Duties of a Nursing Home CNA

There are different duties for a CNA working in a nursing home than those who work in hospitals or on private duty cases in someone’s home. The nursing home CNA is assigned to one of the three eight hour shifts that are available. Because of the intensity of the work a nursing home CNA performs, the shifts are seldom longer than eight hours—this is in contrast to the twelve hour shifts that hospital CNAs often work.

It is not uncommon for each unit in a nursing home to average forty patients to every four CNAs on each shift. While nursing homes strive to maintain an optimal staff of CNAs, staffing shortages are quite common and cause problems when it comes to the completion of job assignments thus causing dissatisfaction with the job and early burnout. An average of ten patients per nurse’s aide in a single shift allows for optimal care without overload; however when the unit is understaffed or a scheduled aide does not show up, that total may increase to fifteen to twenty patients per shift.

The CNA in a nursing home will perform a variety of duties through his or her shift including assisting patients with daily tasks, making beds, feeding, transferring and turning patients every two hours, responding to call lights, checking vital signs and notating the patient’s data. The duties may vary slightly for each shift with the morning nurse’s aide having the responsibility for waking the patient, helping him or her with toilet needs, bathing the patient and dressing or helping the patient dress, changing bed linens, making the bed, and when it’s appropriate transferring the patient to a wheelchair and assisting him or her with eating. The CNA will also take the patient’s pulse, temperature and blood pressure; take blood glucose readings and measure oxygen saturation where necessary. The CNA will notify the RN or LPN or any abnormal readings.

The second shift is basically the same as the first; however, the third shift is often seen as the easiest shift in regards to the amount of work required. In the best case scenario two nurse’s aides should be on a unit during this shift but in most cases only one is available. The nurse’s aide will need to care for all forty patients housed in the unit, providing basic care whenever the patients require it. There are a few patients who will not require care during the night but others will still need turned every two hours so they will not develop bed sores, others may need changed due to problems of incontinence and diabetics may need a snack in order to maintain an optimum glucose level.