What Does a CNA Do for the Nursing School kids?

January 10th, 2020

Since I work in a nursing home as a CNA (Certified Nurse Aide) I get the question a lot, “What does a CNA do?” This is my list of things a CNA does on second shift (2pm to 10pm) at the nursing home I work. If you’ve ever wondered what a CNA does while you are away from Mom and Dad, here it is. Due to HIPPAA laws, I can only give general descriptions. Online websites has been opened for assisting the person in finding the cna programs near me. The certificate will lead to a bright future nearby.

CNA shift- The Beginning

CNA’s must clock in for work 5 minutes before their shift, then report to the nurse’s station to find out what hall or section they will be working. They meet with the CNA that had their hall/ section during the previous shift. The CNA that is leaving gives the oncoming CNA a report about how everyone is doing, whether anyone is sick, out of the facility or if they were transferred to the upper room (passed away). They will report any bizarre behaviors, depression or any other problems.

CNA Shift- 2pm to 5pm

After a walk-through, from 2 to 3 will be a slow time. They will answer call lights, get people up that want to get up, lay out pajamas for the night and take vital signs if the nurse asks for any. At 3pm the kitchen staff will announce to the CNA’s that snacks are ready outside of dietary. One CNA will go and retrieve the cart and pass out the snacks to the people in their hall/ section and then place the cart in the other CNA’s hall for them. Shortly after that, we take the residents to the bathroom, change their briefs (adult diapers) and head them down to the dining room. If there is an activity going on, they can join in. If not, then the TV will be on an appropriate show that anyone can watch. The CNA staff will take turns taking a 30 minute lunch break. After every one has had lunch, we work together to get everyone down to the dining room for “supper”.

CNA Shift- Supper TimeFor supper time, each CNA has a job. In our nursing home, hall 1 passes trays in the dining room, hall 2 and 4 feed and assist in assisted dining and hall 3 stays near the rooms, passes trays through the sections and answers call lights. Feeding, passing trays, setting up trays, cleaning up and taking the residents back to their rooms (or another activity) will keep us busy until 7pm. Each CNA takes a 15 minute break after dinner.

CNA Shift- Bedtime!

We usually have all our residents in bed early. We have a few who stay up later, but most of our residents are falling asleep before we get them into bed. Depending on their needs, we undress them, put their pajamas or gown on them, change their brief or toilet them, lotion them, brush their teeth/ remove their teeth, wipe their face clean and get them into bed. Some of our residents are rolled side to side every two hours while others can move themselves or need little help.

CNA Shift- Book Work

We also fill out charts or paperwork on every resident. It tells the nurses and other staff the residents ability and amount of help needed for bed mobility, transfers, toileting, feeding, dressing, hygiene and whether or not they were continent. We also fill out a meal/ snack monitor book for residents who are losing weight, are diabetic or have skin issues. Sometime before or after filling out the charts, we take another 15 minute break.

CNA Shift- Last Rounds

One last time, the CNA’s walk through room to room checking on the residents, making sure they are dry and turned before the next shift comes to work. Then we empty our trash barrels and wait for the next shift to arrive. We give them report and then clock out, go outside to the smoking gazebo and vent to each other about how crazy our day was.

If you would like more information on CNA life, contact me and I will be happy to share my experiences (within HIPPAA laws).