CNA Skills for Your Resume 

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: May 13, 2024

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Certified nursing assistants, or CNAs, play a critical role in the healthcare industry. They provide direct care to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. 

As the demand for healthcare services continues to grow, the role of CNAs has become increasingly important. To be successful in their role, CNAs must possess a range of skills, including clinical expertise, communication skills and empathy. 

Let’s discuss the CNA skills needed to excel in the profession and provide high-quality care to patients, how to include them in your resume and how to continue to develop your skill set. 

What are CNA skills?

CNA skills, or certified nursing assistant skills, are the abilities and competencies required to provide quality care and support to patients in a healthcare setting. CNAs play a crucial role in the health care team by assisting with daily activities, monitoring patient health, and providing emotional support. 

Patients and CNAs can develop a close and caring relationship based on the professional CNA skills. Creating a CNA skills list for resume involves identifying and highlighting the specific skills and competencies that are essential for the specific role you’re applying for. 

Examples of CNA skills

CNA hard skills

Hard skills are learned abilities. You can learn through education and on the job. CNA help patients with their daily activities and support with quality care, which means they need diverse hard skills set to provide this assistance. 

 Clinical skills

  • Vital signs
  • Oral and denture care
  • Catheter care
  • Dressing bedridden resident
  • Drug administration
  • Feeding assistance
  • Respiratory therapy techniques
  • Tracheostomy care and management
  • Colostomy/Ileostomy care and management
  • Stoma irrigation procedures
  • Range of motion exercises
  • Restraint application 
  • End-of-life care

Hygiene and Mobility

  • Handwashing and general hygiene
  • Assisted and unassisted transfer
  • Ambulation assistance
  • Infection control procedures
  • Medical equipment use and maintenance

Communication and Documentation

  • Medical terminology
  • Electronic Health Records (EHR) for patient care documentation
  • Active listening
  • Patient advocacy

Emergency Response and Crisis Management

  • Emergency response
  • Stress management
  • Crisis management

Soft skills

Soft skills support how you perform your job. These skills are all about your habits and performance.

  • Time management
  • Problem-solving
  • Calm under pressure
  • Leadership
  • Positive work ethic
  • Resourcefulness
  • Responsibility 

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are critical in patient care. These skills help CNA connect with patients, their families and the healthcare to provide the best possible care. 

  • Conflict resolution
  • Communication
  • Compassion
  • Adaptability
  • Empathy

Transferable skills

CNAs can bring  transferable skills to a new career in healthcare or to other industries. 

  • Physical stamina
  • Medical terminology
  • Safety awareness
  • Stress management
  • Flexibility
  • Cultural competence
  • Ethical decision-making

How to improve CNA skills

Reach career goals and find the position you want by improving and working on your CNA skills. These are a few ways you can do so: 

  • Continued learning:. Attend workshops, seminars and conferences to expand your knowledge and stay informed about new techniques, technologies and best practices. Take advantage of online resources, journals and publications to enhance your understanding of medical conditions, treatments and nursing procedures.
  • Seek mentorship: Shadowing experienced professionals can also provide hands-on learning opportunities and improve your skills through observation and practical experience.
  • Practice active listening and communication: Develop strong verbal and non-verbal communication skills to build rapport with patients, their families, and other health care professionals. This ensures everyone is on the same page, preventing misunderstandings or errors.
  • Develop empathy and compassion: Put yourself in your patients’ shoes, understand their emotions, and offer comfort and support. A compassionate approach enhances the patient’s experience and creates a positive environment.
  • Enhance technical skills: Refine your technical skills, such as taking vital signs accurately, administering medications and wound care, by practicing under the supervision of registered nurses or experienced CNAs. 
  • Cultivate time management: Prioritize tasks, organize your workload, and maintain a structured schedule. Proper time management ensures you can provide timely and efficient care to patients, while also attending to administrative responsibilities.
  • Embrace Teamwork: Collaborate and communicate effectively with other members of the healthcare team to ensure coordinated and comprehensive care for patients. 
Ready to start your application? Learn how to write a resume to highlight your qualifications and career experience to reach the next level of your career. 

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How to include CNA skills in a resume

Your CNA resume will be packed with skills! Every section will present different qualifications. So, how do you decide what to include and where to write it down? 

  • In your career statement — Imagine the recruiter only reads this section, what skills must they know about you? Include your strongest job-relevant CNA skills along with your years of experience.

 For example:

Experienced Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) with over five years of compassionate patient care experience. Proven track record of monitoring vital signs, administering medications, and maintaining a clean and safe environment. Recognized for effective communication with patients, families, and health care team members.

  • In your skills section — Use bullet points to include 6 to 12 skills. Focus mostly on your hard skills, but include two or three soft skills. Match as many skills as possible from the CNA job description skills. 

For example:

  • Ostomy appliance application and removal
  • Pain management techniques
  • Performing basic sterile procedures
  • Phlebotomy 
  • Point-of-care testing (blood sugar, urinalysis)
  • Empathetic patient care and bedside manner
  • Conversational Mandarin
  • In your work experience — This is where you’ll show how you’ve used your skills as a CNA. Use quantifiable accomplishments, such as the number of patients assisted per shift or maintaining accurate documentation for a caseload of patients. You can also include examples of soft skills used in your previous roles.

For example:

  • Provided compassionate care and emotional support to elderly patients, displaying strong empathy and understanding of their individual needs and concerns.

If you have limited work experience, include relevant internships, volunteer work, or clinical rotations where you utilize your CNA skills. 

Wanna see more? With 800+ resume examples, you’ll surely find one that fits your career level and industry. 

Showcasing CNA skills with action verbs

When it comes to showcasing CNA skills on a resume, using action verbs  is key. Action verbs are powerful and can help your resume stand out. They help convey a sense of competency and highlight your achievements. Some action verbs that CNA’s can use to showcase their skills include “administered,” “monitored,” “assisted,” “evaluated,” and “documented.” By using these verbs, you can describe your duties in a way that highlights your skills and accomplishments.

For those who are looking to write a resume with no experience, it can be challenging to know where to start. However, even if you don’t have any formal work experience as a CNA, you can still highlight your skills and accomplishments. For example, you can mention any relevant coursework or certifications you have obtained, such as CPR or first aid training, as part of your ​​CNA basic nursing skills. Additionally, you can highlight any volunteer work or internships you have had in the medical field. By focusing on your skills and resume accomplishments, you can showcase your potential as a CNA and demonstrate your value to potential employers.

Common tools for CNAs

For a smoother process, CNAs use tools to help them perform their daily tasks and maintain clear reports of any changes in the patient’s health. 

These are common tools CNA use to provide quality care: 

  • Vital signs monitors: Documenting changes in patient’s vital signs is key to provide the adequate medical. Blood pressure cuffs, thermometers and pulse oximeters are among these tools. 
  • Electronic health record system: Keeping the lines of communication open and professional is a must for CNAs. EHR help them quickly update and document about the care provided. 
  • Mobility devices: Transfer belt, mechanical lifts and wheelchairs are a few examples of devices that help CNAs and patients move about. Knowing how to utilize these tools 
  • Wound care supplies: Whether big or small, wounds need proper care. Bandages, dressings and antimicrobial ointments are simple yet important tools a CNA must use to avoid bigger issues. 
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE): Caring for wounds, infections and other ailments is a regular task for a CNA. Gowns, makes, gloves and other PPE make it safe for both CNA and their patients. 
  • Bedside commodes: Assisting in daily life help keep the dignity of the patient. Bedpans, chair frames and splash guards assist the CNA 
  • Communication devices: Cellphones, video conferencing tools, and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices, among other devices, help CNA maintain communication with their patients and the healthcare team. 
  • Medication administration tools: From simple pills splitters and crushers to more sophisticated automated medication dispensing systems, these tools help CNA administer the right medication accurately and safely. 

Certifications for CNA skills

To practice your CNA skills, you’ll need to complete a nursing assistant certification, as it is a requirement in most states. A Certified Nursing Assistant – Certified, or CNA-C, is an advanced certification allowing CNAs to perform additional duties. 

You can also pursue other certification to specialize your career. For example: 

  • Certified Nursing Assistant – Advanced (CNA-A)
  • Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA)

Additional certification to expand your scope of practice include: 

  • Home Health Aide (HHA)
  • Patient Care Technician (PCT)
  • Certified Medication Aide (CMA)

Always confirm with a potential employer which certifications are required for the role, as performing CNA duties without the adequate certification can result in legal implications. 

Key takeaways

  • CNA skills are the abilities to provide compassionate and competent care to patients while also working collaboratively with healthcare professionals to ensure the overall well-being and safety of patients.
  • Your resume will include CNA skills throughout the document. In the work experience section, showcase your soft skills, and highlight your hard skills in the CNA resume skills section.
  • Feature your strongest CNA skills on a resume headline. It’ll help introduce you to the hiring managers and give you an opening to showcase your expertise and stand out from other candidates.
  • Use action verbs in your work experience to show how you’ve used your CNA skills in previous roles. 
  • Continue to work on your CNA skills by training, seeking mentorship, and improving your interpersonal skills, as well as requesting feedback from your peers and supervisors. 

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