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What is a typical day working as a CNA?


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Jaime’s Answer

This question depends on whether you work in a hospital, long term care facility or home health.

Hospital: these are usually 12 hour shifts, you are responsible for: vitals every 2, 4, or 8 hours (unit dependent), ambulating your pt to the restroom/around their room, in the hallway usually 2-3 times per day (or per PT/OT recommendations), feeding patients that are listed as 1:1 feeds, rotating those patients who have a high potential for skin breakdown every 2 hours, charting everything you've done, cleaning patients that are bed bound and usually incontinent, assisting patients with a bed bath or shower that are mobile, linen/bed changes as needed, bladder scanning, EKG's, running errands for the nursing staff (like grabbing units of blood from the blood bank, running samples to the lab), and last but definitely not least sitting with patients on a 1-1 basis (constant observers are for several types of patients- those on suicide watch, those who pull lines and are super confused, those who are in critical condition). The usual staff ratio is 1:4, 1:6 or 1:8 (unit dependent)

Long Term Care: these are often 8 hour shifts, you are responsible for: vitals q8h, feeding patients, ambulating patients, entertaining patients (games/movies/music), keep in mind these are usually very high CNA to patient ratios around 1:15 and even as high as 1:20. They usually try to keep this lower, but let's face it CNA's are super outnumbered and in high need. Some of these individuals are given medication rights/ delegation from nurses and have the ability to pass/ administer medications too (usually called med techs).

Home health: these are usually 8 hour shifts, but they may be even shorter. You are legit a friend/ companion/ sometimes taking individuals to appointments. You will also toilet, change, shower, but the ratio is usually 1:1 and a pretty low stress environment.

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Jenny’s Answer

I was a CNA at a hospital in the pre-op / post-op departments. In that environment, it is a super fast paced day with relatively limited but repeated tasks. For example, on pre-op you help nurses make sure a patient is ready for surgery. Vital signs, height, weight, pregnancy tests, and basic pre surgery filter questions (when was the last time you ate or drank anything). In post op, it is vital signs, grabbing first drinks or snacks, and taking out IV catheters. Also helping clean and turn over rooms for the next wave of patients.

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