Nija Jackson, LMSW
If you are considering to become a CNA, it entails providing a great deal of hands on patient care to persons in a nursing home, hospital and the patient's home environment. It involves dressing, bathing, feeding and other basic activities of life. A day in the life of a CNA looks like this listed below:
- Turning or repositioning bedridden patients. Transferring patients from bed to wheelchair or from wheelchair to bed.
- Taking patients’ temperature, blood pressure and other vital signs.
- Answering patient calls.
- Documenting patients’ health issues and report to nurses on any concerns. Cleaning rooms and bed linens.
- Feeding patients, measuring and recording their food and liquid intake.
- Helping with medical procedures.
- Assist nurses in dressing wounds.
- Be respectful and kind to patients and families. Treat patients with dignity.
Usually, when the CNAs begin their shift, they conduct rounds to obtain an update and information about the patients from the staff that completed their shift. Then the charge nurse meets with all of the CNAs on the unit to provide their assignments on which patients you will be giving care to. A CNA can be assigned to anywhere from 8 to 10 patients or more if there is a shortage of CNAs on the unit. Sometimes, a CNA is selected to do 1:1 with a patient that has a history of wandering or behavioral concerns. CNAs work different shifts.
It can be physically demanding at times performing responsibilities of a CNA. Being a CNA builds strong relationships with patients and their families.
If you have the desire to become a CNA, you should not let anything stop you; just go for it. Being a CNA may help you to think about furthering your career in the medical field. Think about reasons why you want to become a CNA; and also consider the advantages and disadvantages of being a CNA. Every job is a challenge but you can do anything that you put your mind into. These recommendations and the information that is provided to you may help you to decide your career path.
I hope this answers your question. Good luck to you!
Nija recommends the following next steps:
I have worked in long term care for approximately 30 years and I have always had a great deal of respect for CNA's. Although the financial benefits are getting better it is not a job that one seeks primarily for financial reasons. The best CNA's are the ones that are selfless and enjoy the care aspect of taking care of others that cannot care for themselves.
To answer your question, yes it is a tough job but the real question is do you have an undeniable urge to care for the sick and elderly instead of taking a different carer path that would pay approximately the same or possibly even more.