What does a CNA Do?

CNA Description - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

A CNA description is not filled with fast paced excitement or overly appreciative supervisors but ask any certified nursing assistant if he or she enjoys their job and the answer is almost always a resounding "Yes!" What a CNA does is they spend more time with patients than any other member of the medical staff. Being that close and in frequent proximity to their patients or residents helps them build a personal relationship and strong repport. They know their patient or resident better then anyone else besides family and close friends, this gives CNA work its appeal.

On an average day, the CNA, will start their shift with a shift meeting. This meeting involves the previous shift of CNAs, the CNAs starting the new shift and the Registered Nurse in charge. At this time important or out of the ordinary information is passed from one shift to the other and the Nurse gives specifics instructions and expectations for the relieving shift.

There are many environments that a CNA could work in many of which are health care facilities with round the clock work-schedules. Specific CNA duties will depend on the shift they work, however, during all shifts CNAs will tend to activities of daily living or ADLs, ensure the rights of their patients or residents.

CNA Duties

In the morning is the CNAs responsibility to help the patient or resident with their morning routine. The routine will vary from person to person, and with each work environment. Generally, a CNA will get the patients or residents out of bed and help then with dressing, going to the bathroom, and personal hygiene. In many cases, the CNA would take and record vital signs. Mobile patients are escorted to the dining room for their morning meal.

Throughout the day, the CNA will help patients to and from the restroom, change disposable briefs, empty bedpans, assist with eating meals and snacks, bathing rituals and physical therapy. All activities and incidents are logged for record.

Other, less technical, responsibilities include errands for patients or residents. On an average day a CNA will hear, "Please get my book." "I need a drink!" "Can you call my daughter and ask her to bring me my favorite sweater next time she visits?" It is important for a CNA to also do the little, personal things that patient or resident requests. This will help keep the life of the resident as normal and as happy as possible.

At the end of the day when patients and residents are ready for bed a CNA will go through the evening routine of turning down beds, changing residents into pajamas, personal hygiene, bathroom visits, ect.

At the end of the shift a CNA will make additional notes about everything they did for a patient or resident that day. They will highlight and verbally report anything that was out of the norm for a resident, such as, vital signs, severe mood or depression, injury, argument, ect. When the next shift shows up for work, a CNA will spend some time discussing what occurred during the shift during the shift meeting. This helps to maintain patient routine and creates a smooth transition between shifts.

The work of a CNA is demanding. There is a lot of walking, standing, lifting and supporting. CNAs can easily hurt themselves and should be careful to follow correct form and training. It is also important to adhere to all standards for handling body fluids and protecting against infections. Other than physical demands a CNA will experience emotional demands as well. A shift becomes all that more difficult when a patient or resident is in a foul mood or is uncooperative. The experience of a patient or resident dying can cause emotional stress. However, a successful CNA takes these things in stride and are comforted with knowing that they provided residents with the best possible care.

CNA - Physical and Emotional Work

It is the CNA who laughs, visits, and consoles the patients and residents who will enjoy their work the most and will be the most beneficial to their work place. A CNA who can help patients enjoy the highest quality of life possible is a person who has found a suitable career path.

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