The 6 Most Essential Tools for CNAs

Certified Nursing Assistants, or CNAs, rely on many tools to properly perform their daily duties. Learn about the most common tools used by these healthcare professionals in this article.
The 6 Most Essential Tools for CNAs

If you're considering pursuing a career as a CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant, you should learn as much as you can about the job before starting your program. You probably already have a decent idea about what CNAs do, but what about the tools they use? You will get acquainted with the most common CNA tools while completing your program, but it never hurts to learn more about them ahead of time. By knowing what to expect, you are sure to get through your schooling easily.

Although CNAs' job duties vary from employer to employer, the vast majority rely on the following tools throughout their workdays:


CNAs are usually responsible for taking patients' vital signs, and a stethoscope really comes in handy for that. It can be used to not only check a patient's pulse and heart rate, but their blood pressure too. As a CNA, you're sure to have a stethoscope dangling from your neck more often than not.

Gait Belt

As a CNA, you will regularly have to help patients get around. This typically entails moving patients from their beds into their wheelchairs and vice-versa or helping support their weight while they walk. For safety's sake, CNAs use gait belts for such tasks. It helps ward off back injuries and protects patients too.

Surgical Scissors

Because CNAs are often responsible for changing patients' dressings and general wound care, they typically carry around surgical scissors. These scissors can also be used to quickly remove clothes from a patient in distress, so they are crucial to have on hand. Most CNAs own at least a few pairs, so you can expect to stock up on them for your first job.


Obtaining a patient's temperature is an important part of getting their vital signs. Naturally, a thermometer is quite useful under such circumstances. While some CNAs use traditional thermometers, which patients hold under their tongues, some have more advanced electronic models. Many thermometers don't need to be used orally or rectally, either. For instance, many can take a patient's temperature through the ear or simply by being pressed against the forehead.

Protective Gear

During the course of a typical workday, a CNA can expect to come into contact with various bodily fluids. CNAs often administer suppositories, collect urine samples, and, in some states, perform catheterizations. Needless to say, they must take steps to shield themselves, so protective gear is a must. Gloves, masks, protective eyewear, gowns, and caps are all examples of the type of gear you can expect to use as a CNA.

Aids for the Disabled

CNAs work closely with disabled individuals who need a lot of assistance to take care of everyday tasks. Special aids for the disabled make the work much easier. They include special stools and seats for more safely showering and bathing patients as well as bedpans and bedside commodes. These devices help keep patients comfortable and make CNAs' jobs a lot easier.

As a new CNA, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by all the tools and equipment needed to get through your days. Don't worry. You'll quickly get the hang of them and soon understand why they are so essential. Before too long, you'll be using them like a seasoned professional.

Amanda Jordan
Amanda Jordan

A registered nurse with a BSN degree, skillfully simplifies complex medical topics as a healthcare writer, contributing valuable insights to a diverse audience.

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