Work Readiness: 4 Qualities Every CNA Should Possess

The role of CNA is essential for any healthcare team. The job is demanding, requiring not just physical stamina but also a range of mental and emotional skills.

Here is a look at what it takes to stand out as a certified nursing assistant, the four qualities that every CNA should possess.


This is probably the #1 priority for every CNA. The patients and other members of the team at the hospital, assisted living home or private home need to know they can depend on you. When your supervisors and your patients realize they can rely on your presence, good cheer and skill, you become irreplaceable.

An essential aspect of reliability is emotional stability. As a CNA, you will often work with patients close to the end of their lives, as well as those who have been in accidents or experienced other trauma. This is psychologically draining. To handle it over the long-term, to show up everyday for work, a CNA must have emotional strength and mental balance.


According to an article in the Huffington Post, the best CNAs are people who have an inherently caring disposition for people, whatever their conditions. Most CNAs work with the disabled and the aged. The work is emotionally demanding. Without a natural compassion, it can be hard to stay patient and even-tempered.

Many of the tasks that CNAs routinely handle are unpleasant, like emptying bedpans and bathing patients who can’t get out of bed. Without a caring disposition, this type of work can lead to frustration and resentment.

Physically Strong

Working as a CNA takes strength and stamina. If you choose this line of work, you need to have endurance to last through long shifts. It takes physical strength, dexterity and precision to turn a patient in bed safely or move him from the bed to a wheelchair.

CNAs need all aspects of physical health, including:

  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Balance

Since they need to show up to take care of patients even during cold and flu season, they should have sound constitutions that are able to resist common illness for the most part.

Communication Skills

CNAs need to communicate clearly and accurately, both with patients and with supervisors and others on the healthcare team. This includes verbal and written communication. A major responsibility for CNAs is documenting the state of the patient’s current emotional and physical well being.

Hand-in-hand with this is good observation skills. She must be able to explain to family members and other staff what she notices about the status of the patient, including her emotional state. Because CNAs work so closely attending to the physical needs of their patients, they are in a unique position to notice signs of depression or pain. This is essential information for the doctor, other staff and family.

There is much more to being a successful CNA than just passing the certification tests. It requires stamina, empathy, the ability to communicate and reliability. With these four traits, you will stand out wherever you work.




Crystal G

Crystal is a certified Registered Nurse (RN) with a passion for writing about nursing education. Through her articles, Crystal shares insights and tips to help fellow nurses enhance their skills and stay updated with the latest developments in the field. With a focus on practical advice and relevant topics, Crystal's writing is a valuable resource for nursing professionals seeking to advance their careers.