Difference between CNA duties at nursing home and hospital

by Regina01 (New) New

I just completed my 5-week CNA course, as of October 16. I'm also a full-time, pre-nursing student, that's broke and in a desperate need of a job. So, as soon as, I completed my CNA course, I applied to a local nursing home and they actually called me back the next day. She told come up there Monday, to fill-out an application. I was elated and ecstatic, so, I called my mom(who's a RN) to tell her the great news, that I might be considered a position. She told me, "I might not like working in a nursing home." Now, I'm feeling utterly discourage. Experience and a steady income is what I desperately need. But, when I did my clinicals, I actually did it in a hospital setting. So, what the big difference between working at a nursing home and at a hospital setting? Also, what duties does the CNA do in a nursing home?

If I could, I would of stick to working at the hospital, because all that gained experience would go right out the door. Now, I have to start at a different setting, which I'm not accustomed to, yet. Prospectively, it's probably going to be like a first day of clinicals for me. Sidenote: My instructor told me that most CNA's have work in a nursing home for about 6 mths. So it's the beginning for me, I'm quite anxious and nervous about starting work.

Music in My Heart

Specializes in being a Credible Source. Has 12 years experience. 2 Articles; 4,092 Posts

As always, it really depends on the individual institutions.

Our acute-care CNAs do a lot less feeding, bathing, and toileting than our SNF aides simply because many of our patients can attend to those needs themselves. Our aides do a lot more vital signs, setting up oxygen or suction machines (no wall plumbing for us), and assisting with admit and d/c paperwork than do our SNF aides. Our aides also do EKGs and patient transport as well as assisting with dressing changes, Foleys, etc.

Our SNF aides pretty much do ADL support.

All of our SNF aides want to come over to the acute-care side... nobody ever wants to go the other way.


178 Posts

If at all possible, I would take a Hospital job. A lot easier on the back and less stressful than working in a nursing home, plus you will have an opportunity to learn more.

I cant think of any reason why someone would rather work in a Nursing home as a CNA, aside from the fact some people might see it as more challenging. Also some hospitals dont like to hire male CNAs, as many of the patients will be women who are fully alert and oriented and might not be comfortable having a male CNA taking care of them.


100 Posts

In my opinion there are a lot of differences between working in a hospital and nursing home. I've worked both. Nursing homes there are more feeders and a lot more brief changing and showering. When I was a new CNA it was difficult for me to adjust to the nursing home because of all the yelling and moaning and people constantly asking to go home. It breaks your heart and unfortunately some of the more "seasoned" CNA's just ignored it instead of trying to soothe the residents. On the plus side you become use to the routine of your residents and can develop more of a working relationship with them. In a hospital I find I learn a lot more caring for people of all ages and I'm exposed to a lot of new things. Less feeding and toileting and I collect a lot more urine and stool samples in the hospital. A lot less stress on my back.

I have cna friends who wouldn't work in a nursing home and cna friends who wouldn't work in a hospital. It's really a matter of preference. Just keep in mind that if you don't like working in one nursing home it doesn't mean you won't like working in the next one. I found there is more of a "routine" in a nursing home. Either way its good experience. Good Luck and don't feel discouraged. You just have to find where you're most comfortable. Let us know how it goes.


Specializes in CNA/ ALF & Hospital. Has 9 years experience. 315 Posts

i totally agree with nothernguy! snf's always put you with the worst kind especially when you are new and they expect you to put an 8 hr. into a 6 bcuz they want you in and out and not develope a trust relationship with the patients. the same goes for a 12 hr shift cut into an 8 and a 16 baylor shift into a 12.