Certified nursing assistants (CNA) careers aren’t for everyone. To be effective at the job, he must be a people person. He or she must be kind, patient, mature and most of all, compassionate towards others. The job description of a CNA is very physical – so he must have the ability to do things that require a lot of back breaking work such as heavy lifting, walking and standing for prolonged periods of time. He should be able to read, write and speak in English in order to follow simple oral and written instructions and complete standard hospital forms. Another language is also an advantage. He must be able to perform simple arithmetic calculations and must have a general knowledge of hospital policies, protocols and organizational structure or unit.
A Certified Nursing Assistant normally assists registered nurses with basic medical and patient care. CNAs can assist patients with ADLs so the registered nurses can focus on what they must do with patients. CNAs generally perform tasks such as monitoring vital signs and providing hands-on care. Routine tasks such as answering calls for help, making beds, serving meals, delivering messages and tidying up the patient’s room are all part of the job description of a Certified Nursing Assistant. All this he or she performs under the supervision of the nursing and medical staff. CNAs sometimes handle and are responsible for taking a patient’s blood pressure, body temperature, pulse rate, and respiration rate. Assisting patients with daily activities such as getting in and out of bed, escorting, walking them and ensuring that they get their daily exercise are another aspect of their job description. Specific duties may vary by area of assignment.
On days that a CNA finds himself not busy with his normal routine of activities, he can also help the hospital staff with part of their duties. He can assist the hospital staff with storing and moving medical supplies and equipment, setting up medical equipment, and helping with some other hospital procedures. Since he works directly with the patients, he is in a good position to observe patients’ overall state and may report the patients’ physical, emotional and mental states to the nursing or medical staff.
Certified nursing assistants are also referred to as nurse aids and can be employed in nursing homes, residential care facilities, and hospitals. They report directly to the Licensed Practical Nurse or Registered Nurse. They perform most of their tasks under their supervision CNAs are not registered nurses so do not have the powers of a nurse, but they provide assistance to registered nurses in their duties. CNAs are often very experienced but are unable to perform many advanced duties due to legal issues and lack of full training.