During your CNA training course, there will be certain truths you learn that are reinforced every day outside of the classroom. You are your patients’ advocate. You hold their lives in your hands. You are the ears, eyes, nose, and hands of the nursing staff. This last one is what we are going to discuss today.
CNA training is more than just learning facts and practicing skills. It’s also about learning how to use the information we’re taught to assist our health care team in taking care of patients. Your observation skills are essential. Without them, the nursing staff won’t know when patients are in trouble and in need of help. It can get tricky, though, after CNA training, when we have to make judgment calls based on what we smell, hear, feel, and see.
CNA Training: Types of Observation
There are three types of observations: objective, subjective, and opinion based.
Objective observations are categorized as facts after CNA training. They are measurable and can not be disputed as mere opinion. A few examples of objective observations are:
- Skin conditions
- Open wounds
- Blood in a patient’s urine
- Vital signs
- Urine output as recorded via a catheter
These observations are the same, no matter who reports them. They don’t require any type of guesswork. The second type of observations, however, differs. They are subjective and most often made by the patient. A few examples of this type of observation can include:
- A patient complaining of a headache
- A patient feeling sick to his or her stomach
- A patient reporting that they feel fatigued
While subjective observations may not be measurable, they are just as important. After CNA training, your nursing staff needs to know when patients make these types of complaints because the patient can be assessed for objective observations that confirm these issues. They can then receive the treatment they needs.
No matter what, never judge whether or not a patient is being truthful when they have a subjective observation. This isn’t what CNA training and CNA work is about. It isn’t your job to determine truth- it’s your job to report the observations. In addition, your opinion should play no part in a subjective observation.
The last type of observation is one that is based on our own opinions. This type of observation may not always be accurate, but it can still be helpful to the nursing staff if it is investigated further. Such observations can include:
- “Mrs. Jones doesn’t seem to moving around as well today.”
- “Mr. Smith seems down. I wonder if he is depressed.”
- “Mr. Hawthorne’s BM was foul smelling”
The Ways we Observe After CNA Training
There are many ways we can observe our work environment after CNA training. We can use our eyes, our ears, our hands, and even our nose to detect problems with our patients. For instance, we might see an open area of the skin, hear a patient’s labored breathing, feel a pulse, and smell body odors. In order to ensure our patients are as healthy as possible, all of the observations are critical and must be reported after CNA training.