A Day in the Life of a CNA

If you want to join the ranks of Certified Nursing Assistants, you should know what to expect in a typical workday. Even though being a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, is not a glamorous job, the personal satisfaction of bettering a patient’s life has its own rewards.


CNAs never have a shortage of tasks while at work. Their shifts usually last between 6-8 hours per day. Nursing Assistants need to be constantly careful and acutely aware of their patients. The bulk of a CNA’s workday consists of direct patient care and there is never a shortage of patients who need to be seen.

Job Tasks of Daytime CNAs

Daytime CNAs perform activities such as bathing their patients and seeing to their general needs. Those who work in a nursing home usually make sure their patients eat healthy meals throughout the day, bathe, and are properly groomed.

CNAs will also answer the calls of patients who are hospitalized or reside in their facility. Patients will call their nurse for a wide variety of reasons such as for repositioning in order to prevent bedsores or bringing their patients meals. One example of this is diabetic patients who have their blood sugar levels checked periodically and require specific meals that depend on these results. CNAs are also responsible for checking their patients’ vitals.

Job Tasks of Nighttime CNAs

Those who work night shifts are responsible for making sure their patients are comfortable and get enough rest. CNAs will also bring patients their dinner. Critical patients may need to have their vital signs checked throughout the night.

Charting Test Results

All activities performed by a CNA that are necessary for the doctor to know must be charted by the CNA, including blood sugar and vital signs test results. If a patient’s health begins to deteriorate, the CNA should immediately notify the doctor.


CNAs will need to complete paperwork; the paperwork will vary depending upon their place of employment. As a general rule, nursing home CNAs tend to have less paperwork than hospital CNAs. The pay scale of different types of facilities reflects this.

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Jakie S

I have been a CNA in the state of California since 1995. One of my passions in life is to help people and help others who want to expand their careers and become CNAs.

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