7 Tips to Make You a Better Nursing Assistant | Harris Casel Institute Melbourne FL
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7 Tips to Make You a Better Nursing Assistant

nursing assistant tips, nursing assistant trainingBe considerate of the RN or BSN who supervises you

Let’s face it, nurses are busy people. If you are in training to become a Nursing Assistant or a Nurse’s Aide, it’s important to learn how to manage your time well, so that you can be helpful and efficient when it comes to being a part of the nursing team. Here are some tips on what makes Nursing Assistants succeed in their field.

1. Measure and chart a patient’s vitals right away
Nurses need to stay on track, and they have a lot of patients to serve. Make sure you measure and document your patients’ vitals so that the nurse has the information at his or her fingertips. Also, be sure to tell your nurse right away if a patient’s vitals are abnormal, or if you have other health concerns about the patient. In this way, you can serve as an extra set of eyes for the nurse.

2. Admit it when you have a question—don’t guess
The field of nursing brings new situations and new challenges every day. If you are relatively new to the job, there’s a good chance you will encounter situations where you don’t know what to do. There is no shame in this. Simply ask. It is far better to ask than to take a guess and get something wrong. Getting something wrong could have dangerous consequences for the patient.

3. Don’t wait to be asked what to do—look around at what needs to be done, and lend a hand.
Be proactive in your job, and never sit around waiting to be told what to do. Here are some examples of what you can do if you have extra time on your hands.

  • Ask your patient if there’s anything else he or she needs
  • Ask your nurse if there’s anything else he or she needs
  • Make sure patients’ water and ice are refreshed
  • Check on patients who are incontinent to see if they need a change
  • See if you can take a patient on a walk to help them with exercise
  • Restock inventory if you notice it is running low
  • Help out a fellow CNA if they are behind; the favor will come back to you some day

4. Stay organized—keep a list of what you need to do
Coming in 10 to 15 minutes before your shift starts is a great way to get organized for the day. Keep a notebook or a chart, and create a checklist of what tasks you have to accomplish during your shift.

5. Don’t take shortcuts—do your job well so that you can be proud of it
Being fast in your job can definitely be a positive trait, but make sure you are not cutting any corners. Make sure you change bed sheets every day, and make the beds neatly. Be sure to bathe patients well, so they feel and smell good. Clean up after yourself, making sure to dispose properly of used gloves, wound dressings, dirty robes, and dirty linens. If you do a poor job, and leave the dirty work for the next person, you will develop a poor reputation. In most cases, it’s better to be thorough than fast.

6. Keep a positive attitude
The culture in the field of nursing can sometimes feel competitive or stressful. Try not to play into this, and instead, keep a friendly and positive attitude. Be friendly to co-workers and patients. Treat everyone with respect, and odds are you will feel respected too. Even better, add a little humor into your day. Laughing with others is a great way to build a bond.

7. Take care of yourself—don’t skip your breaks or meals!
On a busy day, you may offer to skip your break or even skip a meal. Every once in a while this may be okay, but on the whole, it is better to take your breaks and your meals. You are given breaks for a reason—your body and mind need a break from the work in order to recharge and refresh your energy. Don’t let yourself burn out. Take care of yourself, and if you do, you will have more energy to take care of your patients too.


These tips were provided by the Harris Casel Institute in Melbourne, Florida. To learn about our Nursing Assistant training program, visit our website today.