The work you will perform day to day as a CNA will largely depend on the healthcare setting you’ve chosen to work in. One of the great benefits of working as a CNA is that you have countless choices available to you in this profession. Hospitals and nursing homes never close, and here you will find the opportunity to choose the shift that best fits your lifestyle. Hospitals provide the largest variety of areas in which to practice. Depending on the area in which you choose to work, you may find yourself giving a giggling baby a bath, feeding a patient who has suffered a stroke, or comforting a patient facing the fears of the end of life. Other common hospital duties include: taking vital signs, measuring and recording oral intake and urinary output, repositioning and transferring patients, providing gentle exercise of the joints of bedfast patients, and assisting nurses with dressing changes and other procedures.
If you prefer to care for patients who are able to perform most of their own care, consider working in an assisted living facility. Most patients who live in assisted living environments are able to bathe, dress and feed themselves. They will require an occasional “look see” to spot any decline or oncoming illness.
Perhaps you prefer having your weekends and holidays free? Then you may consider applying for a position in a doctor’s office or clinic. Here you will be responsible for assisting patients into the exam room, checking and recording vital signs and other pertinent health information. If you prefer a more independent working arrangement, consider working for a home health agency or hospice. These patients will require vital sign monitoring, assistance with bathing, dressing and linen changes.
No matter where you choose to spend your CNA career, you will work under the supervision of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. But never forget that you are a valuable part of the healthcare team. You will constantly evaluate your patients for signs and symptoms that must be reported to the nurse in charge. Most often it will be you that discovers a complication or worsening of your patient’s condition. Many times physicians needing to know more about a patient’s home life and challenges will come to you for that information. You are the practitioner who spends the most time with the patient. You will develop close relationships with them, and you will be the one they trust and rely on during what is perhaps the most vulnerable time in their life.
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