CNA stands for Certified Nursing Assistant.
They hold one of the key positions in any healthcare team.
They interact with patients and provide them with the care they require.
The primary responsibilities of CNA include maintaining patient’s hygiene and giving them intimate assistance while they recover.
Further in this article, you will find more details about the duties, training and certification, salary, opportunities, and more.
Article Table of Contents
The Overview of the CNA Job
CNA is a specialist in the healthcare area who is ensuring that all basic needs of a patient are met.
They help them with their meals and baths while monitoring their recovery process every day.
This position is entry-level, so the salary of a CNA isn’t very high.
However, it’s a satisfying job since the CNA can create a special bond with patients and accompany them in their recovery process.
Besides, a CNA job can be the first step of the career ladder to other medical professions.
It takes only four to twelve weeks to get a certification for the profession.
After that, a CNA can earn other degrees in the healthcare area.
There are various areas in which CNAs can specialize, including assisted living, hospice care, geriatric assistance.
Alternatively, they can continue their education and earn a Licensed Practical Nursing degree or a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.
Job Responsibilities of a CNA
CNAs assist patients at a very intimate level.
They ensure that the basic needs of a patient are met, so their recovery process has the best results.
The responsibilities of a CNA include:
For a successful recovery, good personal hygiene is essential.
Many patients recovering from surgeries can’t maintain their hygiene properly due to physical aspects.
CNAs are healthcare specialists who are there to help them get it done:
- Giving baths.
- Providing/emptying urinals and bedpans.
- Helping patients to walk to the bathroom.
- Assisting patients to get on and off toilets.
- Helping patients with grooming (shaving, nail care, shampooing, etc).
- Assisting patients with oral hygiene.
- Helping patients to take a bath or a shower.
- Helping patients change their clothes.
CNA specialists also help patients have their meals, so they get the right nutrition while recovering
They should follow the instructions that the doctors and nurses give for every patient.
CNA job comprises the following responsibilities:
- Bringing food to patients.
- Feeding patients if needed according to instructions.
- Taking away plates and other items after patients had their meals.
- Controlling what and how much patients eat.
One of the most important responsibilities of CNA is infection prevention.
They should be aware of up-to-date infection control methods.
They should also efficiently use these methods to keep germs from spreading in the facility.
They are responsible for the following:
- Correctly disposing of dirty linens.
- Changing linens when they get dirty every day.
- After medical procedures, correctly disposing of medical materials.
- Cleaning and sanitizing the patient zones and outside of them according to a schedule.
With direct interaction with patients, CNA is responsible for monitoring the patients’ recovery process and behavior.
The following are the main responsibilities of a CNA:
- Recording essential signs according to schedule.
- Taking patient’s weight measurements according to schedule.
- Performing skin tests daily and notifying RN if any abnormalities are spotted (cuts, injuries, bruises).
- Getting samples of stool, urine, sputum, etc., from patients following the protocol and labeling them.
- Prepare daily reports on patients for RN.
- Immediately informing RN if the state of a patient becomes critical.
CNA’s bedside manner should be excellent as they must be able to motivate patients to invest in their recovery.
They have to interact with patients respectfully and show empathy.
They should give patients emotional comfort while recovering.
Administering Treatments and Adjunct Care
CNA’s daily responsibilities include performing basic procedures on patients.
However, they need special training for the following responsibilities which only advanced CNAs can perform:
- Performing enemas.
- Changing non sterile dressings.
- Applying ice packs and heat treatments.
- Applying restraints (when instructed).
- Surgical prep techniques (cleaning, sanitizing, shaving).
- Giving patients therapeutic baths.
CNAs have a significant impact on the recovery process of their patients.
They help them with their basic needs and provide emotional support to get through the recovery process.
Therefore, this job implies great responsibility.
The main requirements of a CNA include:
- Working in a medical team.
- The solid knowledge base in medicine.
- Strong infection control awareness.
- Excellent bedside manner.
- Organization skills.
- Empathy and compassion.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Physically able to perform job duties (lifting, bending, pushing, pulling, etc).
- Willing to work odd hours including nights, weekends, or holidays.
Training and Qualifications
Those who wish to build a career in the healthcare area will find the CNA job a perfect entry-level opportunity.
The candidates don’t need a Bachelor’s degree for this job, so it’s ideal for young applicants.
Here’s the list of qualifications for a CNA:
- Being a minimum of 18 years old.
- Having a Nursing Assistant Certification.
- Having at least six months of experience in a healthcare establishment.
Those who wish to get a CNA certification can take classes and community colleges, technical schools, hospitals, or other organizations such as the Red Cross.
Based on the format, the program can last from four to twelve months.
Besides, there are both day and night classes that you can attend.
Upon completion of the course, applicants have to pass an examination.
The exam comprises written and practical parts to properly evaluate both theoretical and practical skills.
This is an entry-level job in the healthcare area, so the salary is relatively low.
The annual salary of a CNA is reported to range between $19,000 and $32,000.
Even though the salary isn’t impressive, there are other benefits you can consider.
The most attractive advantage is that the certification process takes only one to three months.
After that, you can apply to healthcare facilities to gain the necessary six-month experience.
Within seven to ten months, candidates can earn the required qualifications and credentials for the CNA job.
Then they can apply for additional certifications to get a higher salary in the long run.
The typical working hours of a CNA comprise 8 or 12-hour shifts.
The exact shift duration will be determined by the nature of the work of a healthcare facility and the schedule they set.
CNAs may be required to work both day and night shifts.
Since patients need 24/7 care the staff at hospitals, clinics, etc., is required to work night shifts too.
Employees should be prepared to work overtime every once in a while.
If there is a medical emergency, a team of healthcare providers will be required.
As mentioned, CNA is a perfect position for entry-level candidates.
As a CNA, beginners can earn valuable experience working in a healthcare facility.
Then they can pursue further education to earn more advanced professional qualifications.
They can get certified for a variety of healthcare facilities such as nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities, hospice care centers.
They can also enroll in more advanced courses and earn degrees.
With the experience of a CNA, candidates can start their career path in a more advanced profession.
Here are some of the degrees you can pursue:
- Neonatal Nurse.
- Medical Assistant.
- Physical Therapy Aide.
- Surgical Technologist.
- Registered Nurse (RN).
- Home Health Aide.
- Dental Assistant.
- Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN).
Becoming a CNA is a great opportunity to start building a career in healthcare.
However, the responsibilities of this job are quite delicate.
So this position is a good fit for those who genuinely wish to help others and ready to do whatever it takes for this.