What are the Essential Job & Responsibilities of a CNA?

CNA plays an important role in a health care department as they are the one who are most close to the patients and aid them in their daily life activities as well as provide them with basic nursing services under the supervision of a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). It is a CNA job to take care of the patients by providing them both the physical as well as mental support.

Because of their roles being directly related to a patient health, it is compulsory for every CNA to complete a formal training program from an accredited institution. And not only that, every CNA is also required to take and pass the national certification exam and should continuously renew the certification.

As a CNA your major responsibility will be taking care of patients in all possible way. Most of the skills essential for the career are learnt during the training program however the training program does not prepare individuals for every situation that might arise within the career. So CNAs should be ready to cope with every situation and should always be prepared to aid their patients.

Essential Job & Responsibilities of a CNA

Most of the time CNAs are engaged in aiding patients in their daily life activities and providing them the basic nursing skills. So what the role of a CNA in the medical field is vast as they are engaged in different patient care activities. Below here we have classified some of those duties that a CNA is normally engaged with.

Learn More about top 10 CNA schools in US here.

Patient’s Assessment and Care Planning

It is one of the major duties of a CNA to assist patients with their assessment and care planning. This part of a CNA duty demands basic nursing and medical skills as they are engaged in taking and recording vital signs of the patients. This includes taking measurement of blood pressure, weight and height, collecting specimens for lab tests and recording intake and outtake of a patient.

They should keep a close eye on patients in critical conditions and should continuously inform nurses and doctors with their health status. It is also important to observe patient’s response to care and report to senior staffs whenever something goes wrong.

Patient’s Nutritional and Elimination Needs

Next important duty of a CNA is to ensure patients nutritional as well as elimination needs. It is a CNA duty to feed the patients who cannot move or eat on their own. This includes checking the food trays on regular fashion as well as providing fresh drinking water. When providing food and water, CNA should make sure that the food is hygienic and that it won’t have negative impact on the patient’s health.

Not only that it also a CNA duty to assist patients in meeting the elimination need. This includes aiding patient with bed pans, urinals and commodes. They need to empty the urine collecting bags regularly and should observe the feces and urine for any kinds of anomalies. In case of finding abnormalities on the feces and urine, they need to report it to the senior staffs such as nurses and doctors immediately. When aiding patients in meeting elimination needs, a CNA should maintain privacy and should not violate any rights of a patient.

Mobility and Exercises

As a CNA it will be your duty to assist patients with mobility. A disabled patient won’t be able to move on his own so it is your duty to turn and position him the way he wants or the way he feels comfortable. It is equally important to provide a range of exercises to normal patients so they can remain active and fresh during their time in hospital.

During emergency, CNA are responsible for ambulation or moving patient’s from one unit to another unit of the hospital. Sometimes doctor might ask patients to undergo certain tests and for that they may need to be transferred to another department of the hospital. And it will be your duty to transfer patients to stretcher or wheelchair so that they can undergo the test.

Personal Hygiene and Grooming

Besides providing medical aid, CNAs are also responsible to assist patients with personal hygiene and grooming. Aiding patients with their daily activities like bathing, brushing teeth, combing hair and dressing is also a major responsibility of a CNA. They need to make sure that the patient stays clean and healthy during the time in a medical facility.

When aiding patients with personal hygiene and grooming, it is important to keep privacy and rights of the patients in the first priority. In any situation, CNA should not violate any of the rights of a patient.

Patient Comfort and Safety

CNAs are the only staffs in the medical facility that are close to a patient. So in a sense they are like a family member of the patient who will look after them during the time in the hospital or any other health care facility. As a CNA you will need to make sure that the patient feels comfortable all the time. You need to protect the patient’s possessions and make sure that their families are informed about their health conditions.

Management and Efficient Operation of the Unit

Among the major responsibilities, managing the unit and making sure of its efficient operation is yet another duty of a CNA. This includes recording and reporting the statistics of admitted, transferred or discharged patients, taking specimens to respective labs, answering the telephone calls and assisting senior staffs within the unit. A CNA might also need to plan the bed numbers and patients depending on their health conditions and needs.

The Bottom Line

A CNA career may be a lucrative career but is definitely not a career for everyone. The life of a patient depends on a CNA and everything a CNA does is directly related to the patient health. So it is important to make sure whether the career fits for you or not before jumping. Only those with genuine interest in public health care and few interpersonal skills are good for the career. So do take your final decision carefully.

Best Schools Offering CNA Classes

  • Gain Knowledge and Skills While You Earn Your Nursing Degree at Fortis!


  • Patient Care Technician
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Assisting - Diploma
  • And more...
Locations: Grand Prairie
  • Programs include Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration, Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness, Master of Health Care Administration, and more.
  • Capstone projects and clinical practicums that can help prepare students for more career opportunities.
  • Flexible, online and on-campus program available.


  • Medical Assisting

At Kaplan University, we offer over 180 degree and certificate programs. With three different ways to learn, you can choose the format that works best for you:

  • Study wherever you have an Internet connection, because almost all of our courses are 100% online, or
  • Take campus-based classes(with day and evening options available), or
  • Combine campus learning with online classes (blended).


  • Nurse Educator Graduate Certificate
  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
Locations: Hagerstown

Centura College, with campus locations in Virginia, South Carolina and Florida, is dedicated to helping students gain the skills and attitudes necessary to succeed. Drawing from over 30 years of career school experience.


  • Associate of Occupational Science Degree in Medical Assisting-Concentration in Clinical Support
  • Associate of Occupational Science Degree in Medical Assisting-Concentration in Management
  • Dental Assistant Diploma
Locations: Richmond

Experience the Rewards of Caring, With ECPI’s Medical Careers Institute, you can Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree in 2.5 Years or Your Associate’s Even Sooner through Our Year-Round Schedule!


  • Medical Assisting - Associate's
  • Practical Nursing - Diploma
  • Dental Assisting - Associate's
Locations: Henrico
Turn your talents into a career. Nationally recognized and accredited Platt College offers degree programs in Graphic Design, Multimedia, IT Networking and Paralegal.


  • Respiratory Therapy

Miller-Motte Technical College (MMTC) has a history of helping students succeed through hands-on education and career training. Our faculty and staff work to ensure that when you've completed your program, you're truly ready to begin your career.


  • Medical Assisting - Associate of Occupational Science
Locations: Roanoke
  • Flexible, online RN-BSN and MSN programs available
  • Students already licensed as registered nurses can complete RN-BSN program in as few as 9 months
  • Courses designed to expand on student’s prior knowledge and enhance their patient care skills


  • Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Education
  • Nursing Degree Programs from Grand Canyon University's College of Nursing & Health Care Professions
  • Degree Variety: GCU offers a full-spectrum of nursing programs including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as post-master’s certificates.
  • The baccalaureate degree in nursing and master's degree in nursing at Grand Canyon University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.aacn.nche.edu-accreditation).
  • GCU provides a Christian environment that provides an opportunity for you to embrace a holistic approach to caring for patients: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Depending on the degree you choose, you could take online, evening, or on-campus classes. Speak with an enrollment counselor to discuss your options!


  • M.S. in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

We are committed to helping you achieve your goals and complete your degree as quickly as possible.


  • BS in Nursing (RN to BSN)
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