What Are the Duties of an Acute Care Nursing Assistant?


An acute care nursing assistant is a certified nursing assistant responsible for assisting members of the medical staff within various hospital departments and providing patients with basic help with their basic daily activities. Acute care nursing assistants complete a state certified program to become a CNA.


  • The duties completed by an acute care nursing assistant to assist members of the medical staff are performed under the supervision of qualified nursing staff. These duties include obtaining and recording a patient's vital signs, including pulse, blood pressure and respiration levels. Acute care nursing assistants are also responsible for performing glucometer tests and the sterile insertion of urinary catheters. Each acute care nursing assistant is also responsible for monitoring the physical, mental and emotional state of patients in her care; when a change in the condition of a patient is observed the nursing assistant is required to report this to the medical staff.


  • Assisting patients with their daily activities is one of the major duties of each acute care nursing assistant. Duties can include answering patient call bells/lights, passing on messages, and making beds for patients. Also included in the daily duties of acute care nursing assistants are assisting patients with activities such as bathing, eating and dressing, and assisting with personal hygiene activities, including skin and hair care.


  • Departments throughout hospital environments employ acute care nursing assistants to assist in the care of patients. Hospital departments include outpatient surgical units and emergency rooms, orthopedics, and medical/surgery units. Certified nursing assistants are also known as patient care technicians who work in other environments, including nursing homes and in long-term care facilities.


  • To complete training as an acute care nursing assistant candidates are required to submit to a background check in some states within the U.S., with criminal convictions for abuse or neglect disqualifying a candidate from programs in some states. Training programs are state-certified to meet the required standards of state governments and examining boards. For example, in Michigan, certified nursing assistant candidates must complete a 94-hour training program. Training programs for certified nursing assistants are offered as either full-time programs or part-time programs through community and technical colleges.

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