What is a Certified Nursing Assistant?

What is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)?

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), also known as orderlies or nursing aides, are healthcare professionals who provide basic care for patients in hospitals and/or residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. The retiring Baby Boomer generation has placed a greater need for healthcare professionals like Certified Nursing Assistants, with the CNA field growing 21% in the next eight years. With more than 300,000 jobs becoming available, CNAs have a great opportunity for future job security. The ideal Certified Nursing Assistant maintains strong and flexible physical stamina, an attitude of compassion and respect, strong communication skills, and patience. This page explains what is a CNA in Arizona.

What do CNAs do?

What is a CNA job requirement? What is a CNA responsibility? Certified Nursing Assistants help with activities of daily living, including the following:

  • Clean and bathe patients
  • Help patients use the toilet and dress
  • Turn, reposition, and transfer patients between beds and wheelchairs
  • Listen to and record patients’ health concerns and report that information to nurses
  • Measure patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature
  • Serve meals and help patients eat

Depending on their training and their state of practice, some CNAs may maintain the responsibility of dispensing medication to patients or residents.

What is a CNA going to do in a long-term healthcare facility? In a nursing home environment, CNAs commonly work as principal caregivers. A CNA may have more contact with residents than other members of the staff. Due to the nature of this relationship, residents who stay in a nursing homes for extended periods of time may develop close attachments to their CNAs, and vice versa.

Certified Nursing Assistants work as part of a healthcare team, directly under the supervision of a licensed practical, or vocational, nurses and registered nurses. CNAs spend the majority of their working hours on their feet while caring for a varied, but high, number of patients. CNAs wear uniforms (scrubs) to maintain the cleanliness of their healthcare facility and the safety of the personnel and residents. Training for proper lifting and moving of patients is required or provided by most CNA employers.

Where do CNAs work?

What is a a CNA work environment like? In 2012, Certified Nursing Assistants held, roughly, 1.5 million jobs with more than half of all CNAs working in nursing and residential care facilities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A heavier demand on the healthcare industry by an aging workforce will require more CNAs to care for elderly patients in long-term care facilities with special interest in chronic conditions and dementia.

What is the difference between a CNA and LNA?

Effective July, 1, 2016, Nursing Assistants may opt to either register as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or apply to become a Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA). Once a student passes the State Board written and skills exam, the student will be registered as a CNA and entered on the State Board Registry. In order to become an LNA, there is no other training to be taken. Upon passing the State Board Exam, the student merely has to submit an application to become an LNA with a $50 application fee and a $50 fingerprint criminal history clearance fee. A separate fingerprint card will need to be completed for this purpose. Please refer to the AZ State Board of Nursing for more detailed and up to date information on what’s needed to become an LNA.

Find out How to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant with Medstar Academy.

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