Answer the Calling: CNAs and Memory Care

Answer the Calling: CNAs and Memory Care

A CNA, or certified nursing assistant, is an entry-level member of a patient’s healthcare team, performing important patient-centered tasks under the supervision of licensed nursing staff. Although a CNA is not a nurse, they work very closely with nurses, physicians, and other healthcare providers.

Becoming a CNA is the path that many people take to start their career in healthcare. Some may move on to more advanced levels of nursing, while others are satisfied with the many rewards of working as a CNA. Working as a certified nursing assistant can offer great career benefits for individuals with a passion for helping others.

One of those benefits is working as part of a nursing home memory care team. In this environment, a CNA provides patients with the essentials of day-to-day living. CNAs spend much of their time helping with tasks such as showering, using the bathroom, eating, and spending time just talking or laughing.

A great way to look at a CNA’s job is offering memory care patients the stability, respect and dignity they deserve – even as their mind may be faltering. Family can’t be there all the time (or even sometimes, very often), so a CNA is sometimes viewed by patients as being part of their family.

What makes a great certified nursing assistant? Here are some examples:


CNAs must be reliable and responsible to complete the many tasks required to care for elderly patients. Failing to be dependable as a CNA can have dire consequences for those who cannot care for themselves.


Listening and providing an understanding ear for patients and caring about their needs is a key part of the job. Many of these patients can feel quite vulnerable – and sometimes irritable – having someone else help them perform daily living tasks.


You might work with people whose ages, ethnicities, or lifestyles are different from your own. Being able to put yourself in their shoes will go a long way in providing empathetic care – and will help you to understand your patients better.

Ability to Work in a Team

As a CNA, you’ll interface with many different people throughout your shifts. In addition to supporting patients with their needs and answering questions from families, you’ll also communicate with nurses, doctors, and other professionals to ensure patients receive the timely care they need.


CNAs can sometimes find themselves in stressful situations. From helping a patient with dementia who can become disoriented, to carefully turning a patient on a ventilator, being able to manage your stress and stay calm will help everyone, including your patients.


It’s not always easy to work with people who are hurting, scared, or frustrated about their inability to do the things they used to do. Some patients can be demanding, irritable, stubborn, and otherwise trying – while others can be agreeable and open to what you need to do for them. Being patient and realizing the cause of these behaviors will help you deal more effectively with patients and their families.


Do you enjoy talking with others? Can you communicate clearly and effectively? Effective communication is an important requirement for CNAs. You’ll be conversing with various people, including patients, family members, nurses, doctors, and other healthcare staff. Being able to relay information concisely and understandably is a must.

Think You Have What It Takes? Contact Our Healthcare Recruitment Firm Today

Horizon Healthcare Management is an experienced nursing and healthcare recruitment firm that puts the goals of our jobseekers first. If you’re a healthcare professional seeking permanent, temporary, per diem or locum tenens opportunities at leading facilities, visit our Career Opportunities page today. And let’s get started on finding the right position that meets your skills.

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