Are you a newly-certified nursing assistant or someone who is getting ready to graduate from a CNA program? Have you been wondering about the duties you will be responsible for as a CNA in a nursing home? Today, CNAs are responsible for a broad range of tasks in nursing homes, ranging from cleaning duties to direct patient care.
Characteristics of Nursing Homes
First of all, to better understand the responsibilities of CNAs in nursing homes, you must learn the difference between nursing home care and the care given in other types of long-term care facilities. Whereas patients in other facilities can typically handle day-to-day activities on their own, nursing home patients often require extensive assistance with their daily needs.
With that said, CNAs in nursing homes are generally responsible for more cleaning-related and assistance-type tasks than are nursing assistants who choose to work in other types of long-term care facilities. Furthermore, with the Baby Boomer generation coming of age, there is a growing demand for qualified CNAs in nursing homes all across the United States.
Typical Cleaning-Related Tasks
Much of the work you will perform as a CNA in a nursing home will involve cleaning-related tasks. This includes a broad assortment of duties that range from routine responsibilities to tasks that must be performed on an "as-needed" basis. While some of these tasks may vary, some of the most common ones include:
- Making Beds and Changing Linen
- Laundering Linen and Clothing
- Cleaning and Sanitizing Patients' Rooms and Bathrooms
- Changing and Cleaning Bedpans and Urinals
- Cleaning and Organizing Stockrooms
Common Assistance-Type Duties
Some other essential responsibilities of CNAs in nursing homes involve assistance-type duties. As stated previously, nursing home patients often require extensive help with their daily activities. This type of work can be a bit difficult at times, which means that you must be in top physical shape. Some of the most common of these duties are as follows:
- Lifting Patients
- Helping Patients to and from Bathrooms
- Helping Patients with Bedpans and Urinals
- Re-positioning Patients to Prevent Bed Sores
- Bathing Patients
- Transferring Patients to and from Appointments
- Feeding Patients
- Helping Patients Dress, Shave and Brush Their Teeth
Emotional Support and CNAs
Providing emotional support to patients is another important task that CNAs are responsible for in nursing homes. Many nursing home patients experience various emotions such as loneliness, fear, depression, and apathy. As a nursing assistant, part of your time will be spent talking with patients and helping to relieve their stress.
Many certified nursing assistants state that this is the most satisfying aspect of their careers. By listening to and talking with patients, learning from them, and helping to brighten their days, you will find that your job as a CNA will be more fulfilling than you ever dreamed possible.
Common Miscellaneous Tasks
Depending on your employer and the state where you work, you may be responsible for various other tasks in addition to those described above. For example, while some states and employers allow CNAs to perform minor medical-related tasks, other states and employers do not. Nevertheless, some common miscellaneous tasks are:
- Taking and Recording Patients' Vital Signs
- Reporting Changes in Patients' Behavior or Physical Condition
- Changing Dressings and Cleaning Wounds
- Handing Out and Administering Medication
- Collecting Urine and Stool Samples
- Administering First Aid and CPR
- Drawing Blood
- Maintaining Stockroom Inventory
- Sterilizing Medical Equipment
- Assisting During Examinations and Treatments
CNAs are responsible for a large variety of tasks in nursing homes today, and they typically include cleaning, assistance and medical-related duties.