CNA stands for Certified Nursing Assistant. A certified nursing assistant, or CNA, helps patients or clients with their healthcare needs under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Also known as a Nursing Assistant (NA), a Patient Care Assistant (PCA), or a State Tested Nurse Aid (STNA).
What does a certified nursing assistant do?
CNAs assist patients with daily activities. Some CNAs have additional responsibilities, such as administering medication, but the core role of the job includes:
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serve meals and help patients eat
- Take vital signs
- Turning or re-positioning patients who are bedridden
- Collect information about conditions and treatment plans from caregivers, nurses and doctors
- Provide and empty bedpans
- Lift patients into beds, wheelchairs, exam tables, etc.
- Answer patient calls
- Examine patients for bruises, blood in urine or other injuries/wounds
- Clean and sanitize patient areas
- Change bed sheets and restock rooms with necessary supplies
- CNAs also serve as a liaison between patients and nurses and doctors and record and communicate all issues to medical staff.
- Depending on where a CNA works, other duties might include transporting patients to operating rooms or treatment units and setting up equipment at a nurse or doctor’s request.
Aspiring CNAs should understand the job isn’t glamorous and can be graphic at times. From dressing wounds to cleaning a patient after an accident, CNAs are often put to the test on a daily basis.