. Many CNAs also work rotating shifts where they switch between days and nights every two weeks as needed.
How Much Do Nursing Home CNAs Make?
There isn’t yet a specific set salary for working as a CNA in any nursing home because it varies widely across different states. The average starting pay is around $12 per hour and can go up to $19 per hour after gaining experience and training but it is largely on what type of job the CNAs hold and the size of the facility.
Benefits of Working in a Nursing Homes
Nursing aides and CNAs can be permanent employees, year-round workers, or seasonal employees. If you’re new to the job market and want stability, a nursing home might offer benefits such as health insurance and paid time off. Often an agency will provide these benefits as well.
If there is a lot of demand for care at a particular facility, they may not have trouble filling their staff during peak seasons. Nursing homes often need extra help during the holidays when family members from out of town visit residents who aren’t able to go home during those busy times.
Working in a nursing facility offers CNAs a chance to feel accomplished knowing that they’re making a positive impact on their residents’ lives by providing good care and companionship. Many CNAs work with people who don’t have anyone or can’t get out of bed to visit them very often, so the CNA becomes that person’s only form of contact with the outside world.
Negatives of Working in a Nursing Home
Many facilities are not well maintained and don’t have good ventilation, which leads workers to breathe unhealthy levels of bacteria and mold throughout the day. Aides spend most of their shift next to unkempt residents, so it’s easy to become ill.
Some CNAs make the mistake of thinking that their caregiving role comes with an emotional component as well, but most often it doesn’t.
Most people at your facility are there because they’ve had some kind of accident like a stroke or brain injury that has affected their mental awareness; plus, their families have moved them into long-term care facilities because they can no longer manage at home on their own.
At most nursing homes, it is not your job to have feelings for residents who are acting out. In fact, being too attached to a certain resident might hurt you because there may be times when you just can’t do anything with them that day because they’re upset or confused and don’t understand why the aides won’t stay.
Challenges CNA May Face Working in a Nursing Homes?
Many CNAs working in a nursing care facility have a very difficult time adjusting to the adjustment from being more independent as a CNA at an assisted living or long-term care facility. Many individuals who are initially excited about being more responsible for their work as CNA realize quickly that they may not have as much independence as they once thought. In addition, moving from working with single patients to caring for multiple patients simultaneously can be quite overwhelming.
Is it right for you? Those who possess strong critical thinking skills and enjoy solving problems will likely find pleasure in working in this type of environment. However, if you’re someone whose favorite part of working is providing one-on-one attention to your patients, it may be best to seek employment in a different type of work environment.
10 Tips to become a Better CNA in a Nursing Home
- Maintain a high standard of personal hygiene, including hair restraints as required by the facility policy.
- Follow facility policies about visitors, restrictions, and procedures.
- Be able to maintain attention on task at all times, even when patients are attempting to distract you from your tasks or make requests of you during your care giving duties.
- Have head clear and keep thinking straight while working with diverse individuals who have diverse outlooks for philosophy for life and concepts about reality.
- Promote independence in your actions that promote caregiver relief for nurses and doctors to allow them more time to take better care of other patients in need.
- Report hazards such as fallen objects, frayed cords along with their location s to the Nurse immediately.
- Remain calm and helpful when dealing with irate patients and avoid getting into arguments with your patients, no matter how difficult they make you feel.
- Keep patient’s room and surrounding halls clear of hazards.
- Know where to find equipment required for assigned tasks, such as wheelchairs, toileting supplies, soap, etc…
- Avoid distractions while working with your patients including interruptions from other staffs who are trying to get jobs done on time without being hindered by the presence of others.
Be mindful about anyone present in the immediate area that can divert attention away from patient care. Strive to be accountable for all work performed during each shift worked.