This week is National Nursing Assistant’s Week! We want to highlight and honor this wonderful career while also educating those who may not quite understand all of the duties this job contains. Certified nursing assistants are key players in the lives of the people in their care. Their main role is to provide basic care to patients, as well as assist them in daily activities they might have trouble with on their own. In nursing or long-term care facilities, a CNA is often a patient’s main caregiver.
Nursing assistants can enjoy this field in many different areas of healthcare and under many different titles. These various titles can include: Nursing Assistant, CNA or Certified Nurse Assistant, Direct Care Worker, Nurse Aide, Care Assistant, Caregiver, Hospice Aide, In-Home Care Aide, ED Assistant, Resident Assistant, Hospice Assistant, Patient Care Assistant, Personal Care Assistant, Geriatric Aide, Restorative Aide, Health Care Assistant, and many more titles.
In most areas of healthcare, CNA’s assist patients with daily activities and while some CNA’s have additional responsibilities, the core functions on the job include:
Bathe and dress patients
Comb hair, shave, clean nails, and brush patients’ teeth
Serve meals and help patients eat
Take vital signs
Turn/ reposition patients who are bedridden; help with transferring/ walking
Collect information about conditions from patients, caregivers, nurses, and doctors (always talk to the patient while caring for them to learn more about them and their conditions)
Provide and empty bedpans
Lift patients into beds, wheelchairs, exam tables, etc.
Answer patient calls
Examine patients for bruises, blood in urine or other injuries/wounds
Clean and sanitize patient areas
Change bed sheets and restock rooms with necessary supplies
Transporting patients to and from different areas of the nursing home or hospital
Setting up equipment for the nurse or doctor
Help patients participate in various activities
Light housekeeping in patient rooms such as making beds
Aspiring CNA’s should understand the job isn’t glamorous and can be graphic at times. Compassion and patience should be of the utmost qualities of a CNA. From dressing wounds to cleaning a patient after an accident to taking care of many patients at one time for many hours, CNA’s are often put to the test on a daily basis.
Unlike many other nursing jobs, a certified nursing assistant doesn’t need to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher to practice. However, formal training resulting in a postsecondary certificate or award is required. The training typically combines basic nursing principles with hands-on supervised clinical work. You can find CNA training classes at local hospitals, colleges, technical schools and sometimes even at local nursing homes such at Mitchell-Hollingsworth. Once the course is completed, a state-required exam is to be taken. Becoming a CNA can also benefit you in getting a foot in the door of the health care industry. While you will learn if this is the career for you, you can also find areas of healthcare you enjoy most and begin building repor with industry workers. It is a great stepping stone before becoming an LPN or RN which can also lead to even more career options.
As the population ages and those who are disabled and need long-term care, the role of certified nursing assistants has become more necessary. An upside to choosing a long-term care facility is the relationships you make with the patients and residents. We love and appreciate our CNA’s so much and we understand their job is often not an easy one. If you have more questions about becoming a CNA, please reach out to us and let us know. We would love to have you apart of our team!