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What is a CNA?

You have probably seen the job ads in the newspapers or online wanting plenty of CNAs. You may not have known what “CNA” stood for. CNA stands for “certified nursing assistant.” Now that you know what the letters mean, you still may not have any idea what it is that a certified nursing assistant does. There are no simple answers to this question because the CNA’s job responsibilities vary by place of employment. However, there are some basic job responsibilities that CNA’s have no matter where or who they work for.

Certified nursing assistants work in many different places: hospitals, nursing homes, schools and hospices, just to name a few. CNAs always work under an RN or LPN who oversees their work. The main purpose of a CNA is to provide the best and most compassionate care that they can to the patients, no matter the patient’s age or mental capabilities. Often times, especially in nursing homes, it is the CNA who checks the patient’s vital signs, administers the patient’s medication, gives injections, cleans them up, etc. You may find a CNA doing many of these things in a hospital setting as well. It just really depends on the hospital and their policies regarding what a CNA can do in their job.

Since many CNAs work in nursing homes, you will find one of the biggest parts of the job is just being there for the patients. There are many nursing home patients who do not get any visitors so the CNA is their only visitor every day. The CNA sort of becomes a replacement family or friend for the patient, so you will have to be comfortable with being friendly and loving towards your patients. You will also find another big part of your job is lifting your patients to get them in and out of bed, chairs, etc. So, it is very important that you always have help to lift if you need it. Dropping a patient is very dangerous to their health so usually you will want to go ahead and have another CNA or staff worker help you lift.

Another important part of the CNA job if you work in a nursing home is bathing the patient after he or she has passed. This is the final dignity you can afford to them. There are some people who can’t handle the thoughts of doing something like that, but not every CNA has to do it. You will need to be able to handle seeing dead bodies. It is just part of working in the medical field. You will see a dead body at some point, so you may as well brace yourself for it now.