CNA Skills: Seven “Must Have” Skills for Success

CNAs play an essential role within our healthcare system.  They are often found working in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and hospitals providing direct care and assistance to patients.  These healthcare heroes are there to help patients with daily tasks and activities that they may not be able to complete on their own.   While these healthcare heroes may be caring and compassionate by nature, there is far more that goes into their success on the job.  CNA skills can be attained through training and developed through experience.  You may be wondering though, what are the CNA skills needed for success?  Well, you’re in luck!  Today we’re breaking down seven of the “must have” CNA skills needed for success.  Now keep in mind, this isn’t an all-inclusive list, rather, this is a list of some of the most important CNA skills one should possess prior to getting into their newly chosen career.   Continue reading below to learn more!

Basic Nursing Skills

First up on our “must have” CNA skills list is basic nursing skills.  You might be wondering, what does this mean?  Well, basic nursing skills includes things like taking and recording vital signs.  It also includes monitoring and reporting changes in a patient’s condition.  These are critical, as a CNA will often be responsible for checking on the status of a patient and reporting back to the nurse or physician in charge.  CNAs may also work with a variety of patients so being able to provide end-of-life care is also essential when we think about basic nursing skills.

Personal Care Skills

Personal care skills are also a must on our CNA skills list.  These include things like assisting patients with tasks such as bathing, grooming, dressing, using the toilet, and assisting with eating and drinking.  As we mentioned above, CNAs can work with a varied patient population, and while not all patients will need help with each of these things, some may, so a CNA must be prepared.  Helping patients in and out of bed, positioning them, and turning them correctly are also CNA skills that come into play here.

Mental Health and Social Services Needs

Being aware of the mental health and social services needs of patients is next up on our CNA skills list.  A key component of this is understanding the aging process and responding accordingly.  As we noted earlier, CNAs are often found working in long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities and nursing homes.  As a result, they need to be skilled at working with the elderly.  This includes responding to patient needs and behaviors.  It also entails helping patients maintain self-esteem and dignity while encouraging them to be self-sufficient and independent (as appropriate).

Care for the Cognitively Impaired

Your CNA skills should also include knowing how to effectively care for the cognitively impaired.  These patients often present with dementia or Alzheimer’s.  A CNA should know how to effectively communicate with a cognitively impaired patient as well as help manage the effects of cognitive impairment.

Basic Restorative Services

You might be wondering what “basic restorative services” means and wondering why it’s on the CNA skills list.  Well, this refers to things like helping patients with self-care.  It could also include helping patients use assistive devices (such as a walker or a cane).  It may also include helping turn and position patient, assist with bowel and bladder training, and care for prosthetic and orthotic devices.

Resident Rights

Resident rights is the next item on our CNA skills list.  This refers to respecting and supporting the rights of patients/residents in healthcare facilities.  It also includes preserving privacy and confidentiality under HIPAA.  In addition, CNAs should know how to help safeguard patients from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are interpersonal skills necessary for success in the workplace.  The soft skills particularly noteworthy for CNAs to possess include good communication skills, patience, and empathy.  While these have been interwoven throughout much of what we have already discussed, strong soft skills are so important to the overall success of a CNA, we wanted to draw additional attention to them here.

There you have it!  A list of seven ‘must have’ CNA skills.  If you are worried about your proficiency in any of these skills, it does not mean that you won’t be a good CNA.  Instead, take it as an opportunity to grow and develop your skills either during your training program or beyond.  Having well-developed CNA skills is not only a benefit to you as you pursue your new career, but it is also necessary for those who you will be caring for daily.

The Nurse Aide program at Training Direct

The Nurse Aide program at Training Direct can help you develop the CNA skills needed for success.  At Training Direct, instruction takes place in the classroom as well as during clinical training, allowing students an opportunity to practice the CNA skills learned in class.  The Nurse Aide program at Training Direct is offered at our Bridgeport and Danbury, CT schools and day, evening, and weekend classes are available (schedule availability will vary by location, though).  In as little as 3-4 weeks, you can complete the Nurse Aide program at Training Direct and be on your way towards pursuing a new career in healthcare.  Contact us today to learn more about the Nurse Aide program.