Tips for being a great Nursing Assistant

  1. Hello!

    I just finished my first semester of nursing school in a BSN program. I am so thrilled to have gotten a job as a Nursing Assistant in a wonderful hospital. I am excited and nervous. I know I will get to learn so much, and I want to do a great job both for the patients and the nurses I will be assisting.

    I would love to get some tips for what makes a great Nursing Assistant. What do your assistant's do or not do that make them stand out in a positive way?

    Thanks for your input!
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    About krimicrat

    Joined: Jun '09; Posts: 115; Likes: 79
    Extern, Attorney, Mom, Wife and Student.


  3. by   LouisVRN
    I would say on the DO list: do make yourself available, admit when you need help or havent had time to do something, only what you are trained/feel comfortable doing, be friendly with staff and patients, take time to eat (aids on our floor are really busy)
    DON'T: sit (if you don't have anything to do, I can guarantee someone will find you something. I am a BSN and spend my free time stocking the nourishment/med rooms and filing papers, it all has to be done) and don't wait to be asked to do something, if you know it needs to be done and is in your scope, just do it. Good luck and congrats!
  4. by   Forever Sunshine
    Be quick on getting the vitals back to the nurse. Last night I sat down to chart and the aids on my shift were gone and didn't get vitals on some of my patients. Thankfully those were the patients on digoxin and b/p meds so I had the vitals from those. and just had to get a temp and resps.

    The CNA's I work with are awesome though. They treat the residents with respect and know them inside and out. I like to help them when I can(put someone on the toilet, set up their meal tray, feed, answer call lights).
  5. by   systoly
    Keep your momentum going. Be quick to discard negative comments from people who are determined to be miserable. When things do get bad (that's part of life, not just nursing), remember two things: 1) all shifts end, 2) easy shifts are nice, but you don't really learn a lot, most of your professional growth will come from challenging situations.
    Here are some attributes that make me remember a CNA years after I worked with them:
    Organizational skills, ability to see the needs of the unit as a whole rather than just the immediate assignment, consideration of other CNAs and their skill level, humor ( it makes a long shift if you're not having any fun), making the pt. feel safe and cared for.
  6. by   Orange Tree
    I love the CNAs who let me know where they are. There are a few who must wander off and get lost in snowstorms, because I sometimes don't see them for hours. Fast charting is also great. It's frustrating when vitals/accuchecks have not been charted and I have to track someone down to find out what they were (large unit). I also appreciate it when I'm told, very quickly, about vitals that are waaay out of range.

    The best CNAs also take some initiative and look for things that need to be done instead of waiting to be asked to do them. Farmville is a bad idea when your patients are dirty, need help up to the restroom, have no water/ice, etc.
  7. by   Sonjailana
    -get your vitals done, and have them in quickly. Call me right away if something is abnormal. KNOW what is normal/abnormal for vitals.

    -check incontinent patients frequently. Remind me to turn patients if I forget.

    -Make sure patients have fresh ice/water

    -walk all my patients that can walk. This is SO good for them.

    -actually bathe people. Don't shortcut it. Be really thorough.

    -feel free to call me if you find anything funny on someone's skin/bottom/etc. I usually pop in and look during baths or help with them, but you are my eyes and ears

    -Change your beds everyday. Some aides say that they only change them if they "look" dirty. Eww.

    -If you don't know how to do something..please ask! Don't just fudge it.
  8. by   NurseGuy30
    Being a CNA at a hospital is a lucky break, we get to do a bit more than the NH CNAs. Time management is everything. Accuracy is also everything. We caught one of my trainees making up blood glucose levels she couldn't remember and didn't care enough about to write down. She didn't last long. Take the initiative, and never take it personally when a certain nurse or two is verbally abusive. Miserable people are, that's it. When the nurses get to know you and know they can count on you, they'll respect you.

    Finally, be proud of what you do, and do your best to never need to be ashamed of your work. Best of luck.
  9. by   krimicrat
    Thank you so much for these tips!
  10. by   TNgirl2010
    First of all, CONGRATS!! You will learn SO much from being a nursing assistant. It's also a great way to line up a job after you graduate. I am a tech at a large hospital, and I would advise you to always communicate with your nurses. Sounds basic, but I work with some techs who couldn't even tell you what patients had what nurses at the end of the day..I always introduce myself to the nurse I'm working with at the beginning of the shift (I float in a large hospital so I don't always know the nurses), and give them my phone # (we carry hospital cell phones). I try to chart vitals ASAP, and if anything alarms me I will call the nurse immediately. Don't be afraid to ask for help, there will be days you will need it. Take breaks, try to get a good night's sleep before shifts, and stay organized. You will be great!! Good luck!
  11. by   knittingknurse
    As a student, show interest and ask questions. This is a great way to supplement your clinical experience from school!

    If census is low, I appreciate when CNAs take extra time with patients, like giving "feeders" snacks and drinks. Interested, hard working CNAs really stand out. Best of luck with your new job!
  12. by   llteddybear
    I have been a CNA for 13 years now. Still working as one even though I am an RN. Anyway, I like to come in 15-30 minutes early to organize my day (find out who my nurses are, what patients I will have, etc.) Most of the night nurses don't mind if you look in their charts to find out information (isolation, procedures, etc.) I write everything down on a nice organized chart (name, room number, activities, vitals, I&O, procedures, report from RN, etc.)
    I always mention anything out of the ordinary to the RN right away. No waiting. I show my initiative by always answering call lights even if they are not my patient; by answering phones; stocking linens; or finding anything else to do when it is on the slow side.
    I also try to always find the good in everyone and make them smile with good humor. The day goes so much faster.
    Remember to have fun!! Being stressed as a CNA makes for a burned out RN later.
    Ask questions! RN's don't mind answering questions especially if you mention that you are in RN school.
    Last edit by llteddybear on May 11, '10 : Reason: forgot something