Category Archives for CNA Topics

Sample CNA Job Description – See What Employers Are Looking For

The nursing assistant is responsible for performing a variety of resident care and related nonprofessional duties, while assisting the professional staff in helping to comfort and care for the personal needs of residents. These duties can include feeding, personal grooming and baths. The nursing aide is also responsible for maintaining certain office and departmental procedures, objectives, policies, safety, infection control and environmental standards. They are also mindful that their position requires them to incorporate the mission and philosophy of the center, while incorporating the center’s goal of affording residents quality care in a personal manner that focuses on the individuals dignity.

The position of the CNA is by no means an easy job. The majority of the tasks that are needed to keep a health care center or hospital functioning properly are all performed by the nursing assistant. CNA’s are in the front line of providing care for hundreds of millions of aging patients, recovering patients and terminally ill patients. The CNA job description provided here will give you a more in depth insight as to all the duties and requirements of becoming a certified nursing assistant or certified nurses aide.

CNA Job Description

  • CNA’s are currently employed by nursing homes, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and private citizens.
  • CNA’s work is performing grooming, bathing, dressing, brushing teeth, combing hair and feeding patients.
  • CNA is often required to be able to help lift the patient in and out of bed.
  • CNA is often required to take a patient to and from treatments and surgeries.
  • CNA may be required to lift the patient out of bed and help them into a wheelchair.
  • CNA may be required to ensure that the patient has plenty of exercise each day.
  • CNA may be required they are responsible for taking the vital signs of the patient.
  • CNA may be required day to day activities of the patient, activities such as cleaning soiled clothing.

Certified nursing assistants are currently employed by nursing homes, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and private citizens to care for and provide everyday needs for patients. The majority of the CNA’s work is performing personal duties for patients, such as grooming, bathing, dressing, brushing teeth, combing hair and feeding patients. The CNA is often required to be able to help lift the patient in and out of bed, and needs to be in a good physical state to perform this duty regularly.

In addition to lifting the patient to and from bed, it is often required to take a patient to and from treatments and surgeries, and to help them with walking if necessary. For patients with the inability to walk, the nurses aide may be required to lift the patient out of bed and help them into a wheelchair. If the CNA works for a long term health facility, additional duties may be to ensure that the patient gets out of bed and has plenty of exercise each day, participates in field trips and participates in the facilities group activities.

Whether the nurses assistant works for nursing homes, hospitals, outpatient clinics, or private citizens, they are responsible for taking the vital signs of the patient, monitoring physical and mental behaviors and to answer the call for help from the patient if applicable. Because the CNA is so involved in the day to day activities of the patient, activities such as cleaning soiled clothing, cleaning bed pans and soiled bedding is not uncommon. There are some other duties around the facility the CNA may also be responsible for such as cleaning the room of the patient, keeping the storerooms clean and doing laundry. The nurses assistant will work under the direct supervision of experienced nurses and must report any conditions concerning the patient’s health to the staff at the facility.

CNA General Requirements

  • CNA should have an extreme amount of patience and compassion.
  • CNA should have a sincere concern for patients.
  • CNA should have excellent communication skills.
  • CNA should be a dependable and dedicated person who can take orders.
  • CNA should be able to work on repetitive tasks daily on a regular basis.
  • CNA will be on their feet for extended hours each day.
  • CNA should have upper body strength to lift patients to and from bed.
  • CNA should also have excellent personal habits.

The leading requirement for anyone considering a position as a CNA is that they have an extreme amount of patience and compassion, and a sincere concern for patients. Excellent communication skills are vital in the nursing field because of the involvement with injured, serious ill and many times confused patients. Patients can become very angry, irritable and uncooperative when first entering a long term facility, and the job of the CNA is to understand the underlying concerns of the patient and to make them as comfortable as possible during their stay. The position of certified nursing assistant or certified nurses aide calls for a dependable and dedicated person who can take orders, work on repetitive tasks daily and be able to report findings to supervisors on a regular basis.

The certified nursing assistant or certified nurses aide must be physically fit to perform the day to day operations in the facility with their patient. The CNA will most likely be on their feet for extended hours each day and escorting the patient to and from the bathroom, hospital, physical therapy, group activities and just walks around the center. Having upper body strength is a must for the certified nurses aide because they will have to lift patients to and from bed, the bath and the toilet each day.

The certified nursing assistant should also have excellent personal habits. The working conditions in a hospital and long term facility are sterile and excellent hygiene and the ability to keep your area or the patient’s area neat and organized so they are free from contaminants is vital.

CNA Certification and Education

  • CNA should have a GED or high school diploma.
  • CNA should have state training programs that require 6-12 weeks to complete and are state approved.
  • CNA must pass a certification exam.
  • CNA may be required to take part in continued educational training every two or four years.

To get started in the certified nursing assistant or certified nurses aide field, a GED or high school diploma are sufficient enough to get started in the field. Depending on which state you reside in, there are in state training programs that require 6-12 weeks to complete and are state approved. Each state has different requirements concerning the number of hours the applicant must log before becoming eligible for certification testing. You can contact the Nurse’s Aide Registry in your state for more information or details concerning the exact training requirements needed.

To be able to work in a hospital or nursing home, the nurses aide must pass a certification exam to become a CNA. The tests are different dependent on which state the applicant is applying, but the overall certification usually consists of a practical exam and a written test. The practical testing involves potential applicants to demonstrate their abilities of handling the patients properly in a live setting. The applicant will need to perform certain duties in a live setting to demonstrate they have the capability and understanding to become a CNA. The written exam will be an in depth testing of the applicants knowledge in patient care, safety, disease prevention, and a general understanding of all areas of patient care.

The applicant will be notified if they pass the certification and once the testing is passed, they become certified and their name is then a part of the state registry for certified nursing assistants. Depending on the state you reside in and practice in, you may be required to take part in continued educational training either on the job or in a classroom every two or four years.

Why are Some Positions Referred to as Nurses Aides and Others as Nursing Assistants?

There are few positions that are more demanding and challenging than that of a nurses aide or nursing assistant. However, it is also one of the most rewarding career choices that one can make.  A nurses aide and a nursing assistant are different titles that are given to the same job description.  This person works in a healthcare setting under the direction of a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN). Both perform the same job functions, though there may be some variance depending on where they work and the state they reside in.  Continue reading

State CNA Resources

CNAs are working on the front lines of patient care throughout the healthcare industry in the United States. However, even though there are CNAs in every state there are differences between the states.

Not only are Certified Nursing Assistants called Certified Nursing Aids in some states, but the path to being a CNA can vary from state to state as well. That is why we are putting together a resource list for each state.

Click on the link for each state to see information about that state’s certification process and requirements along with information about approved training providers for that state.

Check back often as we will be adding information about more states on a regular basis.

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Difference between nursing assistants and nurses aides

Many of us have heard of Certified Nursing Assistants, or Certified Nurses Aides before. However, unless you are familiar with the medical field you may not know what people in these positions do.  People familiar with health care and health care facilities understand that nursing assistants and nursing aides work on the front lines of health care. So…

 What do they do? Is there a difference?

Certified nursing assistant and certified nurses aide areContinue reading

CNA Duties – What Does a CNA Do?

Understanding the CNA duties is important before getting involved in schooling for this career. Depending on what state you live in CNA stands for Certified Nursing Assistant, or Certified Nurses Aide, which are two different names for the same position.  Currently there is high demand for individuals with this type of certification and this demand is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. All states require a CNA training program in order to have a roll in this type of medical position. A CNA is a highly desirable career path due to its lucrative benefits and ample job opportunities.

What Does A CNA Do In A Community Facility?

CNA DutiesThe CNA duties can vary greatly depending on where the job is at. For instance, if a CNA works at a nursing home facility, they may have a whole different set of duties than a CNA that is placed in a hospital. Nevertheless, overall the roles and tasks are similar and anything extra that is specific to the work setting can be taught through on the job training. Generally, a CNA who is placed in a community facility, or home, will assist a person with dressing and washing and basic personal care needs. Some patients need help in going to the restroom and with toileting needs, a CNA should always be happy to assist. They will also ensure their patient is eating and has proper nutrition. When it is in home assistance, the CNA will also do general housework and cleaning for their patient. This may include light laundry, changing sheets, dusting, vacuuming, and other household chores. The biggest part of the CNA duties for someone who works at a home is medication administration. Making sure that a person has their medication at the proper times is imperative. There are also rules from agency to agency on administration of meds and how it should be done.Continue reading

Certified Nursing Assistant Training

Working as a Certified Nursing Assistant or CNA is a great way to start working in the medical field. CNAs, also known as Certified Nurses Aide, do some of the lower level, yet very important tasks around nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and hospitals. There are several ways to get Certified Nursing Assistant training, and each has pros and cons.

Types of CNA Training Programs

Programs are offered through both public and private venues. A good place to start if you don’t know of any nearby schools that have CNA programs is to get acquainted with the Red Cross. They offer Certified Nursing Assistant training, though often the prices for the program are higher than a public institution. Going through the Red Cross is valuable, however, because they cater to non-traditional types of students. They offer day and night classes, and have more available times to take the state examination test. The downside is that the class could be held in a far off distance from you depending where they are able to hold it.

Certified Nursing Assistant TrainingPublic institutions, such as community colleges, and trade centers offer CNA training. You would have to apply to the school and be accepted into it to be able to register for the classes. Public institutions are a great way to take training classes because they are able to offer financial aid and license pre-requisites are usually included in class costs (whereas with the Red Cross it is an additional cost). However, the cost for books is not included and is often at the student’s own expense.

Private institutions that offer CNA training can be at either high school or college level. High schools can offer training through a local trade school, and although the high school might be public, you would need to be enrolled in that high school to qualify. Private institution price ranges for CNA training are much like that of a public college or university. Although, private institutions regulate their own price ranges so it could be of higher or lower cost.

Another route for training is to enroll in an online CNA training program. Online Certified Nursing Assistant programs are a good fit for individuals whose schedules keep them from being able to attend in-person training program. Generally, online programs are with “for profit” businesses. Even online schools can be considered for profit, though not all of them are. When enrolling in an online program be sure to get an exact amount of all the costs required for the program. The costs posted online are subject to change and don’t always include book fees and other costs. You also want to make sure that the online training meets your state’s CNA certification requirements.

Sometimes nursing homes, hospitals, and home health agencies will offer free CNA training for potential employees. In return, the individuals who received this training agree to work for the employer for a specified period of time after their CNA training is complete.

CNA TrainingCost of CNA Training

Unless you recieve Certified Nursing Assistant training from a potential employer there will be a cost associated with the training. Depending on where you live and who provides the CNA training, you should usually expect that it will cost between $350 and $1,000+ for training.


There are several requirements you must complete before you can go through Certified Nursing Assistant Training. Age requirements for program participation vary per state; however, most states require a person to be at least 16. Other requirements include current vaccinations, additional certificates or licenses (such as CPR), and additional fees.


To officially receive a Nursing Assistant certification, you must have completed all of the required hours (both in the classroom and out) as well as take a state examination. The state examination has two parts. The first part is a proctored test of skills, how to make a bed, take blood pressure, and so on. The second part is a written test. The test, although called written, is taken online and supervised. It is broken into sections, much like the coursework is and it is multiple choice. You must receive a certain percent correct on the test to pass. You cannot pass one part of the test, and not the other, and still receive certification. You will also have to pay to take the test; prices vary per state.

Certified Nursing Assistant training is a great place to be introduced into the medical field. CNA jobs are in high demand and, in most places, pay nine dollars and up. And if you already plan on going into the medical field, a Nursing Assistant certification under your belt will certainly help you along the way.

Image Credits: Walt Stoneburner & Walt Stoneburner on Flickr

Certified Nursing Assistant Salary – What CNA Salaries Should You Expect?

One of the largest fields today is the healthcare field. Nurses are in huge demand and are expected to stay in huge demand for years to come. Many people are interested in finding out about how to get started in this broad and lucrative field. They want to know what it takes to earn a Certified Nursing Assistant salary and how much CNA salaries pay.

The Basics

Basically a CNA will work closely with patients giving basic care services. This includes things like grooming, feeding, and bathing. They also are involved in helping to assist Nurses in setting up and operation medical equipment as well as checking the vital signs of patients.

A good CNA is always socially polite and gives much needed emotional support to patients to keep them calm and help them through the tough and stressful times. You find them working in community care centers, nursing care facilities, and in hospitals.

Certified Nursing Assistant SalaryWhen a person pursues a position as a CNA they are right on the front lines in terms of patient care. They are crucial to the overall efforts of healthcare teams and the daily operations that entail caring for patients. It takes compassion and commitment. They perform their work under the supervision of a qualified Nurse and are many times referred to as ‘patient care technicians’, ‘home health aides’, ‘nurse’s aids’, or ‘orderlies’.

The top RNs start out working as CNAs. It is a stepping stone to pursuing a career as a full time Registered Nurse.


The training to earn a Certified Nursing Assistant salary can be completed in quite a short period of time. Qualified applicants must have a High School Diploma or GED and need to have completed a 6 to 12 week qualifying CNA certificate program. This is usually done at a medical facility or a community college.

With the basic training programs the general studies include courses on-

• Nutrition
• Anatomy/Physiology
• Infection Control
• Nursing Skill Basics

and there will be some ‘hands-on’ experience as well performed during regular clinical activities. CNA regulations will vary from one state to the next but there are great opportunities for those desiring to become a CNA and earn CNA salaries.

Certified Nursing Assistant Salaries

CNA helping patientTo nail down an approximate Certified Nursing Assistant salary can be quite a task. The factors that determine the salary are many. It can depend on the state an applicant gets certified in, whether they desire to get into ‘long-term’ care, or maybe ‘occupational health’. Even then there is some play in the numbers. At best you can determine ‘what to expect’ and get a close idea.

According to the average median salary for a CNA within the U.S. is around $29,000. This is an analysis derived from survey data that was collected from many thousands of Human Resources departments in regard to basic certified nursing assistant care positions. The surveys covered a very broad range of employers, geographical locations, and various industries.

It helps to boost the salary amount whenever the applicant has any type of relevant work experience such as previous work in a nursing home or volunteering at a clinic or hospital. That is why each individual position may pay a different salary to whoever is hired to fill it.

A few other factors when determining CNA salaries are things like pension allowance, social security allowance, paid time off, healthcare allowance, disability allowance, 401K allowance, and things like that. Benefit packages can mean a lot more in some cases than the actual take-home pay. When you add it all up it can be a lot more impressive than just the basic salary itself.

To give an idea of how broad the range in salaries can be the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that CNAs, orderlies, and attendants earn salaries that begin at around $24,000 a year. Those with prior experience as mentioned above can earn up to $27,000 a year. The ones who are fortunate enough to land a position within a scientific research & development environment can earn as much as $36,000 a year.

Qualifications, location, training, and experience are what will determine the salary. Those who go on to work as Registered Nurses will find their salaries to be quite comfortable and their schedules very flexible. With the nursing shortage that has taken place over the past decade or so the scheduling flexibility has been designed to attract more Nurses into the workforce.

The bottom line is that a new CNA can earn as much as $8 to $10 an hour whereas an older more experienced CNA can earn anywhere from $12 to $15 an hour. The salaries float from $25,000 up to around $35,000 a year.

The good thing is that whether an applicant is new with sights set on becoming an RN or has been on the job for a while, earning a Certified Nursing Assistant salary is not a bad living at all.

Image Credits: Walt Stoneburner & jencu on Flickr

CNA Topics

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