A licensed nursing assistant (LNA) is the preferred designation in some parts of the United States for certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Individuals in these positions perform the same functions; the difference in naming comes from the method by which a nursing assistant acquires legal standing to work in this field. Licensed nursing assistants handle many of the hands-on patient care duties in a hospital or clinic, such as helping patients with mobility issues to eat or dress. LNAs also assist nurses and doctors with taking blood samples and the routine monitoring of patient conditions.
Much of an LNA's work is spent directly involved with patients. The nursing assistants may have to assist in cleaning, feeding, or moving patients who may be unable to perform these tasks themselves. Typically, the LNA works with one or more other assistants or orderlies to accomplish this work. The nursing assistants also take blood pressure and pulse measurements, as well as draws blood for testing. The LNA typically documents readouts from any diagnostic or monitoring equipment, as well as provides other medical personnel with information related to patient demeanor, eating habits, and other details that may assist nurses and doctors in directing care.
To work as an LNA or CNA, a person must receive relevant training and education, typically through medically oriented vocational schools or community college programs. Typically the study time for licensed nursing assistants is two years, with required licensing tests included as part of the program curriculum. Many schools offering these education programs also offer job placement assistance as well. In addition to having an aptitude for helping people and caring for their well-being, an LNA should be able to also handle the physical requirements of the job, which can include lifting and carrying heavy loads. An LNA typically work shifts that may cover days, evenings, overnights and/or weekends in a hospital environment.
Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA) Tasks
Assists with direct patient care under the supervision of the RN or other medical professionals.
Provide patients with help walking, exercising, and moving in and out of bed.
Position, feed, bathe, dress and assist patients with grooming and other tasks.
Observe patients' conditions, measure and record food and liquid intake and output and vital signs, and report changes to professional staff.