Top 7 Habits of Highly Effective CNAs

Do you have what it takes to be a CNA? Certain characteristics come in handy in this line of work. Learn about the top habits of effective CNAs in this post.
Top 7 Habits of Highly Effective CNAs

A quick way to breaking into nursing is by becoming a CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant. The schooling and licensing are fairly simple, but that doesn't mean the work is for everyone. Certain personality traits and habits come very much in handy in this line of work. Those who possess them tend to have an easier time during learning, and they also tend to excel generally in the field. Learn about the top habits and traits of CNAs to see if you're naturally suited for this line of work.

Every CNA is different, but efficient ones typically possess these traits or habits:


CNAs work with patients who are often ill, infirm, injured, mentally impaired, or otherwise experiencing tough times. This doesn't tend to bring out the best in people, and CNAs must be able to respond to angry or upset patients calmly and patiently. People who are easily riled up don't tend to last long as CNAs.


Compassion is a crucial trait for any CNA, and it stems from empathy. You must be able to put yourself in people's shoes to understand problems from their perspective. Empathetic CNAs are better able to deliver superior care to their patients.

Physical Strength

The work of a CNA is physically demanding. They are on their feet for hours on end, and they often have to help physically lift or otherwise move patients from beds to wheelchairs, gurneys, and the like. If you tend to tire easily, this may not be the job for you.


No two days are ever alike for a CNA. Those who don't depend on routines flourish in this line of work. Those who require strict schedules to excel, on the other hand, often flounder. You must be willing and able to go with the flow to be the best CNA you can be.

Observational Skills

Keen observational skills are priceless for any CNA. This line of work demands acute attention to detail. You can't just gloss over crucial details like blood pressure readings and the like. Furthermore, you are tasked with observing patients and getting them the help they need when warranted. This is not a job for someone who daydreams constantly.

Communication Skills

CNAs work more closely with patients than anyone on the floor. To advocate effectively for them, they must possess strong communication skills. These skills also come in handy when conveying crucial information to RNs, supervisors and other colleagues. They also make it easier to get information across to patients and their families.


Finally, CNAs work in fast-paced, often chaotic environments. They are busy from the minute they clock in until the minute they leave. Along the way, there is no time for hemming and hawing. Decisions must be made quickly and decisively, or nothing will be accomplished. If you can think and act quickly even while under tremendous amounts of pressure, you are going to do just fine as a CNA. If you tend to overthink things or be too caught up in small, unimportant details, you may struggle.

There's no magic way to make sure you will excel as a CNA. If you possess all or most of the preceding traits and habits, however, you're already ahead of the game and are sure to do well.

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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