A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is a healthcare professional who works under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN). This is an entry level position in the medical field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for most CNAs is $11.54 per hour, or roughly $24,000 annually. CNAs play a crucial role in the overall safety and health of patients in hospitals, nursing homes, emergency rooms and other facilities. It tends to be a physically and mentally challenging role, as the hours can be long and the number of patients high, however CNAs get a great insight to the healthcare world and may use this position to determine if they want to continue their education in medicine.
What Does A CNA Do?
Certified Nursing Assistants aid RN’s and other staff in the basic healthcare of patients, taking temperatures and other life signs readings, helping patients with basic exercises, and assisting patients with daily needs like eating and dressing. They operate within a hospital, nursing home, emergency room, or hospice, or in a home care setting. They provide the majority of patient care under a nurse’s supervision.
A CNA generally makes the rounds of all of the patients under the care of his or her supervisor. They bring food to patients and help feed them if necessary. They also help bathe and change a patient’s bed sheets daily or as needed. Other tasks include changing a patient’s undergarments, changing the position of those who are bed ridden to prevent sores, emptying catheters, assisting in exams or the setup of surgical equipment. CNAs are responsible for the overall comfort and well-being of patients.
Record-Keeping and Monitoring
CNAs have to report certain patient activities. Once they have been fed, a CNA records the amount of food and drink a patient consumed. They also check in with patients to make sure they are feeling alright. These reports are given to the supervisor on an as-needed basis.
The role of a CNA is to provide comfort and care to ailing patients. It is important that a CNA be very compassionate, tolerant and observant. They must also be organized, as it is common for a CNA to be responsible for up to 20 patients at a time. In home care or a nursing home, a CNA is the primary caregiver to a patient every day. In hospice care, they must attend carefully to the patient so he or she remains as comfortable as possible.
It is no secret that a CNA has to perform some of the more messy duties pertaining to the healthcare industry. They may have to replace soiled bed sheets, help a patient use the bathroom, change a patient’s undergarments and deal with catheters. This is why CNAs must take extra precautions when it comes to sterilization and reducing the risk of contamination. When taking care of a single patient, a CNA must wear gloves and then throw them away once he or she moves on to the next patient. Since they come into contact with bodily fluids and excretions every day, CNAs must take care to sterilize all equipment before use, wear masks and gowns, and wash their hands frequently to prevent the spread of germs from patient to patient, and to themselves.
To sum it up, measuring vital signs, cleaning patient rooms, assisting immobile patients, feeding, washing and reporting back to a supervisor are the most common tasks for CNAs. It may not be glamorous, but for a person who genuinely cares about others’ well-being, it can be a very rewarding career.
Irving Metcalf focuses on the medical field, medical science, medical education and general health and wellness. If the career of certified nursing assistant appears enticing it may be wise to visit CNACertification-Training.com.
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