Have you ever wandered down the halls of a hospital, wondering just how everything gets done? You may see the occasional doctor headed to an emergency call, a few nurses behind a desk working on essential paperwork, and men and women in scrubs power-walking through the hallways, obviously on a mission.

These power-walking heroes are called Certified Nursing Assistants, or CNAs, and they are the reason that hospitals, nursing facilities, and assisted living communities work as smoothly as they do.

But what is a CNA’s job, and how would one go about becoming one? Is the job rewarding, or is it filled with busy work that simply takes up the time?

Let’s discuss!

What Does a Certified Nurse’s Assistant Do?

CNAs are the compassionate people you see every day in our Washington and Oregon communities. They work face to face with our residents, building trusting relationships while taking care of our residents’ personal needs. Their goal entirely is to make each resident feel comfortable, cared for, and safe.

A CNA will work under a nurse, or nurses, and they complete many, many essential tasks that have to be done for our resident’s health and quality of life. For example, some of their duties include:

  • turning bedridden individuals to prevent bedsores and infection
  • taking vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate
  • be the communication between the resident and the nurse, reporting any illness complaints or general needs, for example
  • helping nurses with required medical procedures
  • providing personal hygiene care, such as bathing, brushing teeth or dentures, and shaving

While this list covers a lot of what a CNA can do, it is definitely not exhaustive. The responsibilities of a CNA are the basic building blocks of a successful and comfortable life in any medical community. A CNA is an essential worker, and no community could run effectively, or efficiently, without them.

The most important responsibility of a CNA is to be a friend, an advocate, and a trusted companion to someone who simply needs someone. A CNA must be emotionally strong, compassionate, and dedicated to serving others in the best way possible. Optimism with a smile for our residents is always rewarded.

How Does One Learn to Be a CNA?

A person wanting to be a CNA doesn’t have to be a college graduate. The classes and work experience you will go through will fully prepare you for the examination you will need to pass to get your certification. Classes are offered at community colleges, technical schools, and even within the community you have chosen to work for. Many long-term healthcare communities, like our Nightingale communities, offer in-house classes and hands-on experience at the same time, allowing you to work while attending school.

You will need to take a two-part test after your classes and experience hours are complete. The first part of the test is a written exam, checking for essential, but basic and even life-saving information that can be conveyed through words. The second part of the test is practical, which means that you will physically complete several required responsibilities while being observed by a professional.

For example, a practical test could include transferring a patient from their bed into a wheelchair, giving them a shower, getting them dressed, feeding them breakfast, and then transferring them safely back into their bed. The test observer may want to watch you take vital signs and check for any signs of distress. Our residents are treated with dignity, respect, and confidentiality.

The practical test scares many people in the beginning, but you will know exactly what to do by the time you get to that point because you will have done it many times before. Once you have passed the test and received your state certification, you will be able to work independently and confidently as a CNA in one of the most rewarding and profound experiences you can ever have.

A Rewarding, Profound Experience

CNAs work with our most delicate populations and the people most deserving of our care. The first time you sit next to an individual, a friend in need, holding their hand for comfort during a medical procedure or while they feel ill will never leave you. They needed you, and you were there just for their comfort. We can’t think of a more rewarding, profound experience.

Nightingale Healthcare has beautiful communities throughout Washington State and Oregon. Our care is centered on the individual needs of each resident and our love and compassion know no bounds. If you have any questions about becoming a CNA within any of our communities, give us a call at (360) 656-6609. Contact us for a tour of the community nearest you.