In this video, learn about the critical CNA job duties and three ideal personality characteristics for the role. Being a CNA is not for everyone and certain personalities will thrive in the role. Understanding what a CNA does on a typical day and the ideal personality traits are key to understanding if this role is a good fit for you. You can ascertain a level of personal interest in performing these duties and determine if there is a personality conflict.
- Certified Nursing Assistants or CNAs are the unsung heroes of healthcare. They're the eyes and ears of the healthcare team, and they provide hands-on patient care. If you want to make a real difference in someone's life, this may be the job for you. Most CNAs begin their career in a SNF or a Skilled Nursing Facility to gain experience. There you'll be working with other team members who will help show you the ropes. If you start out in home healthcare, you'd be completely on your own. Let me walk you through a typical day in the life of a CNA working the day shift at a SNF. It starts with report. This is when you get your assignment for the day, and when the last shift reports on changes in condition of your residents, or things you should be aware of. So for example, if a family member is taking a resident out of the facility for lunch, you'll need to remind resident and make sure they're ready to be picked up at that time. During day shift, you'll be giving care to six to eight residents helping them with their ADLs, their activities of daily living. After report, you'll start getting your residents up. You'll be giving bed baths, dressing and toileting your residents. You'll also take their vital signs, report them to the charge nurse, and enter them in the electronic medical record. So time management is one of the essential skills of a CNA. You'll need to figure out what to do when so that your assigned residents get the right care at the right time. After breakfast, you may be giving additional showers and taking residents to therapies and activities like exercise class, crafts, or special entertainment. With everything that's going on, it's important to know that you need to be a team player. You'll be helping other CNAs and you'll absolutely be asking them for help. This is especially true when transferring residents, putting them up in bed and repositioning. Repositioning helps maintain their skin integrity and prevent pressure ulcers while they're in bed or in a wheelchair. So physical strength and stamina are essential for a CNA. Throughout the day, you'll chart on your assigned residents. This is the written and electronic record of any change in their condition. Remember, you're the eyes and ears of the healthcare team, and your observations are critically important. You need to make sure the charge nurse and the next shift knows what's going on. Now, as with any job, there are pros and cons, and depending on how you view the situation, they can be taken either way. First, you'll be on your feet and moving all day. This is a job that will keep you in shape, and that will encourage you to eat right and exercise, because when you see how difficult it is for residents who have suffered from diseases like congestive heart failure, diabetes and stroke, you'll want to do everything possible to stay healthy and independent. And seconds, while no two days are alike, you'll usually be working with most of the same residents. This is a big plus because you'll learn their routine and get to know them and develop relationships with them. Some residents will grow to become very special to you, and yes, you will have favorites, but that's what makes it fun to come to work and take care of those residents who are special to you. And yes, there will be residents you don't like. And as a practice, this is a great time to exercise compassion for those residents and maybe even for yourself. All in all, a Certified Nursing Assistant's day passes very quickly. And the best part is knowing that you're spending your time helping those who truly need your help.