To become a CNA you have to pass a certification exam which has two papers, theoretical and practical; the CNA skills list will assist you in clearing the practical paper where you have to execute five clinical tasks.
These are the important proficiencies that are part of your job responsibilities when you start practising as a CNA.
The CNA clinical skills test is conducted in presence of an examiner who is an experienced CNA or Registered Nurse and the examiner will carefully observe all the CNA practical tasks that you perform and give grades accordingly. Here is a list of CNA skills which can be divided into the following sub-heads:
1. Safety Procedures
- A CNA must be aware of the safety rails regulations and must carefully move patients on/ off beds and on stretchers without causing any injury; these rails are meant for patients’ comfort and safety
- CNA must be able to raise the head of the bed (HOB) for the various healthcare needs and lower the bed when not needed. You must be cautious that the HOB is not raised when changing patient positions and when patients are sleeping. After all the healthcare activities are over the HOB must be lowered and the bed must be in a flat position.
- Cardiopulmonary restoration (CPR) is one of the abilities a CNA must possess; all CNA programs make it compulsory that the students get a CPR certification
- Having a good hand washing skill is important and must be performed before every healthcare procedure. Good handwashing technique involves wetting the hands properly before applying soap, cleaning between fingers and cuticles, turning off the tap with a paper towel and thrashing that towel and patting the hands dry with another paper towel.
- Use of gloves for all the activities involving body contacts is very essential; sanitization of equipments and proper storage of that equipment is also required. These tasks along with handwashing help in controlling the infection.
2. Nutrition Related Processes
- You must monitor the meals of the patients as per the diet prescribed by the physician
- You must feed patients who cannot eat by themselves due to physical disability due to illness; for patients who have no such disability, you must provide for food trays. You must see to it that the food is provided at specific times.
- Monitoring the intake of food is required so that the patient gets the required nutrition which will be helpful in speedy recovery
- You should monitor the liquid intake of patients who cannot eat food and see to it that the intake is as per the prescription of the supervising nurse
3. Personal Care Abilities
- Bathing patients in bathtub, shower or giving bed bath or partial bath; a CNA must have all the capabilities required for bathing
- As a CNA you will have to provide for oral care of patients by brushing their teeth properly; you have to provide an emesis basin to patients who can’t move and then sanitize that basin and store it in a paper towel
- Grooming abilities are also a part of a CNA job; you must help patients in dressing/undressing and grooming their hair, nail care is another task that you will have to perform
- Making the occupied bed, changing dirty bed linen and disposing of them to laundry is another task of CNA
4. Body Mechanic Procedures
- You must precisely change the body positions of patients at regular intervals. While changing the position you must properly change the position of pillows and see to it that the body is not very straight; bend the knees a bit
- You must be cautious while ambulating patients; patients need to be transferred from one department to another for checkups and need to be admitted and discharged from hospitals. You must have complete knowledge of patient transfer and the documentation regarding it.
- You must help patients in motion exercises so that their body does not stiffen; this involves both upper body and lower body exercises like wrist and finger rotation, snow angel, knee into chest etc.
5. Elimination Tasks
- You must provide patients with bedpans and urinary disposal bags when needed; dump the wastes sanitize the equipment and store it properly
- As a CNA you must take specimen of sputum, stool and urine for tests
- You must provide perennial care for pregnant women
6. Special Procedure Abilities
- Taking vital signs such as temperatures (oral or rectal), blood pressure and pulse and reporting changes to the supervising nurse is one of the tasks that a CNA must be able to do
- While measuring weight you must make sure that the scale is set on zero and the patient patient’s feet are flat when standing on the weighing scale
- When patients suffer from sudden cough you should ask them to take deep breaths
- You may be required to check the EKG monitor and you must be able to apply and remove the leads of the monitor
This is a list of CNA practical skills out of which five must be performed during the practical paper.
The examiner most of the time is an RN and he/ she will check how accountable you are to become CNA. This CNA skills list is a good cross-check for you just before the exam.