12 CNA Skills: Definition and Examples

By ResumeCat Editorial Team
Published September 1, 2022

A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a vital member of the healthcare team. They provide basic patient care and perform essential tasks, such as taking vital signs and assisting with activities of daily living. CNAs must have a strong foundation of skills to be successful in their role. In this article, we will define 12 essential CNA skills, including infection control, communication, and safety.

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CNA Skills

Patient care

Patient care is the process of providing care and attention to patients. This includes activities such as bathing, dressing, and feeding patients. It also involves providing emotional support to patients and their families.


Bathing is the process of cleaning oneself with water. It is important to bathe regularly to maintain good hygiene and to prevent the spread of infection.


The toileting skill for a CNA is the ability to help a patient with their toileting needs. This may include helping them to use the toilet, providing them with privacy, and cleaning them up afterwards. This skill is important because it helps to maintain the patient's dignity and hygiene.


The ability to transfer patients from one surface to another is an important skill for CNAs. This skill is needed in order to prevent injury to both the patient and the CNA.


Positioning is a skill that is needed in order to ensure that patients are comfortable and safe. This skill is important because it helps to prevent injuries and ensures that patients are able to receive the best possible care.


Ambulation is the act of walking. You need this skill as a CNA in order to help your patients move around, whether it be from their bed to a chair or from one room to another.


The ability to eat is an important skill for a CNA to have. This is because they will need to be able to eat in order to maintain their own health and well-being. Additionally, this skill will allow them to provide assistance to patients who may be unable to eat on their own.


Dressing is a basic life skill that everyone should know how to do. It is important to be able to dress yourself and others in a variety of situations, from everyday life to medical emergencies. Dressing properly can help prevent injuries, keep you warm or cool as needed, and make you look presentable in public.

Vital signs

Vital signs are a set of four key body measurements that provide important information about a person's health. They include body temperature, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. These measurements can give healthcare providers important clues about a person's overall health and whether or not they are in danger of developing or worsening health problems.

Blood pressure

Blood pressure is a measure of the force against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood through your body. You need to know your blood pressure because if it is too high, it can damage your arteries and lead to health problems like heart disease and stroke.


The ability to take and record a patient's temperature is an important skill for a CNA. This is because temperature can be a vital sign of illness or infection, and so it is important to be able to monitor it and report any changes to the nurse.


The pulse is the rhythm of the heartbeat, and it can be used to check a person's heart rate. You need this skill to be able to check a person's heart rate and to see if it is within a normal range.

How to improve cna skills

As a certified nursing assistant (CNA), you play a vital role in providing quality care to patients in a variety of settings. In order to be successful in your career, it is important to continuously improve your skills and knowledge. There are many ways that you can do this, and the following are just a few examples.

1. Stay up-to-date on changes in the healthcare industry. The healthcare industry is constantly changing, and it is important to stay abreast of these changes in order to provide the best possible care to your patients. One way to do this is to read trade publications or attend conferences related to your field.

2. Take advantage of continuing education opportunities. Many CNAs choose to further their education by taking courses or even pursuing a degree in nursing. By doing so, you can keep your skills sharp and learn new techniques that you can use in your job.

3. Get involved in professional organizations. There are many professional organizations for CNAs, such as the National Association of Certified Nursing Assistants (NACNA). These organizations offer many resources that can help you improve your skills, such as educational materials, networking opportunities, and access to job postings.

4. Use technology to your advantage. Technology can be a great tool for CNAs looking to improve their skills. There are many websites and online courses that offer helpful information for CNAs. In addition, there are many software programs available that can help you keep track of patient information and charting data.

5. Observe experienced CNAs at work. One of the best ways to learn is by observing experienced CNAs at work. If possible, shadow an experienced CNA or ask if you can observe them during their shift. This will give you a chance to see firsthand how they perform their duties and interact with patients.

How to highlight cna skills

As a CNA, you will want to highlight your skills in order to show potential employers what you are capable of. When listing your skills on a resume or during an interview, be sure to include both hard and soft skills. Hard skills are those that can be quantified, such as your experience with certain medical equipment or procedures. Soft skills are more difficult to quantify but are just as important, if not more so. These include qualities like bedside manner and the ability to remain calm under pressure. Be sure to give specific examples of how you have utilized your skills in the past in order to demonstrate their effectiveness.

On a resume

In order to highlight your skills as a CNA on a resume, you should list any relevant experience you have in the field, as well as any special training or certifications you may have. You should also list any skills that are relevant to the position, such as compassionate caregiving, good communication, and the ability to follow instructions.

In a cover letter

In your cover letter, be sure to highlight your skills as a CNA. Include any relevant experience you have working with patients, providing personal care, and performing clinical tasks. Describe how your skills have helped you provide excellent patient care in the past, and how you will continue to do so in your new role. Be sure to emphasize your dedication to providing quality care and your commitment to meeting the needs of your patients.

During an interview

As a CNA, you will want to highlight your skills during your interview. You will want to be sure to mention your experience with patient care, as well as your ability to work well under pressure. You should also mention your ability to communicate effectively with patients and their families.

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