A Certified Nursing Assistant works in the healthcare field assisting patients with their daily needs. They work under the direction of a Registered Nurse in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare settings. The CNA is licensed by the state and must complete an educational program that individual states mandate. These educational programs are generally taught by community colleges, hospitals or long term care providers. Regardless of where the program is taught, the material covered must meet the state’s standards. Upon completion of the program, they must pass a written licensure exam as well as a CNA skills test.
The CNA is a key player in the healthcare scene. They provide direct patient care such as bathing, dressing, positioning and feeding. While these care items seem routine, helping others do them is another thing altogether. It takes exceptional skills to help another person eat, bathe, turn over in bed and other daily needs. Learning methods that work yet still maintain the patient’s dignity is essential to being an effective CNA. The CNA must balance the patient’s need for privacy against the necessity of helping with extremely personal care.
A CNA also has to contend with patients who are in pain and resistant to the care they need to receive. Getting out of bed after surgery is essential but difficult. It is the CNA who comes to the rescue. They use their knowledge to help prepare patients mentally and physically to complete these tasks. This is hard physical work. It involves a lot of lifting, pushing, pulling and other physical tasks. Patients can range from totally dependent to somewhat independent.
The CNA skills arsenal must also include people skills. The CNA has to motivate their patients to participate in their own care. This can be one of the biggest obstacles the CNA faces. Weakness, physical deformity and pain all attribute to dampening the patients desire to get up and start moving. The CNA must help the patient overcome these physical and mental obstacles. They also need to interact with families, friends and visitors that the patient receives.
CNAs also learn clinically complex skills such as urinary catheter insertion and care. They can be taught to insert peripheral intravenous lines. They can do non-medicated dressing changes. They learn how to take vital signs such as blood pressures. They are responsible for reporting abnormalities to the nurse or physician. The CNA is a true healthcare professional, complete with specialized education and skills.
As a healthcare professional, the CNA is responsible for documenting the things they do just as nurses and physicians do. The CNA works in areas such as home health, outpatient clinics, emergency rooms and assisted living environments. They participate in planning and evaluating the care of patients with which the work. They are a full fledged partner in the healthcare deliver system.
Without the CNA, nurses and doctors would find it all but impossible to do all the things that their patients need. The CNA is essential to providing high-quality care to people in their time of need. The use of CNA skills helps keep healthcare costs down by allowing providers to use fewer nurses. As healthcare changes through the years the CNA job will continue to evolve and take on greater responsibility.