What is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)?


A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is someone who helps patients with their healthcare needs under the guidance and supervision of a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN). They are entry level professionals who are also known as nurse’s assistants or aides. Their basic responsibilities include daily care for patients in hospitals, nursing homes and other health facilities. The training required for this and the demand is very high. This is why it is a very popular profession which is also a great way to start a lifelong successful career in nursing.

Main responsibilities of a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

Help patients with their day to day activities

One of the most important responsibilities of a CNA is to help their patient perform those daily activities that cannot on their own. Depending on the patient, his can include several things such as

  • Helping the patient to and in the washroom.
  • Helping the patient keep themselves clean. This may include bathing them and helping them changing their clothes.
  • Brushing teeth, combing hair and clipping nails. Shaving for male patients
  • Transferring between the bed and the wheel chair and re-positioning them in bed.
  • Taking them out for a walk or some other activity.
  • Serving them meals and even helping them eat if they cannot do it on their own.

Take vital signs of the patient

Taking vital signs of the patients and recording it diligently is a very important job as it helps the RN supervisor keep a tab on the health of the patient. There are several routine tasks such as taking temperature, blood pressure, pulse, pain level etc. These need to be recorded every day and on time.

Paying attention to the patient’s behavior

Apart from keeping an eye on the patient the CNA also has to keep an ear open for any health concerns that the patient or even the close family members may have. It is the CNA’s job to keep the patient comfortable and healthy so if they saying something about their medical well-being, it need to be noted and the RN supervisor should be informed.

Providing medical assistance

There are several tasks that a CNA has to perform to help the RN superior with the care of the patient and medical assistance is one of those tasks. For example, there are some states that allow CNA’s to draw blood. They may also have to clean and dress wounds. The CNA will also store and set up any medical equipment that is required for a patient.

Support for the patient

CNA do have a lot of patients to look after but they need to pay proper attention to each patient. This may include moral support for the patient as well, depending on the situation. If a patient needs some cheering up or encouragement to not give up on their treatment, a CNA should be willing to talk to them and help them a little bit.