To the nurses: What do you want NA to do at night shift?


I will be starting the night shift in the float pool for a big hospital soon. I've worked days for a few times. I know every floor is different, but what do you expect NA to do at night shift? I know we have to take vitals either every 4 hours or 8, unless otherwise told so. Do we let them sleep or do we wash them? I don't want to wake them up.


230 Posts

On our floor the nas are required to wake up and bath the patients. If the patients refuse (they don't enjoy being woken up) then the charge nurse has to go talk with them. But you would take care of taking patients to the bathroom, vitals, getting them water snacks, repositioning etc. We turn them every 2 hours or so as a team ( rn and na). If you are not required to bath the patients, then it might be nice to help some of them wash up before bed, and the early risers in the morning. I think people sleep a lot better if they have a nice warm bath and clean sheets before bed. Works like a charm!


103 Posts

I would like:

**fresh water at beginning and end of shift

**turn every 2 hrs

**incontinent care/brief check q 2; offer to toilet confused or unable pts

**pass snacks to those who need it, after glucometers done

**help set up rooms for new admits

**get daily weights

**help keep track of I & O

**help record frequent vitals (if allowed by facility)

The only "washing up" I personally expect is HS care; please don't forget to take dentures out and soak (just a pet peeve of mine when they get crusty). If you have a patient who is confused or unaware that it is night, a bath might be appropriate. But you don't have to wake them.

Lots of stuff here, but it's a wish list. I know CNA's are usually stretched pretty thin. And this is all stuff that I would help with, either if I am doing patient care or in charge.

Good luck!

Specializes in Med/Surg,Cardiac. Has 1 years experience.

I really like having fresh ice water in rooms. I'd like it if my aide would remove it and other drinks/snacks at midnight if the patient were NPO after mn. Vitals done and charted promptly. I get upset if abnormals aren't reported pretty quickly. Turn q 2 and check diapers. Empty foleys. Replenish towels and washcloths. Don't leave any stinky diapers in the room. I love my CNA. Would have trouble without a good one.


84 Posts

I just like to be able to ask a question and not get daggers stared through my head or a snarky reply.

On a busy night I would like the techs to work independently and initiate their duties (turning,bathing,etc) without me having to nag them. It's a vicious circle at times.

On a not so busy night, I would rather do it all. It's just much easier for me.

Specializes in ER, progressive care. Has 7 years experience.

* fresh water at the start and end of the shift

* vital signs with abnormals reported promptly, not like 2 hours later when they're being charted...*facepalm*

* accuchecks and bringing the patients their HS snacks

* turn Q2H

* incontinence checks Q2H

* help answer call lights

* help with toileting

* have them remove water and snacks from the bedside if the patient is NPO after midnight. Be sure to tell your CNAs that the patient will be NPO!

* if you work on a unit that preps patient for cardiac caths, have the CNA shave them in the morning if needed.

* if you work in a hospital that doesn't have a patient transport system at nights, having the CNA bring a patient down for a test (CT, MRI) really helps.

As for baths, some patients request them at night. On some units, it is policy for baths to be done at night. If a patient refuses, document it. If a patient refuses and they really need it, we encourage them as much as possible to be bathed.

I love my CNAs...there are some shifts that would be absolutely horrible without them. And remember it's a TEAM EFFORT. Help each other out!

CapeCodMermaid, RN

6,089 Posts

Specializes in Gerontology, Med surg, Home Health. Has 30 years experience.

OMG...if I have to be a patient at your hospital, please don't wake me up to bathe me!I loke my aides to speak quietly, make rounds and change people as needed. I really like them to spend time with anyone who might be awake and afraid.At my last building, the aides would play word games on the dementia unit at 3 am if people were awake. The residents didn't get many words, but they got attention and fewer drugs!

KelRN215, BSN, RN

1 Article; 7,349 Posts

Specializes in Pedi. Has 16 years experience.

On the night shift in the hospital, I expect:

*Vital signs done as ordered in a timely manner (that means 8pm, midnight, 4am if it's q 4hr and on the even hours if it's q 2hr)

*Patients turned q 2hr if indicated

*Patients checked/changed q 2hr

*Foleys emptied and output recorded

*Babies without parents fed when they wake up crying


227 Posts

Specializes in Home Health/PD.

I would agree with the above posters but it would also be nice of you to stock the cabinets with necessary supplies. I don't know how many days I come on and there are no supplies nor linens in the room for me to pass Meds or assist with am care as needed. Would make my day so much better if the rooms were stocked.


236 Posts

Im a night float in a hospital and it depends a lot on the unit. Im assigned to 1-on-1 at least half the time, too--mostly keeping people safe as they detox. Sometimes vital signs (especially if it's a floor that wants all manuals) can take a lot of time. Being really proactive and independent is important as a float, as in asking nurses what q4/etc vs they'd like, chem sticks and things to empty, then making a list and knocking them out. Baths/showers are only by request but QCing machines is often a task I do. Chasing fall alarms sometimes takes the whole night too. Basically, smile, ask, say yes, get it done, repeat!


1,549 Posts

Specializes in Post Anesthesia. Has 30 years experience.

What you are told to do would be nice. I'm so tired of NAs rolling thier eyes, heavy sigh- them nothing- whenever I ask them to do something. If you can be available, look for where there is something going on and pitch in, and try to straighten up the unit when there is down time, you will be the most beloved NA in the hospital.


63 Posts

If I were the patient and you woke me up to bathe me, I would be speaking with administration ASAP. How ridiculous! If people are awake, fine, bathe them if they would like. Does your facility not understand the healing power of sleep? Sad to hear!