The Lowdown on Nursing Assistant Jobs

nursing assistant jobs
Nursing Assistant Jobs

A Certified Nursing Assistant has many roles and responsibilities. However, their main duty is to care for the patients and help with their basic needs. There is a huge demand for nursing assistant jobs across the U.S.

Due to the nature of the work, CNAs are generally required to have people skills and should be excellent in communication since they will be dealing with nurses and patients. They should also be compassionate towards their patient, especially when they are helping them out. Most people consider the CNA as a patient’s caregiver.

Some health care centers allow CNAs to administer medication to their patients depending on their level of experience and training. A CNA also uses certain medical technology such as administrative software in their reporting. A registered nurse, licensed practical nurse or a licensed vocational nurse supervises them.

Duties of Nursing Assistant Jobs

Basically, CNAs tend to their patient’s daily activities and needs while some have additional tasks. Here’s a rundown of the duties of a CNA.

  1. Assist patients with bathing and dressing.
  2. Serve meals and feed them.
  3. Move the patient’s body position from time to time.
  4. Take and record vital signs.
  5. Observe and report the patient’s condition.
  6. Coordinate and report to the doctor or nurse
  7. Clean the sheets and empty the bedpan.
  8. Transport the patient from their bed to a wheelchair or examination table.
  9. Clean and sanitize the room.
  10. Setup medical equipment.

A CNAs job may not be glamorous but the assistant nurse salary is competitive. There are many advantages to becoming a certified nursing assistant.

How to Get Certified

Other forms of nursing assistant jobs will require you to earn a bachelor’s degree. Even though you only need a high school diploma to become a CNA, you still need to go through a formal training. You must enroll in state-approved CNA Programs. You can take part in a nursing school, community college, vocational and technical institutes.

In your CNA classes or CNA classes online, you will learn the basics of nursing principles in a classroom and clinical setting. Use your CNA study guide to help you through your journey.

After completing your CNA education, you still have to pass a state exam so that you can join the state registry. Each state has their own list of requirements which varies from state to state. Meanwhile, some may require you to go through a background check.  In case you wish to continue your education in nursing, you can earn an associate degree to advance your skills.

The CNA’s Working Environment

CNAs can generally work in various working environments in the healthcare industry whether it’s a local or private hospital. Aside from hospitals, CNAs are also free to work in nursing centers and long-term care facilities to name a few. Due to the fast-paced and demanding nature of the job, their work schedule is often irregular which means you might be asked to report to work at night, weekends and holidays.


The duties of a CNA in hospitals are generally the same in other healthcare sectors. However, CNAs who are working in hospitals don’t usually get the chance to bond and spend long periods with the patients. This is because they are often discharged in a couple of days.

Working in a hospital requires a fast pace. If you like this kind of environment, you’ll find working in a hospital fulfilling. If you have training and experience in certain areas, you can be assigned to various departments in the hospital including surgery, operating room, ICU and emergency room among many others.

Nursing and Long-term Care Facilities

The demand for CNA employment in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are continuing to grow. Most of the patients you’ll care for are the older and disabled people. If you are looking at a long-term career as a CNA, getting employed in these sectors can be the most suitable choice for you. CNAs working in nursing homes and long-term facilities have the opportunity to build a relationship with the patients.

The National Network of Career Nursing Assistants released a data stating that 28% of CNAs stay at the same job position for about five years while 13% continue to work as a certified nursing assistant for 10 to 55 years. On the other hand, since a CAN’s job can be quite demanding, some eventually opt to change nursing assistant jobs or careers.

The CNAs Salary

Based on statistics from PayScale.com, a CNA averagely earns around $18,385 and $31,672 while they receive a median salary of $24,245. Meanwhile, according to a BLS report, certified nursing assistants working in nursing care centers earn an average compensation of $25,160 while those who are working in hospitals receive $28,430. Since you know of the wage gap, you can decide which among the nursing assistant jobs suit your needs.

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