What it takes to be a CNA? – Appropriate Observation Skills

In our everyday lives, we get to use all our senses in just about every day. We get to use our sight in choosing what color of dress would suit us, our sense of hearing to hear news around the world, sense of smell to savor the aroma of our mother’s new dish, sense of taste to know what makes up a local dish, and sense of touch to express our love for our love ones. But for those who are in the health care profession, the use of their senses is much more than that. They are used to observe any deviations that may put the patient’s life at risk. Being a Certified Nursing Assistant, it exactly asks you to do that. After all, you are the constant presence during a patient’s stay in the hospital. You spent almost all your working hours with them while meeting their needs. If anything happens, you are the first person to know or notice it. This is what it takes to be a CNA, having appropriate observation skills.

That is why a good or appropriate Observation skill is a must and come as very handy when working with patients. There are two things that a Nurse Aide should learn how to observe, and these are:

  • Subjective Observation
  • Objective Observation

Subjective observation is made up of everything that the patient had said to you. You take on what he said and that is where you make your observation on what he really feels or what he needs. A nurse aide can be considered by a patient to be his confidante, thus, he would readily tell you about everything. It is up to you to sort out what needs to be reported to the nurse without putting the patient’s privacy at risk. It is also important that when reporting subjective observation, the nurse aide should make an observation and not an assumption. She should report what he only hear and observe and not to make his own diagnosis. However, subjective observation, no matter how it came from the patient himself, cannot be measured and cannot be the only thing to rely on when making observation. Thus, the use of objective observation comes in. This is where you make use of all of your senses. You look out for any signs of bed sores on your patient’s skin, you smell for any signs of foreign odors such as the need to change diapers, you listen for Pulse as you take the blood pressure, and you feel for any signs of lumps on the patient’s skin. These things can be measured and can really tell the patient’s actual condition.

When using your observation skills, it is important to keep it accurate and to do it on a timely manner. After all, time is precious and should not be wasted just like life. So if you want to be a good CNA, then what it really takes to be one is a good observation skill.

Medication Safety Guide for CNA’s

As a Certified Nursing Assistant, it is your duty to assist not only the patients but the nurses as well. You cannot do anything unless you are under the supervision of a nurse or a licensed practical nurse. This is due to the fact that a Nursing Aide has a lesser training than a nurse or the LPN. They are considered to be a first-entry level in the Nursing Profession and that they are only qualified to do basic tasks. However, this does not mean that they are not considered to be responsible on the tasks that were assigned to them. No matter how they need to be supervised, they still need to be accountable on everything that they do. After all, on this job, they are dealing with lives and so, it is only important that everyone on the healthcare team should be responsible in everything that they do. A nursing aide might think that they are only responsible on giving patients their medications on time and just that it. This specific task, however, calls for a much cautious and safe approach.

How do you then ensure medication safety?

As a Certified Nursing Assistant, you could not just give medications anytime we want. You only get to do this once the nurse had assigned you to do it and you cannot give just any medications because there is only a limited kind of medications that are part of your scope. In giving medications, you have to remember the five rights on giving medications.

These five rights are:

  • The Right Medication

You need to double check the doctor’s order as well as the prescription sheet to see if it is the right medication. You also need to check the name of the medications twice and if possible, let the nurse check it with you.

  • The Right patient

Do not be contented to just check the Id Band of the patient to check his identity. Also ask the patient himself for his complete name or if he is not able to, ask his family. In this way, you are sure that you are giving the right medication to the right patient.

  • The Right Route

Study first the exact way of giving that certain drug to the patient. If you are not sure, ask your nurse to show you.

  • The Right Dosage

Always make sure that you are giving the right dosage by using the right measuring instrument. Do not just assume that it is the right dosage. If you are not, then again, have your nurse check it with you.

  • The Right Time

Always make sure that you give the medication to your patient on time. Do not delay it or give it way ahead of time.

Also make sure that you document it right after you give them. This is a way for the other member of the health team to know if that certain medication has already been given or not. Also, never fail to check if your patient develops adverse reaction and be able to counteract it on time. It was never a waste of time in doing all of this, if this means assuring the safety of your patient.

5 Suggestions for CNAS to Finish Tasks on Time

Sometimes, an 8 hour or 12 hour shift could never be enough to finish all your tasks for the day. Sometimes, you could not even spare even a minute to have your bathroom breaks and you even skip your meals just to finish everything. At the end of the day, you went home feeling tired and exhausted. If this continue to happen, this could affect your productivity thus you could never really complete your tasks at any given time. However, this problem only asks for some perseverance, discipline and hard work for you to overcome it. There are also some ways that could help you organize and finish all your tasks.

These are the 5 suggestions for CNAs to finish Tasks on Time:


You could start your day by planning way ahead of time on how you would spend your shift. You could list all your tasks for the day and spare enough time for each of your tasks such as bathing your patient on the first hour of your shift. Make sure to schedule everything in a way that you could spare enough time for your own needs as well.


Prioritize which a task is important and must be done immediately. It is never helpful to keep on jumping from one task to another without finishing anything because you never knew which needs your attention first. It is also not helpful if you choose to do first the least important tasks from the most important like changing the bed linen first instead of giving the patient his due medications.


If you are the senior nursing aide on your shift, it would definitely benefit everyone if you knew how to delegate the tasks well among yourselves. Try delegating tasks that the person is very good at, in this way; you could all save a lot of time.


Effective communication is also important in finishing all your tasks. This could save you from the trouble of doing things that was already done by others as well as avoiding mistakes which if this happen, could also mean another waste of time. Example of an effective communication is by communicating to each other that certain medication has been already given. This spares your co employers and yourself as well from extra unnecessary time in knowing if it is already given or not.


This means you took more than the allotted time in finishing a certain tasks just because you think it is boring or you did not want to do it at all. This is one thing that you should avoid. Also, there are instances where your patients would want to have small talk with you thus preventing you from finishing your task. For this matter, you could try planning or sparing some time for a nice chat with your patient or you could schedule this during their meal time thus doing two tasks at the same time while keeping your patients happy. Sometimes, it is indeed hard to finish all your tasks on time but with careful planning and time management, you could do just that and could be more productive than you could imagine.