The Certified Nursing Assistant’s number one priority is patient care. There are a range of responsibilities expected of CNAs, but the underlying principle is always the same. A CNA is responsible for taking care of patients when they are too weak or sick to care for themselves. These are the duties of a CNA.
Because the CNA is the primary caretaker for their patients, it is extremely important that they constantly monitor the vital signs of the patient. By being aware of changes in the patient’s health, a CNA keeps the rest of their healthcare team up-to-date on all of the patient’s needs. Tracking vital signs like heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, and breathing rate is only part of the task. The emotional well-being of a struggling patient is just as important to monitor. Their comfort level and mood are essential to understanding the intricacies of the patient’s recovery process.
A bed-ridden patient is greatly in need of a CNA’s services. Because hygiene is so critical to the patient’s quality of life, the CNA caring for them must provide assistance in bathing and bodily needs. Many degenerative diseases require constant attention that most patients are unable to provide independently. Keeping a patient’s body clean is the best way to prevent infection and further degeneration of their condition. But this cleanliness must also be applied to the environment around the patient. In the example of the bed-ridden patient again, there will be parts of their room that they are unable to maintain or upkeep. Because the atmosphere around them can be so influential to their bodily state, a patient’s room must be cleaned and maintained by the CNA. This upkeep isnot just for the sake of the patient, but visiting loved-ones will be reassured by the living conditions.
The most basic need for everyone is food and water. Some patients are in such weakened states that they are unable to obtain these necessities on their own, even with a meal on the tray before them. CNAs are responsible for making sure that patients are able to eat their daily sustenance. Depending on the institution of employment, this may mean feeding them in bed or helping them to the cafeteria or dining hall via wheelchair or crutches. Another basic need that many patients struggle to obtain is physical comfort. Patients who lose sleep to chronic pain will not recover as fast as patients who are made comfortable. By accommodating patients’ comfort levels, CNAs help the patient remain happy and healthy, speeding their recovery. This can be anything from adjusting their bed to making small talk at the right time. There are a range of complexities to the duties of a CNA, and finding the balance between professionalism and compassion is the key to success.