You've completed your Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, educational program, taken your exam, and received your license. Now you're ready to apply for jobs. While many CNAs work in hospitals, many others work in nursing homes, assisted living homes, and similar facilities. CNAs in nursing homes do many of the same things as CNAs in hospitals. However, there are some pretty important differences, and the general nature of the work tends to be different too. In the following, learn more about how CNAs in nursing homes spend their workdays to decide if this line of work is right for you.
Why Do Nursing Homes Need CNAs?
Of the many places where CNAs can find employment, nursing homes and related facilities are among the most prevalent. That's largely because the population of elderly people in the U.S. has been skyrocketing, and that will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future. Nursing homes often house dozens or even hundreds of residents, and someone has to care for their basic needs and keep the place spic and span. That's where CNAs come in, and it's why they are always highly sought after by nursing homes.
Typical Duties of CNAs in Nursing Homes
The main duties of CNAs working at nursing homes include:
- Bathe, Clean, and Clothe Residents - People in nursing homes range from being nearly independent to being almost completely helpless. Most fall somewhere in the middle. Residents who need help with bathing typically rely on CNAs, whether it's a sponge bath in bed or help using the shower. CNAs may also assist residents with brushing their teeth and taking care of other personal hygiene matters. They also help dress elderly residents who may struggle to button shirts, close zippers, or handle other aspects of getting clothed.
- Feed Residents - CNAs are usually the ones who deliver meals to residents in nursing homes. If residents eat meals in a common area, CNAs may be kept on hand to help feed them.
- Clean Rooms - Although some nursing homes have cleaning services, others rely on CNAs to keep the premises clean, tidy, and sanitized. When residents are away from their rooms, CNAs may come in to scrub, sweep, vacuum, and mop those areas. They are also sometimes responsible for keeping common areas clean. Therefore, if you are hired by a nursing home, you can expect to do a lot of cleaning.
- Monitor Residents' Conditions - Nursing homes have registered nurses who rely on CNAs for updates about residents' conditions. For example, if you notice a bedsore developing on a resident, you would report it to the head nurse. CNAs tend to spend a lot of one-on-one time with nursing home residents, so they should be on the lookout for potential issues at all times.
- Work with People with Various Physical and Mental Conditions - Finally, CNAs come into contact with people with various stages of ill health. Some nursing home residents are almost entirely healthy. However, many have conditions ranging from mild to incapacitating. Nursing homes have separate wards for people with the most serious conditions. As a CNA, you can expect to work with residents with dementia, cancer, and other conditions, so having compassion is an absolute must.
Working in a nursing home is demanding. Because residents rely so heavily on CNAs, however, it's very rewarding too. CNAs make a real difference in nursing home residents' lives, so if you like the sound of that, you may be a good fit.