What Does a CNA do?

A CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) is the most important bridge between the doctor and the patients. They are responsible for taking care of the patients admitted to the hospitals. Certified nursing assistants are required in private clinics, residential centers, and nursing homes in order to serve different patients. Their job also differs from one place to another. Now, you might be thinking about what does a CNA do and what are the duties and responsibilities that a nursing assistant has to perform while working in medical organizations.

Generally, a CNA works under the supervision of a licensed nurse. Providing complete patient care is the main responsibility. This includes brushing (teeth), bathing, feeding, assisting them during the walk, and in their daily activities including exercises.

They also check patients’ vital signs including pulse rate, temperature, respiration, and blood pressure checks. A Certified Nurse Aide assists doctors and reports to them about the status of the patients. Proper documentation and on-time reporting is an essential activity. Complete care for infection prevention and control must be ensured. Assuring restorative care, encouraging patients’ rights, and CPR check also comes under the responsibilities of a certified nursing assistant.

Most Common Duties of a CNA

Below is a discussion of the most common duties of a CNA.

Taking Vitals

Important and regular duty to be performed by a nurse assistant is to take vitals. The nursing assistant cannot skip or ignore this routine task no matter how boring it may be for them. Because vitals are important in learning the patients’ conditions, nursing aides have to record and monitor the differences after a regular interval.

Feeding Patients

Next, feeding patients with the right amount of food intake is also important. Doctors are the best to decide what type of nutrition and how much amount of calories each patient need. Going through their ailments and body needs, doctors make a chart of the type of food for patients.

They also mention the time when they should be given food. The nursing assistants have to follow the nutrition chart and ensure that patients are being fed with proper food. Many patients may not be in the condition to eat with their hands. Such patients need to be fed by nursing aides with a support desk or by shifting them to the dining hall.

Maintain Hygiene

The next in the list of duties to be performed by a nurse assistant is maintaining hygiene. Hygiene is important to protect patients from infection and help in recovering. Nurse assistants have to change bed linens, soiled and surgical dresses every day.

Among all these duties to be performed, the main responsibility of nursing assistants is to provide mental and emotional support to patients. Patients struggling to get back to their normal life need more than treatment. Nursing aides should take up this challenge and assist such people in dreaming of healthy and longer lives.

Since doctors and registered nurses cannot provide individual attention to each patient, nursing assistants shoulder this responsibility. Their main aim of employment is to assist patients and provide each of them with individual nursing care.

Apart from the duties and responsibilities mentioned Above, The answer to the most important query of every job aspirant i.e. what does a CNA do is provided below.

Checking Vital Signs
  • Measuring blood pressure
  • Measuring body temperature
  • Measuring pulse rate
  • Measuring weight and height
Proper Dietary Care
  • Provide nutrients and supplements
  • Provide a liquid diet and healthy drinks
  • Make sure that the meals are provided at the proper time
  • Prepare meals as per the instruction of the dietitian
Medication and Drugs
  • Administer medicine from time to time
  • Provide a proper dose of medicine as prescribed by the doctor
  • Provide enema to the patients
Personal and Oral Hygiene
  • Take care of oral hygiene of the patients
  • Make sure that hair and nails are cut on time and kept clean
  • Provide a sponge bath to the patient everyday
  • Prevent bed sores by applying certain ointments
Collection of Sample
  • Collect blood sample for laboratory tests
  • The urine sample is also taken for performing certain tests in the lab
Environmental Cleanliness
  • Maintain cleanliness of the surrounding areas
  • Make sure that the visitors clean their hands with sanitizers while coming in contact with the patients
  • Make sure that the clothes of the patients are washed in antiseptic liquid
Toilet Needs
  • Empty the catheter bags
  • Provide bedpan, urinal, and commode
  • Check the toilet needs of the patients and make sure that bedpan or urinal is kept in a proper position
  • Make sure that the toilet is clean
  • Help the patients in visiting the toilet
Exercising and Mobility
  • Move the patients from one place to another
  • Help the patients in performing exercises as prescribed by the doctor
  • Repositioning the patient from a wheelchair to bed and vice versa
Patients Comforts and Relief
  • Prepare a bed for patients
  • Check the comfort of the patient from time to time
  • Answer the call of the patients immediately
  • Listen to the problem faced by the patients and try to rectify them as soon as possible
  • Keep the calling bell within the reach of the patients
  • Build a rapport with patients to develop a healthy relationship
  • Provide mental and emotional support to the elderly patients
Monitoring the Activities of Patients
  • Note down the changes that may arise
  • Report to the registered nurse or doctor about those changes
  • Prepare a chart for the patient’s development and keep it updated
  • Organize the files and records of the patients
Dressing Wounds
  • Clean the wounded area properly and apply ointment to it
  • Redress the wound from time to time
  • Be careful while dressing the wound and make sure that you follow all the precautionary measures so that infection is not caused
Assist in Daily Activities
  • Help the patients in brushing teeth, combing hair, shaving etc
  • Change the bed linens
  • Assist the patient in changing the clothes
  • Feed the bed-ridden patients
Maintaining Tools and Equipment
  • Taking care of the tools and equipment that are used during surgery
  • Sterilized the equipment after usage
  • Assist the doctors with equipment like ventilator, heart monitor or ECG (Electrocardiogram) monitor etc
Safety Measures
  • Ensure the safety precautions for the patients
  • Visit the patients from time to time to check if the oxygen cylinder, heartbeat monitor, etc are working properly or not
Assist the Doctor
  • Certified nursing assistants organize the operation table with needed equipment to help the doctors for performing an operation

CNA works also depend on many things. To understand that, you might want to read below.

CNA Duties Depend on Healthcare Settings

The medical field has spread its wings in many directions. Many healthcare branches are catering to the different needs of patients. For example, some healthcare facilities may focus only on diseases related to heart, while others may specialize in bones, old age, diabetes, etc. Depending on the facility and the services they are dealing in, the duties to be performed by a nurse assistant vary.

Since they can take a nursing job in any healthcare setting, their duties may not be the same. For instance, a hospital nurse assistant would perform different responsibilities than the duties of a nursing home assistant. If you compare the treatment and services provided by a hospital with a nursing home, the former will always have an upper hand in this regard.

Then there are other places like private clinics, day-care facilities, adult care centers, centers for physically and mentally challenged patients, and rehabilitation centers. People willing to work in a nursing position need not have to bother about the duties of all these facilities. Though hospitals have different units that specialize in a particular treatment, what matters the most is nursing care.

Depend on Patients Condition

Most of the CNA duties will depend on the patients’ conditions. If a patient, who cannot move his/her hands or completely bed-ridden will need help in everything from brushing, bathing, grooming, eating, toileting and moving when the treatment is scheduled.

It is the duty of the morning shift nurse assistants to complete all the above routine activities. They have to raise the bed with a lever so that patients are in a comfortable position to brush their teeth. When brushing the teeth is done, they have to assist them with toileting. They have to assist patients up to the toilet if they can move, or else they need to provide them with a bedpan.

Giving a bath to the patients will also depend on their conditions. Nurse assistants have to give a dry bath to bed-ridden patients. If patients can have a shower-bath, nurse assistants have to take them to the bathroom and help them get cleaned.

When the bathing process is over, nurse assistants have to comb patients’ hair and help them in dressing. Completing all these tasks for each patient is not tiring work. However, when the number of patients is more, it can surely make nursing assistants tired.

Students who are taking CNA training with a mind frame of gaining employment in the medical sector learn everything about the duties to be performed by a nurse assistant. The crash course they take for joining a healthcare industry focuses on major routine activities each healthcare setting conducts. This means that they are ready to work in any setting with the knowledge gained through training.


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