The Physical Demands of CNA Career

The Physical Demands of CNA Career

Are you a CNA student who would like to learn about the physical demands of your future career? While nurse aides are responsible for a broad range of tasks in long-term care facilities, the majority of tasks they must perform are physically demanding. To help you understand what you should expect when you obtain employment as a CNA, you will find some of the most common physically demanding nurse aide tasks described below.

Standing and Walking

As a certified nurse aide, you will spend most of your time at work standing and walking. While you will likely be allowed to take a lunch or dinner break, you may or may not be permitted to take other short breaks. In fact, the only time you may be able to sit is while feeding patients or when you take a break.

With that said, you must wear comfortable shoes that do not have heels. Since you may encounter slippery floors at times, you will also need to invest in shoes that have non-slip, rubber soles. Your employer may have additional regulations pertaining to the type of shoes you will need to purchase for your job.

Bending and Lifting

During your shifts as a CNA, you will also spend a lot of time bending, kneeling, pushing, and lifting. Most employers stipulate in their CNA job descriptions that you will need to be able to lift at least 50 pounds. This is due to the nature of the tasks you must perform on the job. As such, you should be in perfect physical condition.

Tasks in this category vary depending on the facility where you work, and in some cases, you may be able to get help lifting patients and objects. For example, some facilities provide lifting devices, and you may also be able to enlist the help of a coworker if necessary. In any case, some of the tasks you may encounter that require bending, kneeling, pushing, or lifting are listed below.

  • Making Beds
  • Helping Patients with Bedpans and Urinals
  • Helping Patients with Walkers
  • Assisting Patients with Exercises
  • Moving Patients from Beds to Wheelchairs and Back
  • Pushing Wheelchairs Around the Facility
  • Rolling Patients to Prevent Bedsores or Make Beds
  • Lifting Heavy Boxes and Other Heavy Objects
  • Moving Heavy Machinery

Exposure to Infectious Diseases

Finally, working as a certified nurse aide can lead to exposure to various bodily fluids and infectious diseases if you do not take the proper precautions. During your CNA training, you will be instructed on proper hand-washing techniques as well as when and how to wear protective gear. The most common types of protective gear for CNAs today include:

  • Goggles or Protective Glasses
  • Hair Nets or Caps
  • Medical Gowns or Suits
  • Rubber or Latex Gloves
  • Disposable Nose and Mouth Masks
  • Booties


The job of a CNA can be quite physically demanding. As a CNA, you will spend much of your time on your feet. Additionally, you must be able to lift at least 50 pounds.

You Might Also Like

Find CNA Programs Near You

Your path to becoming a CNA starts here. Search for a CNA program near you.