caring for elderly womanCertified nursing assistants, or CNAs, work under the supervision of licensed nursing professionals to provide care for those who are ill, injured, handicapped, or otherwise unable to care for themselves. They work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities, and often they will even work in patients’ homes to give those patients the care that they need. Here is a brief look at some of the most common responsibilities that CNAs handle.

Health assessments

Under a nurse’s direction, a CNA will also perform regular health assessments on their patients. This means checking and recording vital signs such as temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and respiration, as well as regularly measuring height and weight. A CNA might also monitor intake and output, and collect specimens for testing as needed. Overall, it is a CNA’s job to keep track of how a patient is responding to treatment and to record any observations about health changes, improvements, ability to perform everyday tasks, etc.


A bedridden patient, especially one that is weak or paralyzed, should be repositioned every two hours in order to prevent bed sores. CNAs turn and reposition their bedridden patients according to a regular schedule.

Personal care

CNAs often work with patients who with conditions that preclude them from caring for themselves. This means that a CNA will help patients with basic personal care tasks such as bathing, shaving, dental care, using the toilet, dressing, grooming, and eating.


CNAs help maintain a clean and calm environment by ensuring that their patients’ rooms remain orderly and comfortable. A CNA, for example, will regularly change bed linens and keep the environment sterile. A CNA who works in a home environment might additionally help with light housekeeping tasks around the home such as dishes and laundry.

Emotional support

Sometimes providing emotional support become a central part of a CNA’s duties as well. A CNA might support a patient by being sociable, playing games with the patient, or going with the patient to therapy sessions.