Performing the duties of a certified nursing assistant is extremely important as part of a health care team. Certified Nursing Assistants, once schooled and trained in CNA classes, have several options for employment. Though many are employed in nursing homes, there is also much demand for them in the hospital setting. While the duties of a CNA vary only slightly between the two, the working environment is very different.
1. The role of CNA in both settings is vital to both the patients, nurses and doctors. They provide the basic patient care and are often with the patients the most than the registered nurses. In the hospital setting, they normally take care of patients of all ages whether they are children or elders.
2. Hospital CNAs may work in almost all departments. There are those who are in the specialized departments such as the intensive care unit and trauma department. Some are stationed in the emergency room. These CNAs work under the direct supervision of the registered nurse or the licensed practical nurse who give them the individual care plan of the patient. This individual care plan lists the things the CNA needs to know about the patient including how may times the vital stats are needed to be taken and anything else the patient may require. This he reports to the registered nurse in charge.
3. The CNA also needs to make the rounds once his shift begins. Throughout his shift, he will do the tasks given to him by the registered nurse in charge. Following are some of the things he needs to do during his shift:
- Observing patients
- Reporting these observations and health issues to the supervising registered nurse
- Taking care of a resident’s personal hygiene, including bed, bath, toileting etc.
- Monitoring vital signs including temperature, pulse, respiration and blood pressure
- Setting up of meal trays, and documenting food / fluid intake
- Feeding residents
- Serving nutritional supplements
- Making beds and changing linens
- Tidying up the room
- Bringing the resident to the therapy area
A CNA who is assigned in the emergency room is normally tasked to take vital signs of the patients coming and going. He may also assist the patients with toileting and answering patient call lights. He also needs to tidy up the room and change the linens once the patient vacates it.
These are some of the duties of a certified nursing assistant. The tasks may vary from state to state and according to the laws of responsibility covered by the hospital or institution he works for. As you go through your CNA classes, you will get to know the law of the state and how it will apply to your role as a CNA. Of course, your first duty is to the patient. And this is especially true when you are assigned to take care of elderly people in retirement and nursing homes.