Observation skills are very important for Certified Nursing Assistants. These help in providing quality care to the patients and also saving lives by allowing doctors to prepare a good treatment plan.
Certified Nursing Assistants spend the most amount of time with the patients irrespective of whether they are employed in a hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility. This makes this job very important in the health care industry. A well-trained CNA should be should be able to pick up clues early and prevent a symptom from getting worse. This is the reason observation skills are most important for this job. CNA training programs focus on developing this skill in the trainee. Good observation skills can help you offer better care to the patients and also improve your prospects in this challenging yet rewarding field of work.
What Are Observational Skills?
When we talk about observational skills, these can be divided into objective and subjective observation. Objective observation is usually factual which you would be able to see and measure. These include regularly monitoring vital signs of the patients where you need to monitor pulse rate, body temperature, blood pressure and respiration and take note of anything that is abnormal. These also include monitoring the input/output ratio, blood in urine, allergies and bruises. Subjective observations are what you cannot measure but what is often communicated by the patient such as conditions of headache, nausea, and stomach upset etc. These are signs that the patient may need immediate attention from a Registered Nurse or a doctor.
Traits of Good Observation Skills
- Having awareness regarding the condition of the patients and being able to differentiate between what is normal and what is abnormal. You need to have the knowledge of what to look for in a patient.
- Always watch for changes in a patient’s mood, physical movement, skin color etc. This is especially important for terminally ill patients who are unable to communicate their problems.
- Preparing proper flow sheets, notes, temperature graph and strictly adhere to the facility’s policies about documenting. Proper observation and documentation allows physicians and RNs to understand the progress and deterioration in a patient’s condition.
- Communicating your observations precisely to the RNs and doctor for them to take necessary actions. For instance don’t simply say that patient has temperature, you need to measure it and give the data for better treatment.
- Report abnormal signs and symptoms immediately without panicking. You should waste no time in case of an emergency.
Good observation skills can save the life of a patient and thus you should carefully observe the patient and ask for help from your seniors.