The functions and limits of a CNAs ability to provide care are outlined by the federal OBRA act, as well as individual state law. For all CNAs, a RN or LPN will oversee your work and provide you with individual tasks and guidance concerning your role as a CNA. The most important thing to remember is that you must protect the client at all cost. This means that if you do not understand your job description you should ask for clarification before providing care.
CNAs work independently throughout the day, as well as working along side their supervising RN or LPN. A broad overview of CNA work focuses on assisting with personal hygiene, comfort, nutrition, safety, elimination needs, and exercise of the client. The basic skills of the CNA include taking pulses, respiration rates, and temperatures and blood pressures.
As each facility that employs CNAs is different, it is very important to receive a written job description specific to your employer. If your employer does not provide you with this during orientation, simply ask for one and they will comply. Be sure that when you are interviewing for a position as a CNA you are clear about your abilities and that your employer is informed if there is something in the job description with which you are not familiar. Never accept employment with a facility which asks you to act beyond your legal limits as a CNA. Doing this could result in you losing your certification, as well as jeopardizing the safety and well being of the clients you care for.
There are things which are never included in the CNA job description, and you will not be able to perform these tasks without additional education and training. These jobs include administering medications, inserting catheters or needles into the body, taking oral orders from doctors, using sterile technique, informing family of a patients diagnosis, making medical assessments or prescribing drugs, and supervising other CNAs or nursing staff. It is also of vital importance not to ignore a taks given to you by your supervising RN or LPN. If you do not understand a task, feel that it is outside your job description, or feel uncomfortable performing the task inform your supervisor and outline the reasons why you feel you cannot perform the task. Ignoring a task could be life threatening to a patient and could result in your losing your job or even a lawsuit.
Expert Contribution by: Heather Martens CNA
Heather has been working as a CNA for over five years, she is currently a full time nursing student and plans to graduate as a Registered Nurse in the year 2012.