An Exploration Into the Daily Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

While there are countless books and other resources that document the daily duties and typical job functions of a certified nursing assistant, perhaps the greatest way to fully understand what is expected of this role is to review current job postings and job descriptions by respected medical clinics. Although your exact roles and responsibilities are determined by your state board of nursing, the majority of states follow strikingly similar requirements.

The following list is a detailed account of what your average day may look like as a certified nursing assistant. While these can vary based upon your employer and geographical location, the daily duties of a CNA won’t stray from from this list.

Patient Personal Care:  Perhaps one of the greatest job functions you’ll carry out throughout your days is patient personal care. In fact, a CNA is unique among the nursing staff as thereby primary responsibility is to tend to patients. You’ll be expected to assist in patient bathing, toileting, oral hygiene, skin care and assistance when undressing and dressing.

Patient Feeding: You’ll be responsible for either providing the patient with food or physically assisting patients during meals.

Measuring Intake/Output: The majority of CNAs are responsible for measuring the amount of food and drink a patient consumes and then measuring the amount of urine that’s output.k

Assist in Patient Maneuverability: Throughout your day, you’ll be responsible to ensure patients don’t end up developing bed sores by periodically moving their body.

Transferring Patient: Whenever a patient must be transported to either a different room or into an ambulance, a CNA is typically involved in this process. Therefore, you must be well-versed in safe, efficient and comfortable patient transfer techniques.

Clean Patients Room: As a CNA you’ll be responsible for not only ensuring a patient’s room is clean, but that itís stocked with all the necessary supplies for physicians and registered nurses. Your employer will likely feature a list of supplies you should constantly ensure are stocked.

Tend to Bed Linens: Throughout your day, you’ll be responsible for changing bed linens in both occupied and unoccupied beds.

Assist Nursing Staff: This is a broad requirement. Throughout your workday, you’ll be required to assist registered nurses and other nursing staff members according to the regulations and restrictions set forth by your state board of nursing.

Record Vital Signs: When you’re checking on patients, you’ll be required to check various vital signs and accurately record them for physician and registered nurse review.

Patient Monitoring: Typically, a CNA is the first person who notices a change in patient health. It is imperative that you immediately communicate with your supervisor or physician should you notice a positive or negative alteration in the patient.

After you fully understand the roles of a CNA, undergo certification training, and gain some on-the-job experience, the next natural progression in your nursing career is often becoming a Registered Nurse. This transition can be rather simple, as there are many CNA to RN programs available. RNs have completed a nursing program and met their state requirements for registration. A formal nursing license will be granted, and then the nurse is registered to practice in that state. RNs earn approximately $65,470 USD per year, as opposed to CNAs that typically earn only $24,400 USD. The main rationale for the substantial pay increase is the amount of training and schooling required to move from a CNA to RN.