Certified nursing assistants occupy an often invisible but very necessary role in the medical field. In short, CNAs help in the overall operation of a nursing home or clinic by providing one-to-one feedback between the patient and the nurses/doctors and doing routine tasks for patients, freeing up the nurses and doctors to do the more specialized things. However, there is more to it than that and understanding what the duties of a CNA are can help you decide if this is really the job for you.
Obviously the most important part of the job as a CNA is working with patients. This entails a wide range of things, from taking vitals, to bathing, to collecting urine and fecal samples, to helping them exercise. Certified nursing assistants are on the ground floor of patient care and are needed to provide feedback and open communication between the patients and their nurses and doctors. It’s important therefore to build up a level of trust, compassion, empathy and patience combined with the ability to keep accurate records and be able to notice details that may point to a problem with the patient.
As part of patient care, many CNAs end up working with families too, from offering comfort to helping build schedules for the patient’s recovery. While anything medical will be handled by the doctor, the CNA can help calm the family down.
CNAs will also be called on to help with emergency work with a level head. CNAs may have to calm patients down, aid if there is a violent patient, and help deal with stressful situations. This is rough work, but it’s important to stay calm and collected or else your feelings will only add to the general disarray and make nobody’s lives easier.
One of the other important duties of a CNA is to take good, daily records of the patient’s vital signs, physical well being and emotional well being. This is something that nursing assistants are well qualified to do; they work most closely with patients and so are best able to see if something is off that could turn into something worse if it’s not dealt with. Patients are sometimes more willing to talk to their nursing assistants whom they see every day rather than the registered nurse or doctor. For these reasons, it’s important to keep accurate records of the patients’ day to day life so that the doctor and nurse will know what to expect and what to look for.
While the day to day duties of a CNA may seem tedious, it’s incredibly important to the stability and well being of everyone living and working in the nursing home or hospital. For this reason, it takes the right combination of compassion and diligence to the job well. However, if you think you’ll be suitable for helping patients, dealing with emergencies, and keeping good records, then you will be invaluable working as a certified nursing assistant.