5 Duties of a CNA

A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a healthcare professional who works under the direct supervision of a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse in order to assist patients with a broad range of healthcare needs. CNAs work in a number of different settings, including assisting living facilities, personal residences, adult care facilities, nursing homes and hospitals. Regardless of the workplace, the duties of a CNA are very similar.

1. Assist patients with basic living activities.

CNAs assist patients who are struggling with basic living activities. Some of the duties that a CNA performs include serving the patients meals and helping them to eat if necessary, helping patients use the toilet and get dressed, combing patients’ hair, brushing their teeth and shaving. CNAs also clean and bathe their patients as well as turn, transfer and reposition them between the bed and the wheelchair. A certified nursing assistant will assist patients who wish to participate in various activities but can’t do so without assistance.

2. Listen to patients’ health concerns.

One of the key duties of a CNA is to help his or her RN supervisor to do his or her job. For example, while a CNA is doing his or her work, he or she may talk to the patient and listen to any health concerns before recording them in an electronic system or on paper. After a CNA takes notes, he or she will report this new information to the nurses in charge as efficiently and accurately as possible.

3. Measure patients’ vital signs.

While CNAs go about their duties of helping patients use the toilet, bathing them and feeding them, a CNA must also ensure he or she is taking patients’ vital signs as well. Making sure to document blood pressure and temperature every day is a critical way for CNAs to help their RN supervisors keep tabs on the health of each patient. In addition, CNAs will need to record each patient’s pain level, weight and pulse. It’s important to take these vital signs on-time as dictated by the facility’s schedule and accurately report them every single time.

4. Housekeeping.

Housekeeping is one of the most overlooked jobs of a CNA, but it is definitely vital to the flow of the facility. If the patients for whom a CNA cares don’t have the ability to care for themselves, chances are that they can’t properly care for their living quarters or immediate environment either. CNAs must clean their patients’ rooms every few days, and if a CNA is working within a home environment, he or she is also responsible for cleaning and tidying the living area, bathroom and kitchen. Also, CNAs must move the patient from his or her bed every few days to wash the linens and put fresh sheets on the bed.

5. Tending to patient problems and issues.

CNAs typically work with patients who are suffering from one or more health problems, the details of which will depend on each individual patient. However, all CNAs spend much of their time working to manage those problems. For instance, in some cases, a CNA might need to tend to wounds by cleaning them, dressing them and checking to make sure the wounds are properly healing. Also, CNAs must make sure their patients are not developing bed sores from laying in one position in the bed for too long. It’s critical for CNAs to be proactive by re-positioning their patients often and regularly turning them.

It goes without saying that CNAs are among the most important healthcare professionals in the industry. From housekeeping and medical care to helping with basic everyday activities, the certified nursing assistant strives to make a strong difference in the lives of his or her patients.