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.

The medical part of the job and the CNA duties that require training is the vital signs that must be taken. A CNA must take vital signs including blood pressure, respiration and temperature on an as needed basis. They also should observe mood or anything that is out of kilter with their patient and report this to the nurse immediately. They will need to document all the vital signs, as well as any other changes in bowel habits or anything else that needs noted. Along with providing medical and some physical assistance, the CNA needs to be ready to provide emotional support. Playing a game of cards, talking or looking at photo albums are great ways to offer social support and to help a senior pass time. Each agency will have rules regarding what social aspects are allowed and which ones are forbidden. For example, some agencies may not allow CNA’s to transport their patient or to watch television.

What Does A CNA Do In A Hospital Facility?

CNA ResponsibilitiesThe CNA duties in the hospital and in a doctor’s office tend to be a bit more technical, while the responsibilities of the CNA in a nursing home or home setting might include more wide-ranging errands such as laundry, dressing, nurturing and housework. If a patient is in a hospital they may have different roles. A nursing facility or hospital provides meals, so there would be no cooking and very little cleaning. While CNA duties from hospital or home are diverse, each position is still very important.

In a hospital, the CNA will take vital signs like the home based worker, but will include pulse rate, oxygen levels and anything else the doctor orders. They may need to change the dressing around wounds and change diapers or assist with a bedpan. A medical facility has a rigid structure and there is no room for error. In fact, the charting is a big part of what a CNA does for the doctors. Attention must be paid to every detail and nothing should be overlooked, especially when a person is in the hospital under medical care. The CNA positions at a medical facility usually have great benefits and also have many positions open. While these CNAs do the “entry level” work, their job is still as important as any other nurse on the floor.

What Does A CNA Do In A Doctor’s Office?

The most coveted of all CNA positions, working in a doctor’s office tends to be more of an administrative role than anything else. Some CNAs may be required to change dressings, while others have extra skills and can take blood and in general conduct patient observations. Some do vital signs and get the patients ready to see the doctor, as well as some charting. These positions usually have the best hours and no weekends, so they are highly desirable.

How To Become A CNA?

Their duties pretty much are the same, with slight variations for job location, for all CNA’s. If a career in the CNA field sounds right, training is the next step. After the training is complete each person will have to take an examination to get their state certification. The duties that a CNA does may seem minuscule, but they are very important to the people they are helping. CNA’s allow people to stay in their homes, rather than nursing facilities and help those in the hospital to receive better care.

Image Credits: Walt Stoneburner & Tunstall Telehealthcare on Flickr

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