CNA Job Description – Just What Do They Do?

Certified nurses’ assistants, or CNA’s, perorm a wide varitey of tasks within the health care community. They might work in a hospital, a long-term care facility, a rehab center, or in home health care. Because they can work in so many different places, their jobs may differ from place to place.

However, there are some elements of the CNA job description that are consistent from employer to employer.

No matter where they work, the can job description is likely to include:


  • Take vital signs. This includes regularly measuring temperature, respiration, pulse, and blood pressure and accurately recording this information so that doctors and nurses have a good record of it.



  • Collect samples from patients. This may include blood or urine.



  • Help with medical procedures. If the medical staff needs help, the CNA helps out. This is an excellent way for a CNA to learn more about other medical jobs available.



  • Monitor how much the patient eats. Food intake can be a significant indicator of health or recovery, so the medical staff will need to have an accurate accounting of it.



  • Measure output. What goes in must come out, and doctors need to know how much of it is coming out.



  • Feed the patient. Many patients cannot feed themselves, so the CNA makes sure that they get the food they need.



  • Make beds. Sometimes this has to be done with the patient in the bed, so that they have clean sheets and are comfortable and sanitary.



  • Answer call lights. Most of the time a patient needs assistance, rather than medical care, so a CNA can make that determination and take care of the need, or find someone else who can.



  • Straighten patient rooms. If you are a home health CNA, you might do a bit more heavy house cleaning, but either way, you want the patient to have a nice, pleasant environment.



  • Listen and care. Many people just want someone to listen to their problems, pains, and fears. Sitting and listening are valuable gifts of a CNA.



  • Help patients in and out of bed. Some people are fairly independent, but struggle with the extra height of a bed. CNA’s help them in and out, so that they are stable and safe.



  • Help patients with hygiene. This might include brushing teeth, combing hair, bathing, going to the restroom, changing bedpans or adult absorbent pads.



  • Help patients to walk. CNA’s are specially trained to assist with walking; that’s how important a part of CNA work it is. Patients want to feel independent, but often have to have some assistance.



  • Monitor patients and report concerns to medical staff. CNA’s are responsible for much of the direct patient care that happens in any facility, so they are often the first ones to notice when a patient declines or improves. These changes need to be reported to the staff.



  • Follow the rules for infectious diseases. CNA’s have to be careful not to let bacteria or viruses spread. They are trained to work in certain ways, following certain procedures, in order to keep everything as germ-free as possible.

That very long list is the basic CNA job description. Some of those things will be added to or modified depending on where you work as a CNA, but in almost all cases, you will have to do the above tasks.

The most important thing is that you do them with care and respect, helping the patient to maintain his or her dignity even in weakness.