Career Development

What Does a Certified Nursing Assistant Do?

Find out what a certified nursing assistant does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a certified nursing assistant.

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are the backbone of modern healthcare. They’re responsible for a wide range of duties, from taking vital signs and feeding patients to changing bedpans and administering medications.

They work under the supervision of registered nurses and physicians, but they often have a great deal of autonomy in their day-to-day jobs. This means that they must be able to think on their feet and make decisions quickly—sometimes even without the guidance of a doctor or nurse.

Certified Nursing Assistant Job Duties

Certified nursing assistants have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Observing patients’ behavior and reporting changes to the nurse or physician, such as displaying signs of depression or anxiety
  • Providing basic personal care services such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and feeding patients
  • Taking medical histories of new patients and updating information about existing patients
  • Collecting and processing specimens for diagnostic tests such as cultures or blood tests
  • Recording patients’ vital signs such as temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure at regular intervals
  • Preparing patients for examinations and treatments such as bathing, shaving, and applying makeup
  • Helping patients with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, grooming, dressing, feeding, cleaning up after using the bathroom, and taking medications
  • Assisting with the administration of medication and treatments, such as changing bandages, applying lotions, or performing physical therapy exercises
  • Providing emotional support to patients and families by helping them cope with stress and anxiety

Certified Nursing Assistant Salary & Outlook

Certified nursing assistants’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $31,500 ($15.14/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $47,000 ($22.6/hour)

The employment of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

The large baby-boom population is expected to lead to an increase in the number of older people, who typically require more healthcare services than younger people do. As a result, demand for CNAs will increase as these healthcare needs are met.

Related: In-Depth Certified Nursing Assistant Salary Guide

Certified Nursing Assistant Job Requirements

A certified nursing assistant typically needs to have the following:

Education: Most nursing assistants are required to have at least a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed a nursing assistant program. These programs typically take six to eight months to complete and include both classroom and practical instruction.

Training & Experience: Most CNA training is part of the CNA program. Students will learn about patient care, infection control, CPR and other skills during their training program. CNAs who have previous experience as nursing assistants or home health aides will transfer their skills to their new role.

Certifications & Licenses: After completing their training, CNA candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). This certifies them to work as a CNA in the United States.

Certified Nursing Assistant Skills

Certified nursing assistants need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are essential for a certified nursing assistant. You must be able to communicate with patients, doctors, other medical staff and patients’ families. You must also be able to communicate effectively with other nursing assistants and other hospital staff.

Empathy and compassion: As a certified nursing assistant, you should be able to empathize with patients and their families. This can help you to better understand their needs and provide them with the care they need.

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is a skill that can help you perform your job well. As a certified nursing assistant, you may be responsible for recording patient information, entering data into a computer and performing other tasks that require accuracy. Having a strong attention to detail can help you perform your job well and keep your patients safe.

Physical stamina: Physical stamina refers to the ability to perform tasks for extended periods of time. As a certified nursing assistant, you may be required to lift and move patients, clean rooms and perform other tasks that require physical stamina.

Technological skills: As a certified nursing assistant, you may be required to use computers and other technology to complete tasks. This may include using a scheduling program to check patients in and out of the hospital, using a computer to enter patient information into a database or using a computer to check in with a supervisor. Technological skills can also include using a phone to communicate with patients or other medical staff.

Certified Nursing Assistant Work Environment

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) work in a variety of health care settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. They typically work under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). CNAs typically work the day shift, but they may also work evenings, nights, or weekends, depending on the needs of their patients and their employers. Many CNAs work part time, and some work overtime hours. The work can be physically demanding, and CNAs may have to lift or turn patients who are unable to do so themselves. The work can also be emotionally demanding, as CNAs care for patients who are often sick, injured, or dying.

Certified Nursing Assistant Trends

Here are three trends influencing how certified nursing assistants work. Certified nursing assistants will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Diverse Workforce

The nursing assistant profession is in need of a more diverse workforce in order to better serve the needs of patients.

As the population becomes more diverse, so too does the need for healthcare professionals who can understand and communicate with them. This is especially true for patients who speak different languages or come from different cultural backgrounds.

Certified nursing assistants who are able to communicate effectively with patients will be highly valued in the workplace, as they will be able to provide better care for all types of patients.

More Focus on Patient Care

As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, there is an increasing focus on patient care. This means that certified nursing assistants will need to be well-versed in a variety of skills in order to provide the best possible care for their patients.

Some of the most important skills that CNA’s will need to have include communication, empathy, and patience. These skills will help CNA’s to better understand the needs of their patients and to provide the support that they need. In addition, CNA’s will also need to be familiar with a variety of medical equipment and procedures in order to provide the best possible care.

A Growing Demand for Home Health Services

The demand for home health services is growing rapidly as more and more people are choosing to receive care in their own homes. This trend is likely to continue in the future, as more and more people are realizing the benefits of living in their own homes while receiving care.

As the demand for home health services grows, certified nursing assistants will be in high demand. They are essential members of the team that provides care in the home, and they are responsible for providing basic care and assistance to patients.

How to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant

A career as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) can be a great way to start your nursing career. It’s a good way to learn about the different areas of nursing and get experience working with patients. You’ll also develop important skills, such as communication, teamwork, and patient care.

As you progress in your CNA career, you may want to consider becoming a registered nurse (RN). RNs have more responsibility than CNAs and often work in specialty areas of nursing. They also have more opportunities for advancement.

Related: How to Write a Certified Nursing Assistant Resume

Advancement Prospects

The most common way to advance in this field is to become a registered nurse. To do this, you will need to complete an accredited nursing program and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Once you are a registered nurse, you will have many more opportunities for advancement. You could become a nurse manager, nurse educator, nurse practitioner, or even a nurse researcher.

If you are interested in staying in the field of nursing but do not want to become a registered nurse, you could become a certified nurse assistant. To do this, you will need to complete an accredited nursing program and pass the NCLEX-CNA exam. Once you are a certified nurse assistant, you will have many more opportunities for advancement. You could become a nurse manager, nurse educator, nurse practitioner, or even a nurse researcher.

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