Certified nursing assistants are health care paraprofessionals who specialize in assisting patients with daily living. They usually work in hospital wards, long term care facilities, and private homes. They work under the supervision of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, or other health care professionals.

CNA Job Description

CNA carry out many duties in healthcare facilities. They are motivated individuals who enjoy human interaction and have compassion for others. In many cases, CNA act as a helpful liaison between the patient and the nurses. They listen to the patient, take down notes, and relay concerns back to nurses to maintain a high level of care. They are the primary caregivers in nursing homes; thus, they are able to establish close relationships and better contact with the residents than other healthcare workers. It is important to note that CNAs are different from orderlies and medical aides. Orderlies are usually responsible for wheelchair issuance and carrying medical equipment; medical aides do similar tasks to CNAs, but don’t need certification. A certified nursing assistant’s job scope includes the following:

  • Reposition patients on their beds to prevent bed sores
  • Bathe and clean patients
  • Check patients’ vital signs (including blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, etc.)
  • Assist patients in getting out of bed and using toilets
  • Serve meals
  • Administer oral medications

How to Become a CNA

Certified nursing assistants are not required to have a post-secondary degree, but they must obtain a certificate before employment. They must be at least 18 years of age and hold a high school diploma. CNA training usually lasts between 6 and 12 weeks, depending on state regulations. During the course, students are taught basic nursing principles and supervised clinical work. These programs are offered by community colleges, technical and vocational schools, nursing homes, and hospitals.  Programs will cover a minimum of 75 hours. In fact, many nursing homes may actually pay employees to take CNA training provided they work for them afterwards. 

Read More: CNA Online Programs

CNA Certification

CNAs normally take a competency test after completing their state-required education. Successful candidates can use titles specific to their states. Some states refer them as certified nursing assistant (CNA), while some states simply call them nursing aides. Other requirements may be needed by some states, such as criminal background checks and continuing education. Some states may offer additional certifications for CNAs, such as medical assistant certification in order to administer medications to patients.

Read More: How Much Does CNAs Make?

CNA Job Description Summary

  • Assist patients with daily living activities
  • supervised by RNs, LPNs or physicians
  • 6-12 weeks of training program
  • Must obtain certification before practice
  • 21% employment growth by 2022