Counting and Recording Respiration Rates After CNA Training

cna trainingCNA Training

After CNA training, you will have to perform a number of different skills in the workplace. The most common skill you will learn during the process of your CNA training, and perform after, is taking vital signs. While this is a skill in and of itself, this skill contains several different and completely separate skills, like:



  • Measuring radial pulse


  • Measuring blood pressure


  • Taking a temperature


  • Counting respiration rates

Today, we are going to discuss the last skill related to obtaining vital signs, recording and counting respiration rates. In the following article, we will provide you with step by step instructions on how to perform this important and necessary skill after you finish CNA training.


After CNA Training: Respiration Rates


As you will be instructed during CNA training, a patient’s respiration rate is the amount of time he or she breathes during an entire minute. Changes to this respiration rate can often indicate a patient is suffering from an illness, stress, or a serious medical problem. This is why it is so important to learn how to properly count and record a respiration rate during CNA training.


  • As with all skills you perform after you complete CNA training, make sure to take the time to wash your hands before you begin this skill. This will ensure that any germs you have picked up caring for one of your patients are not spread to any others.


  • It is often best to record a patient’s respiration right after you count their pulse or while you are having a conversation with the patient. As you learned while you were enrolled in CNA training, when a patient knows you are counting the number of times they are breathing, their breathing patterns can sometimes change involuntarily. By not revealing you are actually counting his breaths, you can obtain a more accurate reading.


  • Watch your patient’s breathing very carefully. A single respiration is counted each time a patient’s chest rises and falls. If the patient isn’t breathing deeply, it may be difficult to discern when the patient’s chest rises and falls, so watch carefully.


  • Count the patient’s breathes for an entire minute.


  • Search for any indications of labored breathing and make sure he is able to take deep breaths. As you learned while you were enrolled in CNA training, any breathing problems should be immediately be reported to your charge nurse.


  • Once you have finished counting your patient’s respiration rate, record the result you obtain in the patient’s medical chart or report it to the nurse as instructed.


The Importance of Measuring Respiration Rate After CNA Training


Patients should breath 12 to 18 times a minute, however, their actual respiration rate can vary depending on the circumstances. As you learned while you were in CNA training, an individual’s respiration will be slower when they are sleeping, resting, or taking certain medications. The respiration rate will increase, however, when a person experiences stress, is in pain, is suffering from an injury or illness, or is having a breathing problem. After CNA training, you should be able to watch, count, and record respirations rates so you can notice signs of distress in their early stages. This way, you can ensure your patients are provided with the vital care they need.


While counting a patient’s respiration during your CNA training state exam will require you to understand and have the knowledge necessary to perform the skill perfectly, it is even more essential to know how to use this skill once your CNA training is complete. By learning it, you could save your patients’ lives after CNA training.

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