What Does a CNA Do?

Certified Nursing Assistant Roles


What does a CNA do? A CNA carries out a variety of direct patient care activities, supervised by a Registered Nurse (RN).

  • Assitance in eating, bathing, dressing
  • Collection of samples of non-invasive body fluid
  • Collection of vital sign data
  • Provide assitance to physican or nursing staff as requested
  • Documentation of patient interaction

The CNA does not initiate administration of intravenous fluids.

The following more specific job titles refer to different settings and generally involve different salaries. (See How much does a CNA make?)

Certified Nursing Assistant – Nursing Home

Certified Nursing Assistant – Occupational Health (Occupational and industrial setting.)

Certified Nursing Assistant – Long Term Care

Certified Nursing Assistant – Long Term Care

How Much Medical Knowledge is Required?

A high-school diploma is required first, before admissoon to an accredited certification program. As part of the training, the student will acquire some basic and elementary medical knowledge but it is not as advanced as that which may be acquired in a full college-level course. Math skills that are more advanced than high-school level are not required but proficiency in calculation of basic quantities such as percentages, ratios, fractions, and rates will be helpful. Further information about required knowledge for the CNA exams can be found on the CNA books page.

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