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Certified Nursing Assistant Role and Responsibilities

September 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Certified Nursing Assistant

As a Certified Nursing Assistant, your role is to provide personal care and assistance to the elder client who might receive health-care services in a variety of settings. Although you can work in various settings such as hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices or clients’ homes, the practice focus of this text is on the long-term care setting. If you practice in a hospital or clinical setting, you can substitute the term patient for all references of resident in this chapter. You can also substitute the title patient care assistant or technician for the title of nursing assistant/aide. Regardless of your practice setting or your title, your job or position description outlines your responsibilities and duties in detail. The most important tasks you perform are direct personal care of the client referred to as the resident.

Tasks listed on your job description can vary from one facility to another but often include personal care including, but not limited to

  • Activities of daily living (ADLs): Personal care activities performed by residents every day, which include bathing, grooming, dressing, eating and hydrating, toileting, ambulating, and exercising.
  • Measurement and client observation: Measuring, recording, and reporting resident vital signs (temperature, pulse, respiration, and blood pressure), height and weight, intake and output, meal consumption, changes in resident’s condition, collecting laboratory specimens, and applying resident restraints.
  • Procedures outlined in facility procedure manual and performed under the supervision of a licensed nurse: Performing skills including instilling enemas; applying non-sterile dressings; applying ice packs; attending to skin and oral needs; and admitting, transferring, and discharging patients.
  • Infection control: Adhering to facility care standards; that is, preventing and isolating client infection through handwashing, care and handling of contaminated objects, isolation procedures, and observing and reporting environmental situations that might spread infection.
  • Assisting with client ambulation, movement, and exercise: Lifting, moving, and transporting residents from one position to another, from one room to another, or from one facility to another. Assisting the resident to maintain or regain normal range of motion and body strength, and assisting physical exercise to maintain musculoskeletal function and general well-being.
  • Environmental care and safety: Making residents’ living conditions as comfortable and safe as possible by keeping the residents’ rooms clean and tidy, making beds and arranging residents’ furniture, adjusting room temperature and lighting, removing potential safety hazards or sources of personal injury such as spills or objects left on the floor, removing refuse and caring for plants, and performing CPR and resident evacuation in case of fire or other environmental threats.
  • Communication: Verbal or written communication with clients, visitors, and healthcare team members; observing and recording resident care or information; and answering the telephone and taking messages.

Other tasks and duties that fall under the responsibility of the nursing assistant include the following:

  • Protecting residents’ rights, privacy, confidentiality, and dignity
  • Following safety rules, adhering to legal and ethical standards of care
  • Complying with all agency policies
  • Promoting client safety and well-being
  • Participating in facility efforts to provide quality care and performance improvement activities
  • Continuing staff education
  • Performing post-mortem procedures
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