Typical Responsibilities of Oncology CNAs

Typical Responsibilities of Oncology CNAs
Last Updated:  |   Staff Writers |   Career

Oncology CNAs are nursing assistants who work in facilities that provide medical care to cancer patients. This typically includes specialty hospitals, cancer research centers and the oncology wings of private and public general hospitals. While oncology CNAs are responsible for a broad range of tasks, some of their main responsibilities are described briefly in the sections that follow.

Taking and Recording Vital Signs

Some of the most important responsibilities of oncology CNAs are taking and recording the vital signs of patients. Keeping track of vital signs is the best way for physicians to monitor the conditions of their patients. With that said, you will need to perform these tasks whenever a patient is admitted as well as at various times during your shift as directed by your immediate supervisor.

Providing Personal Care to Patients

Another important responsibility of CNAs working in oncology units is providing personal care to patients. Depending on each individual patient's condition, these tasks may vary from patient to patient. For example, while some patients may be able to walk on their own, others may be bedridden. Nevertheless, some typical tasks you will likely encounter as an oncology CNA are as follows:

  • Assisting Patients with Bedpans and Urinals
  • Changing and Cleaning Bedpans and Urinals
  • Making Beds and Changing Linen
  • Serving Meals and Feeding Patients
  • Helping Patients Dress and Groom Themselves
  • Preparing Patients for Oncology Treatments
  • Transporting Patients to Various Wings in the Facility

Maintaining Communication with Patients

Communicating with patients can be just as essential as taking and recording vital signs. When you get to know your patients, regular communication can help you recognize changes in their behavior and physical conditions. As such, take some time each day to speak with your patients.

Ask them how they feel and whether or not there is anything that is particularly concerning them. If you notice any changes in your patients, you need to report these issues right away to the head nurse. You will also want to take note of any unusual lumps, bruises or sores on your patients. You can easily do this while helping patients dress or bathe.

Organizing and Cleaning Storage Rooms

Finally, some other tasks you may be asked to perform during your shift as an oncology CNA include organizing and cleaning storage rooms. Medical equipment will need to be kept clean and sterilized, and inventory must be maintained at all times. If you are given this task, your supervisor will provide you with an inventory checklist to keep track of the facility's inventory.


Oncology CNAs are responsible for many important tasks including monitoring vital signs, providing personal care to patients and maintaining inventory.

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