As a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), there are skills that you need to know. The CNA exam has a skills component that you must prepare for. The 25 CNA skills you must know are listed below, along with a brief overview and video of each skill.

1.    Handwashing

In the CNA skills examination, some skills are selected randomly but handwashing is considered as a separate skill that is done along with other skills. It is important to master this skill because you’ll almost certainly be asked to wash your hands before, during, and after other skills.  CNA Skill #1  Handwashing Video


2.    Putting and Removing Gown and Gloves

It is critical to properly put on and remove Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gowns and gloves, particularly now that we are in a pandemic. During a CNA skill test, it is one of the most often asked skills. CNA Skill #2 Gown And Gloves Video


3.    Positioning in a Fowler’s Position

Fowler’s position is done for patients that have trouble breathing. This relaxes the abdominal muscles and allows the chest to expand. The head of the bed is raised between 30 degrees (semi- Fowler’s) and 90 degrees (high Fowler’s) based on the patient’s preference. CNA Skill #3 Positioning in a Fowler's Position Video


4.    Positioning in a Lateral (Side-Lying) Position

A patient is placed on their side to prepare their bed or adjust their clothes in a lateral position. It is also done for patients who are unable to move to prevent bedsores.

CNA Skill #4 Positioning in a Lateral Position Video


5.    Transferring from Bed to Chair Using a Gait Belt

Transferring from bed to wheelchair necessitates the use of a gait belt. This is accomplished by securing a gait belt around the patient’s waist and telling them to stand for you to pivot to the chair. CNA #5 Skill Transferring From Bed To Chair Video


6.    Assisting in Walking Using a Gait Belt

Similarly, you might also be asked to walk, or ambulate, a patient using a gait belt. This requires the CNA to encourage the patient to walk. An upward tension should be maintained while guiding the patient. CNA Skill #6 Assisting Walking Using A Gait Belt Video


7.  Making an Occupied Bed

When a patient is lying down, CNAs can be asked to make their bed. This can be accomplished by repositioning the patient to the side and replacing the linens with new ones. CNA Skill #7 Making An Occupied Bed Video

8.    Perform Passive Range of Motion on the Upper Body

This helps the patients in the mobilization of their upper body which covers the fingers, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Appropriate patterns for each joint should be followed which include flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, and rotation.

CNA Skill #8 Passive Range Of Motion To Upper Body Video


9.    Perform Passive Range of Motion on the Lower Body

This will help patients to mobilize their lower body which covers the toes, ankles, knees, and hips. The same procedure with the upper body is followed while ensuring that the patient is not in discomfort. CNA Skill #9 Passive Range Of Motion For Lower Body Video


10. Brushing the Dentures

This is the tenth in 25 CNA skills. This is needed for patients who wear dentures. It should be kept in a denture cup to prevent it from being misplaced.  It should be brushed using warm water and a denture cleaner. Also, make sure that the gum areas are properly cleaned. CNA Skill #10 Brushing Of Dentures Video


11. Mouth Care for an Unconscious Patient

Patients who are unconscious need oral hygiene to keep their teeth and mouth clean. To avoid aspirating any fluids, the patient should be laid on their side or raised not more than 30 degrees. CNA Skill #11 Mouth Care For Unconscious Patient Video


12. Giving a Partial Bed Bath (Upper Body)

An upper body bed bath may be needed for immobile or unconscious patients. To clean the patient’s face and the rest of the upper body, clean washcloths and a basin of warm water are needed. CNA Skill #12 Giving Partial Bed Bath Upper Body Video


13. Giving a Partial Bed Bath (Lower Body)

A partial lower body bed bath can also be requested for CNAs. Start the bathe with the hips and work your way down the lower body, making sure the patient is comfortable.

CNA Skill #13 Giving Partial Bed Bath Lower Body Video


14. Giving a Back Rub/Massage

Following a bath, a back massage, or a back rub may be beneficial in reducing the physical discomfort that the patient may be experiencing. 

CNA Skill #14 Giving A Back Rub Video


15. Giving Perineal Care to a Female Patient

Perineal care is very important to female patients to prevent infections such as Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Assist the patient into the optimal position, which is the frog-leg position, while ensuring that privacy is maintained.

CNA Skill #15 Giving Perineal Care Female Patient Video


16. Shaving

Male patients who are unconscious or immobile can need assistance shaving their faces. Shaving cream may be used if available and an electric razor should be used to prevent nicks and cuts. CNA Skill #16 Shaving Video


17. Cleaning and Trimming Fingernails

Patients who are admitted to the hospital may need assistance with fingernail trimming. They could inadvertently scratch themselves if it gets too long. Trim the nails and smooth the edges with a nail file if desired. CNA Skill #17 Cleaning Fingernails Video


18. Serving the Meal Tray and Feeding Paralyzed Patients

Patients that are paralyzed need assistance in eating and drinking. Ensure that the patient receives the correct meal tray and start feeding the patient slowly, giving them time to chew their food and offer a sip of drinks every after bite.

CNA Skill #18 Serving The Meal Tray And Feeding Paralyzed Patients Video


19. Assist In Dressing With A Paralyzed/Immobile Arm

Patients with arm or shoulder injuries have trouble changing their clothes. As a CNA, you may be asked to assist the patient. It is easy when you start undressing on the mobile side of the body. CNA Skill #19 Assist In Dressing With A Paralyzed Arm Video


20. Assisting with Bedpans

CNAs could be asked to help with bedpans for immobile or bedridden patients. Assist the patient in rolling onto their side and guiding them onto the bedpan ensuring that their buttocks are in the center. CNA Skill #20 Assisting With Bedpans Video


21. Measuring and Recording the Height

The patient’s height will be taken upon consultation or admission to the hospital. This measurement is important as it will be paired with the weight to determine the Body Mass Index (BMI). CNA Skill #21 Measuring And Recording The Height Video


22. Measuring and Recording the Weight

The patient’s weight is important to keep track of because it determines the correct drug dose as well as the body fluid status. To maintain accuracy, make sure the scale is set to “0” before the patient steps onto the scale. 

CNA Skill #22 Measuring And Recording The Weight Video


23. Counting and Recording Respirations

When taking the patient’s respirations, don’t tell them you’re counting their breaths. This can make the patient more aware, causing their usual breathing rhythm to change. Count the number of the patient’s respiration in a minute and record it.

CNA Skill #23 Counting and Recording Respirations Video


24. Counting and Recording Radial Pulse

When taking the pulse, find the radial artery on the underside of the wrist at the thumb side. You should use your fingertips and count the number of the patient’s pulses in one minute. CNA Skill #24 Counting and Recording Radial Pulse Video


25. Taking and Recording Blood Pressure

This skill is the last one in 25 CNA skills. A blood pressure cuff and stethoscope are used to take a patient’s blood pressure. Be sure the patient’s arm is at the same height as their heart and in a stable position and place the stethoscope on the brachial artery on the arm. CNA Skill #25 Taking and Recording Blood Pressure Video


While the CNA test can be overwhelming, you can pass it as long as you give it your all and study the CNA skills you need to know.