Certified Nursing Assistants and the Nursing Process

Certified Nursing Assistant

CNA Classes for Certification

After acquiring your CNA certification license you can begin working as a Certified Nursing Assistant within your state of residence. Your CNA classes will have taught you to work closely with professional nurses and other medical staff to provide patients and residents complete care. It is important to absorb all you can throughout the CNA classes certification process, as your educational training will mean the difference between thriving as a CNA and simply being average. Today, a CNA is typically the entry point into the medical field, with many Certified Nursing Assistants looking to go CNA to LPN, RN, BSN, or even LVN.

The term “Nursing Process” may not be covered during your CNA classes or daily duties once employed, however it is within this process that your entire career is based. To help clarify common questions when it comes to the nursing process and your work as a certified nursing assistant, this article breaks down the various elements of the entire nursing department.

Certified Nursing Assistants in the Medical Team

The medical team all CNAs work with is broken down into various layers. The first layer, or the foundational layer, is the patient. The entire reason you attended CNA classes and now have a job as a CNA is because of patients. The next layer is the doctor/physician. These are the most knowledgeable out of all medical staff and its with their direction that nurses, and ultimately CNAs, operate. The next layer is RNs or LPNs. While these medical professionals don’t have the same quantity of training that a doctor must go through, they are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to caring for patients. Lastly, you have CNAs. These professionals may be on the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to rankings, but their value and importance is just as influential as the other medical team members.

Beyond CNA Classes – The Nursing Process

Now that you have a better understanding of the placement a CNA has within the entire medical team, it’s time to delve into the actual nursing process. This outline is taught in some CNA classes and training programs, but is important to revisit. While this may vary based upon who you speak with, the most basic definition of the nursing process encompasses five primary elements, which include:

  • Patient Assessment – This is the foundation of the entire process. During the assessment phase, nurses and physicians gather current and historical patient health information. Generally, this is done through a three step process: (1) Obtain medical history (2) Perform a thorough physical examination of the patient (3) Review supplementary information, such as lab results.
  • Nurse Diagnoses – After the assessment is complete, the registered nurse assigned to the patient will review preliminary information and make a surface-level diagnoses. RNs have a major responsibility within the initial phases of patient care as they must gather accurate information and relay this info to doctors so the doctor has a better understanding of what the patient is going through. This process involves a significant amount of objective and subjective observations.
  • Outline of Needed Care – Also referred to as the “Care Plan,” this term refers to the course of actions recommended by the nursing and physician staff regarding treatment options for a patient. The Care Plan is a legal document that describes the level of care and procedures to support this care. In order to ensure the patient is properly tended to, all staff must adhere to the instructions detailed within this document.
  • Patient Interventions – While the aforementioned steps are vital to patient care and recovery, CNAs have very little to do with the process until this step. Based upon the information outlined in the Care Plan, CNAs begins tending to the patient. This includes meeting the hygiene and quality of life processes outlined in the document. During the intervention process, CNAs work closely with patients and are often the first to notify nursing staff is a particular treatment plan or health routine is not effective for the patient.
  • Patient Evaluation – Finally, the last step involved in the nursing process is patient evaluation. This is done after the Care Plan has been created and implemented over a period of time. It’s during this phase doctors, nurses and CNAs gather and discuss the effectiveness of particular treatments. Based upon the objective data that has been gathered, these professionals determine if the Care Plan should be altered or continued as written.