Top 10 Responsibilities of a CNA

Top 10 Responsibilities of a CNA
Last Updated: |   Staff Writers |   Basics

Are you on the fence about becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA? The decision will be much easier to make when you understand exactly how these healthcare professionals spend their workdays.

Top 10 Responsibilities of a Certified Nursing Assistant

During the course of any given workday, the typical CNA will handle the following responsibilities:

  1. Hygiene - CNAs help patients maintain their personal hygiene. Many are at various stages of ill health, so they require assistance with bathing, showering, brushing their teeth, and other everyday activities.
  2. Infection Control - Because they work in healthcare settings, where infections can spread easily, CNAs must practice excellent infection control. This means washing hands frequently and sanitizing patients' rooms and other areas for optimal safety.
  3. Reporting - CNAs act as eyes and ears for doctors and RNs. They take and record patients' vital signs and update their charts with observations. If they notice any changes in a patient, they report the information to their superiors.
  4. Emotional Support - Talented CNAs are compassionate and caring. Because they work closely with patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other settings, they help to provide emotional support too. By simply being there for patients, listening to what they have to say and advocating for them, CNAs make a major difference in their lives.
  5. Dietary Care - In most facilities, CNAs deliver food to patients. They also directly feed patient who are unable to do so themselves. At the same time, they often record patients' intake of food and beverages to ensure they are receiving optimal care.
  6. Equipment and Tools - When medical tools or equipment need to be moved around or otherwise prepared for RNs and doctors, CNAs are often the ones who do it. They may also be required to wipe down equipment and sanitize tools so they are in great shape whenever they are needed.
  7. Move Patients - Being a CNA is a very physical job. CNAs help incapacitated patients avoid bedsores by moving them periodically in their beds. They may also be responsible for taking patients on walks to ward off blood clots and to aid in recovery.
  8. Clean Rooms - In many facilities, CNAs are responsible for keeping patients' and residents' rooms clean and sanitized. In a hospital, they may come in after a patient leaves to get the room ready for the next patient. In nursing homes, they periodically come into residents' rooms to sweep, mop, dust, and otherwise tidy up.
  9. Administer Treatments - Although CNAs cannot administer medications, they administer treatments in other ways. For instance, they are often in charge of bedpans and often assist patients with compression stockings and other devices. It is not unusual for CNAs to give therapeutic massages and to perform similar tasks too.
  10. Answer Calls - Depending on the facility, a CNA may also be responsible for answering phone calls or with handling calls from patients' rooms. This makes sense because CNAs are typically very close with patients, and they also know whom to ask for help when it is needed.

Needless to say, there is never a dull moment in the life of a CNA. The work is immensely challenging, but those who are up to it find it incredibly rewarding too. By having a realistic understanding of what the job entails, you should be able to make a more informed decision about becoming a CNA.

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