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What Are the Typical Job Duties of a Certified Nurse Aide?

Certified nurse aides work under the direction of registered nurses and medical doctors in a variety of healthcare locations. The following article describes typical job duties for a certified nurse aide.

Duties and Responsibilities

Certified nurse aides, also known as certified nursing assistants, work directly with medical patients in a variety of settings. They take direction from medical staff and are often responsible for helping patients with daily activities, monitoring their vital signs and reporting their mental, physical, or emotional conditions.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Required Education Completion of a state-approved training program and competency exam; continuing education required in some states
Work Environment Shift work in private homes, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities
Training On-the-job training in policies and duties
Similar Occupations Orderlies, Home Health Aides, Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurses, Personal Care Aides, Medical Assistants, Physical and Occupational Therapy Assistants

Help Patients with Daily Activities

The patients that require care from Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) may be severely disabled, elderly, or have been incapacitated by injury or surgery. It is the CNA's responsibility to help these patients bathe, dress, and feed themselves. The amount of assistance needed varies by patient and can range from administering sponge baths and feeding patients to simply observing them as they complete the activities themselves.

Monitor Patients' Vital Signs

Certified nurse aides often monitor their patients' vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature, rate of respiration, and pulse. CNAs must operate the equipment required to measure this information and are responsible for noting the results correctly. They should report any sudden or alarming changes as soon as they are discovered to ensure their patients remain healthy.

Report Patients' Mental, Physical, and Emotional Conditions

Certified nurse aides commonly spend more time with patients than other staff members do, so they may be sensitive to changes in patients' emotional, physical, or mental well-being. CNAs must report any unexpected negative emotions, decline in physical functioning, or drop in mental clarity to a nurse or doctor.

Employment and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) categorizes nurse aides as one type of nurse's assistant. The median annual salary earned by nursing assistants was reported by the BLS as $28,540 in May 2018. The employment of such assistants will likely grow by as much as 11% between 2016 and 2026, a rate faster than the average for all other occupations.