Health care is a team effort where doctors often serve as team leaders who rely on nursing services to support them in their work. Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are often the first line of defence between a patient and the team.
They form an integral part of this support staff and are trusted with duties that give them significant patient access. Experienced healthcare providers know that nursing assistants can provide value at multiple points throughout a patient’s hospital stay, from admission to discharge and follow-up care.
Nursing assistants can make all the difference between a smooth and efficient care process versus a care process that is very stressful for a patient.
This article discusses nursing assistants’ roles, responsibilities, importance and how healthcare companies can hire the best candidates for this position.
The role and responsibilities of nursing assistants
Nursing assistants who have earned their CNA certification are healthcare professionals who help patients with vital tasks. This is a hands-on caregiving position in which one assists patients and residents of nursing homes, home care settings and hospitals with routine tasks and errands under the direction of a registered nurse.
Nursing assistants help with basic care under the direction of nurses and healthcare staff and they typically work in a healthcare or nursing facility. Their job responsibilities include:
- Interacting with patients
- Taking patient vitals
- Observing and recording patient status
- Responding immediately to emergencies and patient calls for assistance
- Reporting what they see in terms of behaviour, complaints or physical symptoms
- Providing medication or treatment
- Transporting patients using wheelchairs, stretchers or mobile beds
- Helping patients with physical tasks such as eating, cleaning, bathing, dressing and using the restroom
- Preparing rooms for treatment or testing; assisting nurses and doctors as they use medical equipment
The vast majority of those who work in the field of nursing assistants do so full-time, though some work shorter shifts depending on the hours of work stipulated in their employment contract. The nursing staff at healthcare facilities may need to be available to work on nights, weekends and holidays to provide care for patients at all hours of the day and night.
CNAs are trained to handle the nuanced needs of each patient. In addition, they implement the care plan by the patient’s preferences and requirements, working from the premise that everyone has unique needs.
CNAs go the extra mile
The duties of a certified nursing assistant extend far beyond the realm of physical labour. Being compassionate and empathetic is another essential aspect of their job. Nursing assistants work closely with patients and are aware of the physical as well as emotional needs of their patients.
The simple act of having someone else in the room with patients can be enough to help them relax, get their thoughts out and regain their composure. Without a doubt, CNAs fill that role and help clients and their families get through tough times by providing comfort and companionship.
They know the patients personally, enabling them to detect subtle changes that may signal problems and when an individual is ready to be discharged. Whether a client’s priority is quality, affordability or convenience – CNAs can support those choices, and they do so while playing a vital role in patient health and care.
Recruiting nursing assistants
It is easy to see why nursing assistants play such a critical role in the healthcare team and why companies offering nursing services should invest in recruiting candidates with the most optimal expertise.
Essential abilities and characteristics
Qualifications aside, multiple skills and characteristics are needed to work effectively as a nursing assistant in today’s healthcare industry. Here are a few things you should look for when recruiting CNAs:
- The ability to interact effectively with patients, doctors, nurses and patients’ loved ones requires strong communication skills.
- Being able to use discernment and discretion when handling potentially delicate settings
- Being able to handle situations where the average person may be squeamish
- Displaying high levels of empathy to provide individualised attention to patients
- Being able to build relationships with patients, their loved ones and the healthcare team
- Having physical fortitude, as nursing can be taxing on the body
- Being able to remain composed under pressure
- Tolerating shift work, which can heavily impact one’s sleeping schedule
Top nursing candidates with the correct qualifications will move on to the interview process. They should be able to answer questions focused on the following points:
- How will they provide friendly and helpful bedside care based on company standards?
- What are some of their previous standout experiences as nursing assistants?
- What are some ways they can be proactive in providing support to patients?
- How can they help patients and their loved ones cope emotionally during the care lifecycle?
Recruiters and hiring managers should be able to screen and vet candidates for the nursing assistant role. Background and qualification checks are also essential to ensuring that companies hire competent and safe personnel for your healthcare facility.
Crafting effective job descriptions for nursing services
The certified nursing assistant role will have its specifications and may require job descriptions that differ from other positions in the healthcare facility. Although the overall hiring process is similar to that of other nursing and healthcare roles, employers can consider which keywords to include based on the role, for example:
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
- Enrolled Nursing Assistant
- Part-Time Nursing Assistant
- Ward aide
Job descriptions for the nursing assistant position will also include the following:
- A compelling summary of the role
- A comprehensive list of duties and responsibilities
- A list of necessary and desirable skills (as discussed above)
By making the job description as detailed as possible, employers and recruiters can minimise the number of applications that don’t fit the desired candidate profile.
Use outsourced nursing services
The nursing assistant role is one where hiring companies will be challenged to attract quality candidates from the outset. This may be a tedious task for healthcare providers who need to hire nursing assistants urgently or have previously struggled with high turnover for this position.
Outsourcing to a recruitment agency that offers nursing services may be the final solution for sourcing, vetting, hiring and training nursing assistants in the most seamless, timely and cost-effective manner. In cases where companies have not necessarily dealt with skilled nurses in the past and might be missing out on a valuable resource, nursing assistants can offer hospitals extra support for the medical staff.
Nursing services agencies like Greys provide flexible and permanent healthcare staffing focusing on achieving the optimal match with each individual client or facility. Healthcare companies will benefit from an extensive candidate database to hire CNAs on demand to overcome staffing issues.
Healthcare providers can focus on caring for their patients, knowing that their staffing demands are being met with qualified staff who are as dedicated to clinical excellence as the rest of their team. Tasks such as contract management, administration, training and onboarding will be reduced, leaving the provider’s employees to focus on the higher-priority tasks that improve patient outcomes.
Need nursing services?
As discussed in this article, the role of certified nursing assistants is one that healthcare companies can invest in to improve their level of care. They must hire CNAs based on the time they need for patient care and the tasks required to complete those duties.
Over the years, Greys Nursing Services has successfully placed thousands of nurses in various healthcare settings- including medical offices, nursing homes and private homes. Our rigorous screening process, ongoing training and access to a large pool of applicants guarantee that only the most qualified, caring and capable employees are placed with our clients.
You can visit our website to learn more about our company and the nursing services we offer or contact us to learn how we can empower your healthcare facility with our flexible and permanent staffing solutions.