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Where Does a CNA Work and How Does S/he Spend His Work Day?

After becoming certified as a CNA, the next step is to hunt for a suitable employment. You probably would have some questions in mind like where to work and what you are expected to perform on your job? In this article, we have listed various places where you may find employment. Also, you will get to know how these professionals spend their work day. So, find out the best possible options and embark on your journey as a certified nurse assistant.

Employment Options for CNAs

1. Hospitals

Hospitals are the most common place where CNAs can work. Here you can work with patients of different age groups- from kids to elderly. According to your choice and depending upon the requirements, you can get to work in specialized departments like intensive care or progressive care, pediatrics, orthopedic, etc. You will have to work under the supervision of RNs or LPNs. According to the BLS, nurse aides working in specialty (except substance abuse or psychiatric) hospitals earned $28,290 per annum and $13.60 per hour, in May 2013. On the other hand, those working in general medical and surgical hospitals made $28,150 annually and $13.53 hourly.

2. Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities

Almost half of CNAs work in nursing homes and long-term health care facilities. They perform traditional tasks like measuring vital signs of the patients, administering medications, looking after the nutritional requirements of the patients, preparing patients for the surgery, etc. As of May 2013, nursing care facilities employed 622,850 CNAs and offered hourly mean wages of $12.01 and average annual salary of $24,970 (as per the reports of the BLS).

3. Assisted Living Facilities

CNAs who are employed in assisted living facilities have to work with the elderly and disabled patients as these patients need care for part-time when their family members are not around. According to the statistics of the BLS, assisted living facilities for elderly and continuing care retirement communities offered hourly and annual mean wages of $11.70 and $24,340 respectively (as of May 2013).

4. Home Health/Hospice Agencies

Work responsibilities of CNAs who work in home health agencies revolve around providing basic comfort and care (physical and emotional) to the patients at their home. Nursing assistants working in home health care services were reported to earn $23,940 per year and $11.51 per hour.

5. Other Employment Options

Besides the above-mentioned options, CNAs can even work with doctors, nursing schools, day care centers, urgent care centers, mental retardation residential facilities, clinics, medical staffing agencies, etc.

How Does a CNA Spend His Work Day?

Overall CNAs have to do a tough job as they remain busy throughout the day and have to deal with patients of various caste, religion, region and age.

Here is the list of activities that a CNA is supposed to do at workplace:

  • Collecting the report of the patients from the CNA who has worked in the last shift.
  • Ensuring that the medication provided to the patient is correctly administered.
  • Assisting the clients in motion exercises.
  • Gathering and stocking up the medical supplies.

Besides performing the above activities, nursing assistants spend their day accomplishing these tasks:

1. Caring for the Patients

There are several basic activities which form an essential part of daily living, but patients are not able to do them on their own. Therefore, nurse aides help them carry out these routine activities.

  • Patients are made to bath, dress up, and feed by the CNAs.
  • Regular cleaning of bed and surroundings.
  • Lifting and moving the patients from time to time.
  • Changing linens and shifting the patients sideways.
  • Communicating and discussing the care plan with the patient, doctor, nurses and patient’s family members.
  • Providing enemas and making fresh drinking water available to the patient.
  • Accumulating the patient’s urine and feces samples for checkup.
  • Supporting the clients in ambulation.
  • Providing pre and post surgical care.
  • Sterilizing the medical equipments.

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2. Documentation of Information

CNAs are required to keep track of the medical records of the patient throughout each shift. If there are any changes in the medical conditions, they must be noted. Medication, as prescribed by the physician, must be administered. Nutritional requirements along with fluid intake must be taken care of.

3. Preparing Food

Needs and requirements of every patient are different. CNAs must check the diet chart of every patient on the daily basis and then prepare their meal accordingly. It is the duty of the nursing assistant to check if patient needs to take strict diet or have to control on something due to medication. Any changes in medication or diet have direct impact on the patient’s health, so precautions must be taken while preparing meal.

4. Working with Other Healthcare Professionals

It is necessary to communicate with fellow physicians, dietitians and registered nurses to provide optimum care to the patients. You can make changes in the patient’s medical chart, as per the orders from other medical professionals.