Skills for Success – Essential Qualities for a CNA 

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Skills for Success – Essential Qualities for a CNA 

Being a Certified Nursing Assistant may seem simple, but it takes a person with special qualities to be successful in this field. Working with people in need of care, especially when dementia is part of the equation, presents many challenges. The best CNAs, who have a true passion for the work that they do, move through these challenges with patience and understanding, which results in top-level care for their clients. When considering this career path, take the time to self-reflect and consider the following qualities which are essential for a successful career as a CNA. 

  • Empathy is one of the most important characteristics of a CNA. Can you imagine yourself as the client, and treat your client as you would wish to be treated should you be in need of care? 
  • Patience is necessary, both for the client’s sake and for self-care. When working with clients, it’s important to be prepared for everyday activities to take a bit longer than usual. Also, if working with clients with dementia or Alzheimer’s, patience is essential, both for moving through each step of the day with intention, and for handling the repetition that comes with these diseases. 
  • Compassion brings the desire to care for others to the forefront. When you’re performing work that you truly wish to be doing, it shines through and both you and your client will benefit! 
  • Strong Communication Skills are necessary, first for listening to your client so that you can fully understand their needs and wishes, and then for communicating those needs clearly to other members of the care team. Care team members may include family members, doctors, nurses, fellow CNAs, and other healthcare professionals.  
  • Integrity ensures that as you are caring for your client, you have their best interest at heart, and will not only have the strong moral principles necessary to be such an integral part of another person’s care team, but that you’re also able to speak up if or when you notice something that is not quite right. 
  • Organization & Attention to Detail keep CNAs focused as they follow client schedules for everything from mealtimes and medications to appointments and social activities. Organization is also applicable in keeping the residence clean and safe for your client. When working with a client with dementia, organization and attention to detail is especially important, both for safety and for keeping your client calm, as a structured day is the best course of action for this population. 
  • Problem Solving helps CNAs move through the frequent changes that this career presents. Strong problem-solving skills allow CNAs to quickly assess how best to meet the needs of multiple clients, how to calm a client down should they become upset or agitated, how to react in case of a medical emergency, and much more. 
  • Physical Strength & Stamina are essential as typically, CNAs typically spend much of their workday on their feet and will often need the physical strength to transfer clients and to help with personal care. Mental stamina will keep you alert so that the client receives quality care at all times. 


If you see these qualities in yourself, becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant may be a great career path for you! To learn more, reach out to a school such as CompassCare Institute of Caregiving. We’re here to answer your questions, and to support you in success! 

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