The Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) job description can vary not only from state to state, but can also vary depending on the type of facility and its individual standards and procedures.
Generally, the CNA is the hands, eyes and ears of the supervising nursing and medical staff. The CNA's immediate supervisor is usually the Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) on duty. The Certified Nursing Assistant job description can also vary somewhat between facility departments and specialties such as the pulmonary floor in a hospital or the dementia unit in a long term care facility. There are many more elements of the Certified Nursing Assistant job description that remain constant than change.
Most professionals agree that the most important facets of the Certified Nursing Assistant job description apply to the personal contact and care of the patient. The primary function of any CNA is to assist and maintain the patient's activities of daily living (ADLs). Activities usually include hygiene and dressing, meals, mobility, toileting and bed changing. Not every patient needs assistance or supervision in each of these areas, but it is a part of the Certified Nursing Assistant job description to ensure that all of these activities are achieved on a daily basis.
Another important aspect of the Certified Nursing Assistant job description involves the accurate recording of each patient's information. Although training in the measurement and recording of vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure and pulse is included in virtually all CNA training programs, not all facilities include this task as a part of the Certified Nursing Assistant job description. Some facilities require the licensed nurse on duty to record "vitals". However, there is much more information that needs to be accurately recorded within the day such as food and liquid intake, bowel and urinary output, mood, behavior and any problems or difficulties that may occur during the CNA's shift. This information may be recorded in a journal or, as is the case with most facilities, recorded within a computer system which is easily accessible to all staff in order to retrieve any relevant data. Another part of the Certified Nursing Assistant job description is the collection of samples, usually urine or bowel, as requested by other medical personnel.
The Certified Nursing Assistant job description also includes certain responsibilities relating to patient safety. Specific guidelines will vary depending on emergency procedures in place at a specific facility however CNA training includes standard CPR and emergency equipment training. Usually, the CNA is the first to respond to a patient call or emergency light and is responsible for coordinating assistance to solve whatever issue may arise.