The Official Certified Nursing Assistant Job Description

Also referred to as a home health aide, personal care assistant, nursing assistant, or patient care technician, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a trained professional who can work in a variety of settings. Before covering where a CNA might choose to pursue a career, let’s take a look at the duties or job description. Regardless of where you work, many of the responsibilities will be the same.

Certified Nursing Assistants generally work directly under the supervision of an RN, or registered nurse. Often, the CNA has more direct contact with the individual patients than doctors, specialists, or other nurses. This is due to the fact that the CNA is responsible for direct patient care and personal needs.

Certified Nursing Assistant Job Description

Here is a list of duties that may fall under the scope of a CNA’s responsibilities. Keep in mind that duties are directly related to the type of environment you choose to work in.

  • Meals: Patient feeding responsibilities. Some patients will require direct feeding, while others may just need their meal tray brought to them and set up.
  • Oral care, nail care, and basic hygiene.
  • Bathing and dressing of patient. Bathing may take place in the form of a bed bath, shower, or tub.
  • Toileting of patients. Often patients will need help with moving on and off of the facilities. Some patients may need help with a bed pan.
  • Catheter care. Changing of catheter bags and charting amounts.
  • Ambulation assistance. Some patients need help getting in and out of beds, wheelchairs, bathtubs, etc.
  • Vital signs: Blood pressure, pulse, and temperature monitoring.
  • Answering call lights.
  • Turning of bedridden patients. This is done to take the weight off of pressure points and prevent bedsores from occurring.
  • Changing bed clothes and collecting soiled laundry.
  • Light cleaning and organizing of patients room or area.
  • Relaying and charting requested information. This may include moods, vital signs, meal consumption, liquid intake, and daily BM and urine amounts.
  • Relaying information to the next CNA on shift, or to the nurse’s in charge.
  • Recreational activities, such as assisting with a walk outdoors or delivering reading material to patients.
  • Post mortem care.

Certified Nursing Assistant Career Environment Choices

Generally, the settings can be divided into two categories: The private home setting & the hospital or residential facility.

The Hospital Setting

The hospital setting can often prove to be the most demanding, and differs from other facilities because there is a constant turnover of patients. The patients you care for today, may or may not be the same people you deal with during your next shift. Since hospitals incorporate all age groups and levels of care, the range of patients you interact with can vary greatly from day to day. This should be taken into consideration before considering a career in a hospital environment.

The Residential Facility

Examples of a residential settings include assisted living facilities, centers for the developmentally disabled, retirement homes, Hospice or end of life care, and adult day care facilities. There are also transitional settings, such as rehabilitation centers. These types of facilities provide an environment in which you can actually get to know your patients, their moods, likes and dislikes, and their medical needs.

The Private Home Health Aide

Many families find it necessary to provide the services of a certified nursing assistant to a loved one, but don’t want to disturb their overall quality of life or take them out of the comfort of their home environment. In these situations, a CNA can often find excellent career opportunities. The private home will most likely allow you to work one-on-one with the patient and become more like a trusted friend. Your duties may include light cooking, cleaning, and laundry along with normal CNA duties. If you get along well with the patient, this can be a very rewarding experience for both parties.

Regardless of which environment you choose to work in, the duties of a CNA can be challenging. Before choosing the type of environment that is perfect for you, be sure to make a pros and cons list and take into consideration which type of work you would find most rewarding.