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What does a Certified Nurse Aide do?

Susan Grindstaff
Susan Grindstaff

The duties of a certified nurse aide vary depending on the work environment. In hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes, these employees typically work under the supervision of licensed nurses. They often perform tasks such as patient hygiene, feeding, and checking vital signs such as blood pressure and body temperature. In the home health environment, a certified nurse aide may be required to do more, including administering medication and light housekeeping.

A certified nurse aide who works within a hospital may sometimes be required to help with certain medical procedures or treatments. In this type of situation, the aide most always performs these procedures with a doctor or a licensed nurse. Some medical procedures that a certified nurse aide might assist with include emergency treatments such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and collecting urine or blood samples for laboratory testing.

A nurse's aide may be tasked with checking a patient's blood pressure.
A nurse's aide may be tasked with checking a patient's blood pressure.

Some of the highest paying employment available for a certified nurse aide is employment within the home health care industry. In many cases, this work involves the care of patients who are bedridden or otherwise incapacitated. The certified nurse aide may be required to offer a complete range of care for these patients. In addition to providing for health needs, an in-home nurse assistant may also have to prepare meals, do housework, and bathe their patients. An aide who works within the home health care field is typically working under the direct supervision of a nurse or doctor, and they are usually required to keep a daily chart on their patient.

A certified nurse aide may administer medication.
A certified nurse aide may administer medication.

Physical therapy is an area where a certified nurse assistant can prove invaluable. They often assist with various types of therapy, including walking the patient and seeing that any required daily exercise is performed. Some patients who require physical therapy may need to have exercises performed several times a day, so assisting in these activities often becomes one of the duties of the certified nurse aide. Duties involving physical therapy may be required in both a hospital and private duty environment.

Collecting blood and urine samples for laboratory testing are often done by a certified nurse aide.
Collecting blood and urine samples for laboratory testing are often done by a certified nurse aide.

The education requirements to become a certified nurse aide vary by geographic location, but most often include coursework and passing a licensing test. People interested in this type of career should first check to find out what is required in their location. Courses to become a nurse assistant are typically offered through community colleges or trade schools. Some nursing homes and hospitals offer training programs, and may even pay students while they train. In these situations, students typically are required to sign a work agreement prior to attending.

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    • A nurse's aide may be tasked with checking a patient's blood pressure.
      By: Izaokas Sapiro
      A nurse's aide may be tasked with checking a patient's blood pressure.
    • A certified nurse aide may administer medication.
      By: Tatiana Belova
      A certified nurse aide may administer medication.
    • Collecting blood and urine samples for laboratory testing are often done by a certified nurse aide.
      By: angellodeco
      Collecting blood and urine samples for laboratory testing are often done by a certified nurse aide.
    • A certified nurse aide may work with a patient who is bedridden.
      By: francisco
      A certified nurse aide may work with a patient who is bedridden.
    • Licensing requirements to become a certified nurse aide in the U.S. vary by state.
      By: michaeljung
      Licensing requirements to become a certified nurse aide in the U.S. vary by state.