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What is a HHA?


A home health aide provides basic personal care to patients, many of whom are elderly or disabled.  HHAs primarily assist with; bathing, dressing and other hygiene needs, in addition to preparing meals and helping patients eat.  They also may perform light housekeeping duties, grocery shopping and provide transportation.  HHAs do not provide medical care and function sometimes as companions.  They often work in the patient's home, group homes or care homes.  Home health aides are not required to obtain certification from The State for employment. 


What is a CNA?


A certified nursing assistant or CNA helps patients by providing basic quality of life needs in a wide variety of settings; nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities, adult day care centers and personal homes.  But there is much more to the definition of a CNA than this simple answer depicts.  So again, what is a CNA?  In the following article we will explain in detail, the duties and responsibilities of a certified nursing assistant.  You will gain knowledge and a better understanding of what a CNA’s role is in the health care industry and why you should consider training to become a CNA. 


Let’s get started


If you have ever been in the hospital or visited someone who has, you have probably met a certified nursing assistant.  CNA's provide quality nursing care to patients in an environment that promotes the patient's dignity and rights.  They also serve as the liaison between the patient and the medical staff.  A common thought is that a CNA serves as “the eyes and ears” for the nurses and doctors because the CNA spends the majority of their time attending patients.


Certified nursing assistants are supervised by either a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN).  One of the duties of a CNA is to provide individualized attention to each patient, which encourages the patient's ability to maintain the highest level of comfort.  Additionally, keeping a patient clean, fed, well hydrated and helping them rehabilitate, are all part of a CNA’s job description.  These presumably simple things are extremely important to the patient’s recovery and well-being.


Another major duty of a CNA is to help alleviate the patient's anxiety and stress levels. Developing a friendly bedside manner can foster good interactions and a strong bond between the patient and CNA.  It is this type of familiarity that allows a certified nursing assistant to notice changes in the patient's mental or physical condition. Speech patterns, changes in skin color and respiratory rate are just a few things that can indicate other serious health issues that need to be reported.  The main role of a CNA is to act as an extension of the medical staff.


What does a CNA do?


  • Serve meals and help the patient eat if necessary.

  • Check and record vital signs.

  • Assist the patient to move, stand, or walk.

  • Ensure that the patient’s bed and room is clean.

  • Help the patient change their clothes, brush their teeth, and comb their hair.

  • Record and report any mental or physical health changes.

  • Bathe and clean the patient.

  • Interact with the patient and their family members.

  • Assist in physical therapy and exercise as needed.

  • Make sure the patient is comfortable.

  • Reposition the patient to prevent bed sores.

  • Take patients on daily walks or push their wheel chairs.

  • Help with any toileting needs, including bedpans and urinals.

  • Answering all calls from the patients in a timely manner.

  • Have an awareness of potentially dangerous situations.

  • Documentation of all care provided to patients.


Is a certified nursing assistant career right for you?


You came to this page to learn what a CNA is and what their job functions are. Honestly, CNA's do not have an easy job.  This profession is not for everyone and it takes a certain type of individual to be a CNA.  To excel in this career field, you should enjoy helping people and working in a team environment.  This job is extremely rewarding and a great step in the right direction for those seeking a solid career in the healthcare industry.  If you have the following personality traits, you probably have what it takes to become a certified nursing assistant.




A certified nursing assistant demonstrates dependability by doing what is expected of them and giving full commitment to their work and patients.  The role of the CNA is critical to ensure the patient's recovery and sometimes survival of life threatening situations.


Team Player


Teamwork in healthcare is vitally important to patient treatment, care and safety.  The better the members of a healthcare team are able to work together, the better they are able to provide the best quality patient care possible.  Remember that work in the healthcare industry can be emotionally exhausting so it is important to be kind to your co-workers.  A CNA must be able to accept criticism from other people without being defensive in order to improve performance that will later contribute to job satisfaction.  Failure to work as a team could potentially cause harm to the patient, co-worker and yourself.


Following Directions


The CNA must follow the directions of doctors and nurses who issue orders for the well-being of the patient.  CNAs may however voice their opinions or concerns about the orders given due to their close relationship to the patient.  Concerns should be voiced in such a way that is neither argumentative nor insubordinate.




A CNA should always remember that they are a professional.  If an accident occurs, a supervisor should be notified immediately and it should be documented.  Learning from your errors is a major step in accountability.  It shows your superiors and coworkers that you are trustworthy and take your position seriously.




Being compassionate and empathetic to the needs of your patient is a job requirement.  Empathy is being able to see yourself in someone else's shoes without the need to pity them.  A CNA should have the ability to understand the needs and feelings of the patient in order to provide mental and physical support. 




Many certified nursing assistants find that patience is the number one skill they need to succeed.  Patients are often scared, very ill and maybe even suspicious of their surroundings.  The CNA will likely feel the aggression related to these fears.  CNAs work with patients that have bad attitudes, are combative and complain about everything.  It is imperative that the CNA control their reactions to the patient's behavior and maintains a professional demeanor at all times.  The CNA should remember that the patient's aggression is not personal.     


Communication Skills


The ability to communicate well is a very important skill a CNA must possess.  With that in mind, you should be customer service oriented, have correspondence writing skills, strong computer skills, send emails, fax and return telephone calls in a timely manner.  Being able to communicate effectively facilitates the process of passing status reports and other vital information to doctor, nurse and staff members.


So, what’s next?


If you find yourself intrigued and you want to know more about our CNA classes, call now and speak with one of our certified training instructors.  They will guide you through the enrollment process.


Contact us to schedule appointment today.

Call us at 904-434-2949

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