The Top Skills Needed to Be a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) works under the supervision of a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN). The job includes providing basic care to patients, assisting with daily activities, monitoring vital signs, and reporting and documenting changes in patient health. Most nursing assistants are employed either by long-term care facilities, hospitals or medical clinics. Hospitals provide a faster-paced environment with a greater variety of duties, while nursing homes offer the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with patients.

If you are considering a career in healthcare, a job as a Certified Nursing Assistant may be a good fit. Here are some of the skills you will need to be successful.

Medical Knowledge

CNAs must complete a high school diploma or GED, as well as a six- to twelve-week certificate from a community college, trade school or medical facility. As requirements vary, be sure the program you choose is approved by your state’s nursing board. To earn and maintain your license, you may need to pass a state-issued competency exam and/or complete continuing education.

Empathy and Compassion

To provide the best care, a nursing assistant must be able to see things from the patient’s point of view. Sometimes patients will be difficult. Being able to emphasize with their feelings and respond with a caring touch will improve their well-being and your job satisfaction.

Physical Strength

Generally, CNAs spend much of their shifts on their feet. A certain level of strength and agility will be needed. Depending upon the situation, you may be asked to assist with cleaning, changing linens and/or lifting patients.

Communication Skills

Nursing assistants must be able to interpret the needs of their patients, interact with families and relay information to their supervisors. The ability to listen and understand what others are saying is essential. In addition, usually Certified Nursing Assistants are required to submit documentation using medical technologies.


A typical day as a CNA may never be typical. It will involve multitasking, learning new skills and being pulled from one duty to the next. Be prepared to stay on your toes. Like many other nursing positions, irregular hours, including weekends, nights and holidays, are commonplace.

A Positive Attitude

Although this is an essential and important job, it is not a glamorous one. Certified Nursing Assistants must focus on the overall positive impact they are having on their patients rather than the daily trials. They must look for smiles, focus on the small victories and above all, keep a good sense of humor.

Are you looking for a job in nursing or healthcare, but you don’t know where to start? An employment agency may be able to help. Aventure Staffing is the Midwest leader in job placement. Contact us to find your next opportunity!

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