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Top 14 Qualities of A CNA: Secrets of A Successful Career


You may have decided to become a CNA and even looked into some programs. So, you’ll be aware of the fact that you will be spending four to eight weeks honing the skills which you will need in your professional life.

You may be wondering, besides these skills, what is the secret of a successful CNA career? Beyond your desire to assist others & your certification, some essential personal traits will help you to succeed in your career. Your skills to tackle the usual events of the workplace can extend your relationship with coworkers. To help you, here is a list of the top 14 qualities of a prospering CNA.  

Top 14 Qualities of A CNA

Top 14 Qualities of A CNA: Secrets of A Successful Career

No matter, if you are already working in the field or recently completed a Certified nursing assistant training program, you can adopt the following qualities. It will be a great success for you.

1. Attention to Detail

It is very essential that all certified nursing assistants must be capable to pay attention to even minor details. As CNAs have to work with the patient charts, data, and forms which include health information of the patients, so they must precisely transcribe and interpret. A record of everything is essential because most patients have complex medical histories and are taking several medicines at a time.

CNAs must also be able to understand the non-verbal cues of the residents and monitor any change in their mental or physical health. They should be able to notice the small changes in manner, behavior, etc. Of all the medical professions, CNAs provide the most frequent and direct care to patients (90% direct care). Noticing minor details of the patient’s changing health can save their lives.

2. Effective Communication Skills

Nursing assistants play a caring role in the team and they are the key members of the medical team. It is compulsory for them to communicate effectively with other team members (like a registered nurse, doctor, social worker, or physical therapist) to accurately convey the information on the patient’s health and document the details on the chart. Strong communication skills are the key to success.

It is also essential for CNAs to listen to their patients clearly and carefully to offer support. For instance, when communicating with patients CNAs must speak slowly, calmly, & in layman’s terms. But when talking with nurses or doctors they must use medical terms and give medical-specific summaries (if necessary).

Excellent written communication skills are necessary for CNAs when communicating through concise notes (when documenting the patient’s wellbeing).

3. Good Observation

When working with senior patients, it is important for CNAs to notice changes such as higher blood pressure, a new bruise, frequent thirst, high body temperature, lack of appetite, etc. As the CNAs are giving direct care to the patients, they are the first to observe these changes and report them to the team members. Being a good observant can make the difference between death & life.

4. Knowledge of Medical Terms & Procedures

The CNAs act as a channel between the medical team and the patients so they must convey the patient’s accurate information using precise medical terms. It will help the patient’s physician to create an effective and accurate care plan.

CNAs should know proper terms for conditions, infections & general medical terminology including different medical procedures (like taking vital signs) so that they can effectively communicate with the other medical staff.

5. Emotional Stability

All CNAs should be emotionally stable as they have to deal with very critically severely injured patients, some of them may die and some may get better. CNAs will witness patients struggling with their health conditions. Supporting patients requires steadiness.

6. Empathy & Compassion

Compassion and empathy are soft skills, essential for all healthcare jobs including nursing assistants. Prosperous CNAs utilize these two traits daily (especially in nursing homes).

Being a healthcare professional you should have concern for the patients who are in your care. Most of the patients are conscious of their health and they require your sympathetic support. Compassion includes providing healthcare without considering beliefs and culture and speaking with patients to fulfill their needs.

Empathy is putting yourself in the patient’s place to understand their feelings and this skill is not taught in the training program. This trait enables the CNAs to take better care of the patients as they will be assisting patients from their perspective.

7. Patience

Within the medical field, CNAs come across many physical and mental challenges. 

One of the important CNA skills is patience as the CNA has to ensure constant care and comfort of the patients. CNAs often care for sick patients and they can be irritating due to their medical complexities. Sometimes, elderly patients may get scared, confused, aggressive, or dubious of their surroundings and the people caring for them. Sometimes the healing process is frustrating and your patient may behave inappropriately. Patience will help you to rise through such situations.

By keeping a supportive and calm demeanor and remaining patient, CNAs can deliver the best care without increasing the current challenging situation. Performing the duties calmly will be critical.

8. Flexibility

For CNAs, each day is different. Some days can be full of challenges while others can be smooth. Sometimes nursing assistants are asked to switch shifts, work on holidays or weekends, or work more than the regular hours. CNAs should be flexible enough to adjust to the changing requirements.

Significant flexibility is required during working hours as the CNAs will be dealing with elderly and sick patients. A care approach or method may not work for some patients while working for others. So the CNAs must be flexible and creative enough to adapt to the shifting priorities and personalities. Remaining flexible, on task, and professional no matter what you encounter is a beneficial trait for CNAs.

9. Time Management

In CNAs’ lives, each day something is happening. To give all the patients the proper attention and care they need, all the CNAs need to manage and effectively utilize their time and prioritize their tasks. Good time management will help CNAs not only reduce their stress but also allows them to take their meals and breaks without worry.

10. Cooperation & Determination

Cooperation and determination are the other essential traits of the CNAs to progress in the field. Excellent patients care completely depends upon the medical team members assisting each other. You can accomplish more by assisting each other during every shift. Assisting your coworkers or asking for their help will strengthen your bond with others and increases job satisfaction.

It creates a positive attitude to approach each challenge or task with a strong determination to complete it. Whether you are learning how to use new equipment or finding an innovative way to assist patients, strong determination maximizes your success rate.

11. Optimism

Sometimes CNAs inevitably encounter negative or difficult situations during their work but it is important to stay positive and enthusiastic. This positive thinking radiates to coworkers and patients and creates a happy and healthy environment.

Furthermore, finding the good in bad situations contributes to overall good mental health. It helps CNAs not to get tired.

12. Physical Strength

CNAs should have the long-lasting physical stamina to endure the burden of the job. CNAs should have strong legs to do the 12-hour shift day after day. It will take to time and training to get used to the work. As the CNAs have to transfer, lift and position the patient so upper body strength is necessary to complete these tasks. Helping patients walk also requires strength.

13. Contentment in Small Gains

Sometimes it is satisfactory to help the patients feel fresh or watch them smile as they get into the bed that you made. From your busy schedule take a few moments to see the happiness of the patients due to your actions. These little things will motivate you.

14. Respect

 It is the basic right of all human beings to treat them with dignity and respect. Similarly, every patient deserves the utmost respect, and CNAs have to treat them with honor. While treating the patients it is also necessary to maintain confidentiality and privacy. Coworkers also need respect to feel proud and respected. All the employees should follow the policies and rules of the workplace to earn the respect.

These qualities will not only help you to become a successful and good nursing assistant but are also important to become a better version of yourself. Look at all of these qualities again to see how these can help you make or improve the relationship.