If you’re considering or currently studying to become a CNA, you have chosen a great career field. However, do you know exactly what a CNA does or even how many hats they can wear? Many are surprised at how many places a CNA can work at in the healthcare industry.
What are CNAs and Their Basic Duties?
A certified nursing assistant, or CNA, is someone who wears many hats within the healthcare industry. The basic job description of a CNA is patient care and wellbeing so they are able to go pretty much anywhere. They are mostly seen in nursing care facilities, but CNAs can be hired in hospitals, staffing agencies, and hospices, to name a few.
This is just a few of the basic duties a CNA will have to do:
- Bathe and dress patients
- Serve food and help patients with eating
- Take vital signs
- Turn and reposition patients who are bedridden
- Collect information on treatment plans and conditions from caregivers and doctors
- Provide and empty bedpans
- Answer patient calls
- Change bedsheets and restock room supplies
Other duties and responsibilities will be taken off or added according to the place and position a CNA finds.
Places CNAs Can Work
From hospitals to home care to skilled nursing facilities, many of these places have no shortage of positions needing to be filled for skilled CNAs. These are only a few of the most popular places CNAs look at when deciding where to work after training. There are certainly many more that are worth the research into.
CNA hospital jobs are the most sought-after positions in the industry. In this job, CNAs don’t get to spend as much time with other patients as they would with nursing facilities or hospices. However, it is fast-paced and the duties vary depending on which department you apply for. The basics duties a CNA would have to perform still apply.
- Good pay and benefits
- Backed by experienced doctors and nurses
- Fast-paced environment
- Duties vary according to department placement
- Depending on policy, could transfer departments with supervisor approval
- Hospitals positions are hard to get
- Less turnover than other healthcare facilities
- Volunteer to get foot in the door
A hospice CNA will provide palliative care to patients who are extremely ill and emotional support for family members. The duties required in this position include, but aren’t limited to the general care and wellbeing of the patient, keeping pain-relieving treatments and other medical treatments up-to-date, personal care of the patient, emotional support of the family, and housekeeping duties such as vacuuming and laundry. Since you are providing end-of-life care for patients in this field, this is not a position step into lightly. Most only work in hospice positions if they are truly called to it.
- Hospice CNAs can work in several fields including nursing facilities, private homes, and patient’s home
- Job experience will be varied as you work in this field
- Make a meaningful difference with terminal patients and families
- Lower pay than other CNA jobs
- Heavy workload on top of keeping up with new sciences and medical trends
- Providing terminal patients with end-of-life care can become emotionally and mentally taxing
Home Health Agencies
For CNAs who are looking to get experience and work without direct supervision, this is a good position for that. Home health agencies send CNAs to patients who want to live at home or aren’t ready to go to a long-term care facility. They provide the daily care of the patient to help them avoid hospitalizations and even help them gain some independence again. Some duties involved are daily care and maintaining the wellbeing of the patient, light housework, and consistent documentation of the treatment and at-home medical care.
- Good for getting experience without direct supervision
- Make a meaningful impact for patients, especially those who don’t get visitors
- Some flexibility depending on schedule and patient’s needs
- Can be a tedious position; some find it hard to fill the downtime
- Time management can be hard to accomplish
- Sometimes will have to drive somewhere that is unsafe
Long-term Care and Nursing Homes
Long-term care and nursing homes are the way most CNAs start out their careers. Many enjoy the ability to help care for the elderly and disabled. Working in a care facility also provides a stability that other jobs can’t provide. Best of all, by law, the facility and government are required to reimburse you for your training. Basic duties and skills of a CNA still apply here, but working in a nursing home does provide variations to the duties including physical therapy, emotional support of the family, acute care, and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS).
- Employers must reimburse you for training costs
- You will receive different experiences in a low-intensity environment
- It will vary on what you see; it’s never boring
- You get to know patients
- Physically less demanding
- Nursing homes and care facilities pay less
- There is a stigma about nursing homes
- You get attached to certain patients
- Skill set is more concentrated due to a low-key environment
It’s a myth that CNAs only work in nursing homes and long-term facilities. Just from the list provided, you can see that CNAs can go pretty much anywhere in the healthcare industry. From nursing homes to hospice, to hospitals, CNAs are not only wanted, but they are needed. The variation in their skillset makes them invaluable to the ever-changing healthcare field. So if you were afraid of being stuck in one particular place as a CNA, don’t worry. You’ll be able to go anywhere within your chosen career field.