What qualities/skills make your ideal CNA/Unit Secretary?

Nurses General Nursing


I'm finishing my CNA coursework here in a short while and will be done with my clinicals sometime in mid-April (the exact finish date is flexible and based on where I do the clinicals at). I'll likely be applying for a Unit Secretary position at the hospital I already work at (in Radiology, as an administrative assistant), but since my experience with inpatient care is rather sharply limited, I'd like some fabulous AllNurses input!! :roll

So....if you could create your ideal CNA or Unit Secretary, what qualities would she have? What questions would she ask, what procedures would she volunteer for, what would she NOT do? Any pet peeves (the more obscure, the better!)?

Thanks in advance!!:D

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

In my experience, reliability and dependability, count a lot. The people you will be working with will want to focus on the patients they are caring for, NOT on some glitch that occurred because another member of the staff (such as a CNA or secretary) wasn't there, screwed up, etc. Nurses, doctors, etc. want "the system" to work as a well-oiled machine -- with tasks done on time, supplies there when needed, etc. When the "machine" works properly, it does't get noticed much. Everything just runs smoothly. But when the machine "breaks," it is noticed as a big inconvenience.

So, my advice is keep things running smoothly and efficiently, being reliable and dependable. That will earn you the respect and trust of your colleagues.


Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.

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passing thru

655 Posts

The "machine" analogy is good. Each of us has our "job" to do. If there is a "breakdown" in any part of it, the machine comes to a real slowdown or a screeching halt.

I have had nights at work with admissions, discharges, (paperwork) , family issues that demanded resolving, personnel issues, issues with management, issues with doctors, etc. where I spent 8-9 hours out of 12 on the phone, talking to family, supervisors, doctors, etc., filling out all the paperwork, and then, come home and realize I scarcely saw my 5-7 patients, Just gave their meds and kept going. At those times, I realize the CNA provided total care for my patients'.

There's two kinds of CNA's in this situation, one will see I am busy with what I am doing and will carry on. The other will gripe and complain that he/she "does all the work while the RN's sit on their behinds and talk on the phone and write in the charts all night." A CNA and unit secretary make all the difference in a unit, they can "make it or break it." Re: the machine analogy: they are the engine.


206 Posts

I started out as a CNA and ended up working as a tech/unit secretary for 6 years before I became a nurse. I would say that being efficient and anticipating needs is a big part of the job. If you do your job well and are responsible for your actions then everything goes much more smoothly.

Good luck.


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