The responsibilities of a Certified Nursing Assistant can vary from position to position, but generally speaking, there are basic duties that all CNAs must complete. All of these are related to caring for patients and require a very personal touch. These duties are handled with tenderness and affection, as they are often required for people who are at their most helpless and vulnerable.
The most important task for any CNA is to ensure that the patient remains healthy. This requires constant monitoring of vital signs and attention to changes in the patient’s physical and emotional state. These vital signs include heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and breathing rate. Keeping a constant record of all these vital signs helps the patient and their doctors to see whether conditions are improving. A CNA will also keep track of qualitative measures as well, such as comfort level or mood, in order to keep a log of the patient’s recovery.
CNAs are crucial to maintaining the patient’s quality of life. Therefore, it is important that they be constantly attending to patient hygiene and general cleanliness. By cleaning the patient’s room, a CNA provides an uncluttered atmosphere for recovery. Further, this cleanliness helps the patient’s family, who may visit or stay for periods of time. A clean room will convince the family that their loved one is being treating correctly and encourage them to spend more time during visitation. This cleanliness not only applies to the environment however, as CNAs must also help bathe the patient, depending on their condition. It may be necessary to give sponge baths, change diapers, or wash bed pans in order to maintain a healthy, regenerative state of recovery.
Depending on the setting, a CNA may be responsible for helping patients accomplish their daily needs. The most important of these is eating. Many patients require assistance in eating every day, to varying degrees. Whether it is as simple as helping the patient get to the dining hall in a wheelchair, or as demanding as spoon feeding them, a CNA is responsible for their patient’s daily sustenance. Another daily need is that of comfort. Many patients struggle with chronic pain or limited mobility. Therefore, it is necessary for the CNA to accommodate them physically. Fluffing pillows, adjusting bed positions, or going for walks are examples of the tasks required. Unfortunately, there are many situations where these measures are not enough, and helping the patient find comfort can become the most challenging aspect of being a good CNA.