The Skills a Certified Nursing Assistant Must be Able to Perform

If you are interested in entering the field of medicine by becoming a certified nursing assistant, one thing you may want to have knowledge of is the exact set of skills you will be required to know and perform on a daily basis.

It’s best to find out what the requirements of a certified nursing assistant are now, hopefully before you’ve enrolled in your CNA training. This will help you decide whether becoming a certified nursing assistant is right for you.

A certified nursing assistant’s duties are not to be taken lightly. CNAs are vital to the safety, care, and well being of the patients they are responsible for. CNAs help with the flow of efficiency in the hospital or institutional setting.

Bottom line?…A certified nursing assistant runs on a good deal of compassion. Basic skills include every personal duty that recovering, aging, or disabled patients can’t do for themselves. What does this mean in regular “non-medical” terminology? If you become a certified nursing assistant, you will be expected to have a working knowledge of the following:

  • CPR Certification – As a certified nursing assistant, you will be expected to be skilled in all emergency procedures. You must be able to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and be familiar with all Code Blue, emergency terminology.
  • Proactive and Aware of Patient Needs – Being a CNA is so much more than just filling out a chart and keeping an eye on a patient’s blood pressure or other vital signs. As an important part of the patient care team, a proactive CNA should report any and all changes in a patient’s condition to the appropriate authority on staff. This reporting involves heart rate changes, food related changes or reactions, and body temperature changes.
  • Uphold Patient Rights – A certified nursing assistant has a responsibility to uphold all that encompasses a patient’s rights. Patient’s ┬árights may include, but are not limited to the following examples: A right to privacy, a right to being updated and aware of procedures and diagnosis, a right to confidentiality, and a right to accept or refuse treatment or procedures.
  • Basic Care – Probably one of the most intimate patient relationships is with the certified nursing assistant. This is due to the fact that a CNA is responsible for fulfilling basic care needs that include very personal duties, such as toileting, bathing, shaving, dressing, and other personal duties. The CNA must find a way to perform these sensitive duties in a very caring yet formal manner, so as to avoid any unnecessary feelings of embarrassment or apprehension from the patient. The patient / CNA relationship is based on trust.
  • Answers to Call Lights and Verbal Requests – The CNA must be quick to respond to patient requests, whether they seem regular or out of the ordinary.
  • Report and Deal with Patient Incidents – Unfortunately, there are the occasional patient incidents. A patient you are responsible for may fall, hurt themselves in some way, or hurt another patient. When this happens, the CNA must be able to assist in the immediate situation and report the incident to the nurse or doctor on duty at that time.

The rest of the certified nursing assistant’s duties fall into the category of “assistance.” These may include the following:

  • Helping patients with perambulation (walking, moving in and out of wheelchairs, etc.)
  • Repositioning patients when in bed or seated
  • Administering restraints if and when necessary (side rails, roll belts, hand or foot restraints, etc.)
  • Serving food
  • Bathing and dressing
  • Assisting with toilet duties
  • Transporting patients in non ambulatory situations (by wheelchair, gurney, etc.)
  • Tooth care
  • Monitoring of IVs
  • Skin and hair care

As you can see, there is quite a list of duties involved in becoming a CNA. It is not a career to be taken lightly, but it should be mentioned that the personal rewards, sense of pride and accomplishment with this career are phenomenal. Learn more about becoming a CNA by checking out our other blog posts and subscribing to our information RSS feed.

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