Typical Duties Handled by CNAs

Typical Duties Handled by CNAs
Last Updated: |   Staff Writers |   Career

A CNA is a Certified Nursing Assistant / Nurse Aide. As the name suggests itself, they work as assistants to nurses. Also called "orderlies", they assist doctors as well.

What Do CNAs Do?

During the course of a typical workday, the average CNA will take on a multitude of tasks. While specific job responsibilities vary depending on the circumstances, the vast majority of CNAs handle these duties on a regular basis:

  • Take Care of Patients' Rooms - CNAs are often responsible for sanitizing and cleaning patients' rooms and common areas. This includes using cleaning supplies to scrub areas down, changing sheets, and restocking room supplies.
  • Bathe and Dress Patients - Because they are usually charged with the basic care of patients, CNAs are usually the ones who bathe and dress those who cannot do so themselves.
  • Serve Meals - In addition to delivering meals to patients' rooms, CNAs often also feed patients who are incapable of feeding themselves. Therefore, they must possess excellent people skills and should be patient and compassionate.
  • Take Vital Signs - Although RNs sometimes handle this, in busy workplaces CNAs are often the first to greet new patients or to visit their rooms in the morning. When they do, they often take vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, and more.
  • Assist Bedridden Patients - Being bedridden causes bedsores and other issues. Therefore, CNAs are often responsible for moving and/or turning bedridden patients to keep these problems from developing. They may also assist patients with using walkers and other devices to move around the floor for a little exercise.
  • Provide and Empty Bedpans - Many patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities rely on bedpans. In most cases, CNAs are responsible for providing clean bedpans and emptying old ones.
  • Answer Patient Calls - When a patient calls for a basic service like a drink, a CNA is typically the one who handles it. Similarly, CNAs often take calls from patients who are now home after being treated and from those who are getting ready to come in for care.
  • Set Up Medical Equipment and Tools - CNAs help doctors, RNs, and other healthcare professionals in many ways. One example is moving around crucial medical equipment and delivering it where it needs to be. They often lay out tools for physicians and others to ensure they have everything they need to deliver first-rate care to patients. For this reason, CNAs should have a basic understanding of such tools and equipment.
  • Observe Patients - Oftentimes, CNAs spend the most one-on-one time with patients. As a result, they often report their observations to RNs, doctors, and others to make sure everyone is on the same page. They also tend to develop close connections with patients for this reason.
  • Act as Intermediaries - In many ways, CNAs help to pull the whole team together. They work on the front lines with patients and are capable of advocating for them with registered nurses. They may deliver messages from RNs and other staff members to doctors and others.

While a CNA's specific duties vary a little, one thing's for sure: they never have a dull moment during their workdays. If the idea of nonstop action sounds good to you, start pursuing your career as a CNA today.

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