As members of the healthcare industry, Certified Nurse Aides will be expected to uphold the standard code of ethics observed by all nurses nationwide. The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of more than 4 million of the nation’s registered nurses. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice that are recognized by majority of the nation’s healthcare professionals.

The Code of Ethics for Nurses Includes:

  • Respect for Human Dignity & Relationships with Patients

  • The Privacy of Patients’ Interests

  • The Protection of the Rights of Privacy and Confidentiality

  • A Nurse’s Authority, Accountability, and Responsibility to their Patients

  • The Preservation of Integrity and Wholeness of Character

  • The Responsibility for the Ethical Standard of the Healthcare Environment

  • The Continued Personal Contributions through Nursing & Health Policy Development

  • The Obligation to Advance Health and Human Rights

  • Integrating Social Justice in Nursing and Health Policy


CNA Limitations:

As a Certified Nurse Aide, you are under the continuous supervision of a registered nurse. This supervision allows you to perform your own tasks, as well as to observe your supervisor perform tasks suitable to their training and certification.

The healthcare industry is set up with the awareness that each healthcare member has a distinct role in regards to patient care. A doctor will diagnosis and create surgical plans, a surgeon will operate, a pharmacist will distribute medications, and a nurse will administer vaccinations, among many other things.

As a CNA you will have many tasks suitable for your training, some will include taking a patients vitals, dressing a patient, transferring a patient to other departments, and much more. You are not, however, authorized to remove tubes from a patient, offer diagnosis, or perform procedures that require sterile techniques. It is important that you are familiar with your limitations, but also very aware of the tasks going on around you. The healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the nation; job advancement is highly encouraged and often readily available to hardworking and knowledgable CNAs.

Check your state’s Department of Health to find out limitations.


Legal Aspects of Nursing

Abuse & Neglect

As the population ages, more healthcare professionals are administering to elderly patients. The National Center on Elder Abuse, directed by the U.S Department of Aging, is committed to helping facilities be fully prepared to ensure that elders live with dignity and without abuse. Abuse is not limited to the home life of a patient, but can also be determined from their healthcare experience.

Examples of abuse within the healthcare environment could include: unclean or unsafe living conditions, significant weight loss by a patient, missing equipment that would ensure a steady recovery, medication being poorly administered, and any form of bed sores that would confirm lack of care. If you do notice any of these signs notify your supervising nurse immediately. If these things go unlooked you could be held legally responsible.

Privacy Act

The Privacy Act (1974) regulates the collection, use, maintenance, and distribution of personally identifiable information about individuals that is kept in the record systems of federal agencies. This act has been described as a consumer protection act, prohibiting healthcare professionals from leaking patient information.

The Privacy Act can be further expanded to include social networking. Without a patient’s consent through the use of a HIPAA-compliant consent form it is illegal to share personal healthcare information.

It is important to be aware of the laws surrounding your profession, as they are extensive and ever-changing to adapt to the growth and scientific developments of the healthcare industry.

Malpractice

Malpractice is negligence, misconduct, or a breach of duty by a professional that results in injury/damage to a patient.

You can avoid the risk of being accused of malpractice by being in continuous communication with your patient, documenting everything, using all authorized equipment correctly, and following the standards of care listed by your care facility.


Reporting & Recording

Reporting is the oral account of care and observations. You report care and observations to the nurse when:

  • There is any change in condition

  • You leave for breaks or meals, and before the end of your shift

Tips for reporting:

  • Give person's full name, room number, and bed number

  • What you observed and time of observation

Tips for recording:

  • Always use ink

  • Always use your name and title

  • Use a patient’s full name and room number

  • Don't skip lines

  • Always make sure you’re recording the right patient

Recording Time:

You will most always record time in 24 hour clock/military time. To add what minute it is put the minutes where the 0's are: For example 4:32 p.m. would be 1632 in 24 hour clock/military time.


Nutrition and Fluids

Protein: It is the most important nutrient. It is needed for tissue growth and repair. Sources include: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products, cereals, beans, peas, and nuts.

Carbohydrates: It provides energy and fiber for bowel elimination.

Fats: It provides energy and they add flavor to food and help the body use certain vitamins.

Vitamins: These are needed for certain body functions. They don't provide calories. The body stores vitamins A, D, E & K.

Minerals: These are used for body processes needed for bone and teeth formation, nerve and muscle function, fluid balance, and other processes.

Water: It is essential for the body to operate, up to 60 percent of the human adult body is water.


Diets

Doctors may order special diets for patients.

  • Sodium Controlled - The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2300 mg a day, a sodium controlled diet measures sodium intake per patients needs.

  • Diabetes Meal Plan - The American Diabetes Association recommends measured diets that help to balance blood sugar.

  • Dysphaga Diet - The doctor, speech therapist, or occupational therapist chooses the right food thickness per patient. This is for someone who has difficulty swallowing.


Fluids

Adults need 1500ml of water daily to survive. About 2000 to 2500ml of fluid is needed for normal fluid balance.

  • Encourage Fluids - Increase amount of fluids.

  • Restrict Fluids - Fluids are limited to certain amount set by doctor.

  • Nothing by Mouth (NPO) - Person cannot eat or drink by mouth.

  • Thickened Liquids - All fluids are thickened, including water.


Professional Care

  • Always address patient by their last name, unless instructed.

  • Avoid the use pet names such as honey, sweetie, or grandma.

  • Set a professional standard of respect.

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