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CNAs

Certified Nurse Assistants

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CNA duties and responsibilities

  • Turning or moving clients
  • Gathering medical supplies.
  • Bathing patients
  • Grooming patients by brushing their hair, teeth, shaving them, etc.
  • Feeding patients and documenting their food and liquid intake.
  • Checking vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Answering patient calls.
  • Documenting information.
  • Cleaning rooms and bed linens.
  • Stocking supplies
  • Assisting with some medical procedures.
  • Safety procedures
  • Transporting patients

In nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, CNAs are often the primary caregiver and have more contact with the patient than any other staff member.

CNA certification

CNAs must pass a state licensing exam to be certified. This requires a formal training program offered by community colleges and vocational and technical schools. Candidates must learn basic principles of nursing care and complete several hours of supervised clinical experience.

Home Health Aides vs Certified Nursing Assistants

The main purpose of a home health aide is to provide clients with personal care.  HHAs will assist with everyday tasks: bathing, grooming, restroom use, getting dressed, meal preparation, transportation, laundry, light housekeeping, running errands, and more.

With the training they received, HHAs are great helpers and companions to seniors.  But HHAs have limited medical training.  That said, they rarely provide medical assistance, cannot provide nursing care, and do not offer medical advice.  However, HHAs will monitor their clients’ condition and remind them to take their medication.

Certified nursing assistants have the same personal training as a home health aide does, so they can assist clients with many of the same tasks that HHAs do, such as eating and hygiene care.  In addition to providing direct care, they can also help clients switch positions in bed for comfort and assist them from their wheelchairs to their beds and vice versa.

With this medical training, CNAs will monitor patients' health, take vitals, track their symptoms, and can speak with clients about health concerns.  Furthermore, they will report their findings to their supervising nurse.

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