What Does A Certified Nursing Assistant Do?
Nursing assistants play a vital role in the day-to-day care of those who are sick. Working under the supervision of registered nurses or licensed vocational nurses, nursing assistants or nursing aides provide that much-needed assistance to patients of hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and related institutions. Their tasks focus on helping clients do the activities of daily living.
In a regular day, nursing assistants will perform such functions as helping clients to bathe and dress, comb their hair and brush their teeth. They also serve food and feed those who cannot eat on their own. They also provide assistance to patients who need to go to the toilet. This may also include helping them change their diapers, adjust their catheters and empty their bedpans regularly.
The job requires physical strength and stamina because nursing assistants may need to physically carry patients from one area to another or assist them to do so. They also need to turn and reposition patients who are bedridden regularly during the day to prevent them from having bedsores and other ailments that result from staying in one position for too long. As such, nursing assistants need to be properly trained in the safest way to lift or carry a patient so that injury to themselves or their clients is avoided.
Nursing assistants may also be tasked with helping patients stay physically fit. Depending on the needs of the patient, they may help patients with routine exercises that improve their range of motion, develop strength and enhance flexibility. They may also get the needed training so that they can properly exercise patients who are in a coma or are conscious but bedridden.
The role of nursing assistants is to essentially help nurses so that the latter can focus on doing the tasks that they are trained for, such as starting and keeping the IV line open so that medications can be administered there if needed, charting and giving medications as scheduled. However, nursing assistants working in some states may be allowed to administer medications for as long as they have obtained the necessary training to do so. In addition, nursing aides also monitor the temperature, pulse rate and other vital signs of the patient. If they notice changes in the patient’s condition, such as fever or high blood pressure or see blood in their feces or urine, then they report this to the nurse right away so that the proper interventions may be given.
Nursing assistants, especially those who work in caring for the elderly and the disabled, also teach their clients about safety. For example, they show those who cannot walk how to manipulate their wheelchairs or crutches so that they can get from one point to another without suffering an accident. They may also teach the residents of an assisted living facility how to avoid falls and injuries in the bathroom.
Because the job requires a lot of hands-on contact with patients, it is inevitable that nursing assistants get to become friends with the people they care for. This is also one reason why the passing away of a patient whom they have given a lot of attention and care to can be a devastating experience. The emotional toll and the physical day-to-day demands of the job have prompted many nursing assistants to get other training or move on to another profession which results to a high turnover rate for this occupation.