What Does a Certified Nursing Assistant Do?

Before you commit to a career as a certified nursing assistant, you may be interested in learning more about the CNA job description. Although the job duties of a CNA may vary depending on the state in which they are working, as well as their place of employment, you can generally expect to be responsible for a specific range of tasks.

Day-to-day duties

A CNA is a valued member of any medical team, helping to ensure that all patients are cared for on a daily basis. When you’re working as a CNA, you’ll contribute to your team’s ability to keep the day running smoothly.

Some of the common responsibilities of a certified nursing assistant may include:

  • Assisting doctors and nurses with medical procedures
  • Dressing and cleaning wounds
  • Answering patient calls
  • Repositioning patients for both comfort and health
  • Collecting supplies for the nurse or doctor
  • Taking vital signs and documenting according to the protocol
  • Assisting patients with personal care routines, including bathing, combing hair, shaving, and brushing teeth
  • Feeding patients, including carefully measuring and documenting intake
  • Cleaning and preparing rooms for new and current patients


Potential places of employment

Because CNAs are such a vital part of the healthcare industry, they can often find jobs in a wide variety of settings. The most common places for certified nursing assistants to work are rehabilitation centers, long-term residential care facilities, and adult daycare centers. Sometimes, CNAs might work in an inpatient hospital, outpatient clinic, or physician’s office, though these jobs are somewhat rarer.

How is a certified nursing assistant different from a medical assistant?

Although there are a few similarities between certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and medical assistants (MAs), there are also important differences. Although both work directly with patients to provide care, each one fulfills a distinct role in the patient experience.

Both CNAs and MAs work in conjunction with doctors and nurses to assist with treatments, tests, and procedures. However, while medical assistants are typically focused on tasks like evaluating patients and assisting doctors with patient care, CNAs tend to provide more direct patient care.

There are specific duties reserved for CNAs, as regulated by their state of employment, that they are prepared for through professional CNA training programs. Certified medical assistant training also provides education and hands-on experiences, though the programs are tailored specifically for MAs.


Is a Career as a CNA Right for You?

As a certified nursing assistant, you will have many different people – patients and colleagues alike – relying on you on an everyday basis. There are certain characteristics and qualities that can serve you well as a CNA, and people with these traits may find that a career in healthcare is an ideal fit.

Here are a few of the traits that can help you make a positive difference as a certified nursing assistant:

  • Compassion
  • Excellent listening skills
  • Patience
  • Attention to detail
  • Great communication skills
  • The ability to problem-solve
  • Strong decision-making abilities
  • A positive attitude
  • A willingness to go above and beyond for patients
  • A strong dedication to high ethical standards

Even if you aren’t sure if you currently possess all of the characteristics above, many of them (such as communication skills) can be learned and practiced over time. Most nursing assistant training programs include components that help you develop the necessary skills, so you’ll be well-prepared to begin your new profession. If you feel drawn to the healthcare industry because of your desire to help people and make a positive difference in the lives of others, a career as a certified nursing assistant may be an excellent match.

Nursing assistants work directly with senior nurses in the day-to-day care of their patients. 

Graduates of the Nursing Assistant program are eligible to apply to take the New York State Nurse Aide Exam. 

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About The Program

The Allen School of Health Sciences equips you with the skills, knowledge, and career support you need to get an amazing start. Students who want to make a positive difference in others’ lives in a job they can be proud of excel within our program.

As a nursing assistant student, you learn about:

  • Effective communication between patients, their family members and health professionals
  • Infection control and OSHA Universal Precautions
  • Deliver patient care necessary for the health and comfort of the patient
  • Therapeutic diets and feeding techniques
  • Psychological changes in the aging patient
  • Assisting patients with activities of daily living including bathing, dressing, and toileting
  • Using good body mechanics for lifting, moving and transporting patients
  • Assisting with admissions, discharge, transfers and physical exams
  • Relationship between vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, pulse, and respiration) and body systems

The Allen School Will Train You to Be a Top Nursing Assistant

In addition to learning the above, you’ll gain insight into the psychology of aging patients and a newfound confidence in a wide variety of patient care and administrative activities.  You’ll also work hand-in-hand with doctors and nurses, helping with medical treatments and diagnostic procedures and tests. Certified nursing assistants will also assist with patient charting and documentation for medical records. This responsibility involves focusing on the patient’s condition, such as measuring vital signs and documenting pain assessment.

Get Started on Your Journey as a Nursing Assistant Student Today

The Allen School of Health Sciences offers you world-class instruction from experienced educators who truly understand your needs. You’ll have the opportunity to become part of a motivated and supportive student community that helps you exceed your expectations.

Don’t wait: For detailed information on our nursing assistant program, contact us today. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can be on your way to a rewarding new career!

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