Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) help patients with their personal needs and assist doctors and other specialists during treatment. So to land a CNA role, you need to possess a balance of CNA hard and soft skills.
Below, we’ve compiled a CNA skills list that you can add to your CNA resume and CNA cover letter to ensure you stand out among other applicants.
Table of contents
- Hard CNA resume skills
- Soft CNA resume skills
- Where to list CNA skills on your resume
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Hard CNA skills to put on your resume
Hard skills are technical talents you learned in school, on the job, through certification programs, or professional training.
Employers may assume you’re good-natured and dedicated because you’re a nurse. But they also want to see hard proof that you have the experience to handle different situations and take care of patients’ needs with compassion.
A CNA resume should include the following nursing assistant skills:
1. Patient care
Patient care involves the diagnosis, control of illness, recovery, and maintenance of patients’ physical and mental well-being. As a nursing assistant, your job is to check that patients get the medication and treatment they need to recover quickly.
For example, you need to ensure the patient isn’t eating or drinking anything that may compromise an upcoming procedure like surgery.
Here are some patient care-related skills to include in your CNA resume:
- Prenatal care
- Geriatric care
- Home care
- Hospice care
- Maternal care
- Neonatal care
- Pediatric care
- Psychiatric care
2. Infection control
Infection control entails recognizing and controlling diseases to reduce their spread.
When a patient is admitted to a health facility, your job as a CNA is to document any existing infections and ensure infected patients are monitored for signs of improvement. You’re also responsible for cleaning and sterilizing areas to prevent the spread of the infection.
Infection control-related skills for your resume include:
- Cleaning and disinfection
- Dry sterile dressing application
- Equipment sterilization
- Isolation of infected patients
- Management of open wounds
- Transparent wound dressings
3. Safety and rehabilitation
Patient safety is another vital CNA clinical skill.
As a CNA, you must do everything possible to protect patients from falls, medication errors, infections, and other hazards that can hinder their rehabilitation.
You’ll also need to encourage the patient to take care of themselves and do all the workouts necessary for their recovery.
Other skills related to safety and rehabilitation to add to your CNA resume include:
- Bedside monitoring
- Managing medications
- Patient assessment
- Patient education
- Physical examination
4. Administrative skills
As a nursing assistant, you’ll have a mix of administrative tasks in addition to patient care.
These responsibilities include:
- Filing paperwork
- Delivering vital information
- Answering patients’ inquiries and responding to phone calls
- Scheduling doctor visits for patients and ensuring the patient
- Remaining compliant with regulations
Employers want to know that you won’t struggle with these responsibilities.
So including administrative skills in your resume proves to the hiring manager that you can stay organized and communicate effectively.
The CNA skills list below highlights other administrative-related skills:
- Computer skills
- Data entry
- Record keeping
5. Knowledge of medical terminology
As a nursing assistant, you often have to explain a doctor’s orders to patients who don’t understand them.
You should know basic medical terms to determine what types of illnesses or diseases a patient may have. This knowledge will help you understand how to assist in treatments and recognize symptoms that may develop with particular disorders.
Listed below are skills similar to knowledge of medical terminology to add to your resume:
- Family education
- Interpreting medical tests
- Making referrals to specialists
- Patients’ education
6. Proper hygiene
CNAs are around sick people often, so proper hygiene is a necessity to ensure the health of patients and prevent diseases from spreading.
Listing your knowledge of and commitment to appropriate hygiene on your resume is vital and shows employers that you take the fundamental necessities of your profession seriously.
Here are other proper hygiene-related skills to highlight in your resume:
- Cleaning and bathing immobile patients
- Dressing and changing patients
- Patient care
- Hand hygiene
- Personal protective equipment
- Sterilization and disinfection
7. Positioning, transferring, and moving patients
Patient handling and patient transfer are two other common nursing safety concerns. Patients may be unwell and unable to handle themselves when admitted, so you have to ensure they’re moved to the correct unit without complications.
Highlight your ability to position, transfer, and move patients by mentioning instances where you took on such responsibilities in past CNA roles.
Other skills related to positioning, transferring, and moving patients are:
- Patient monitoring
- Patient movement
- Surgery preparation
8. Recording vital signs and measurements
As a CNA, you need to offer basic care to patients like checking patients’ vital signs, taking their pulse and blood pressure readings, and performing other observational duties.
This list highlights skills related to recording vital signs and measurements:
- Electronic health records
- Lab testing
- Maintaining patient charts
- Monitoring vital signs
- Patient evaluation
- Record keeping
- Urine testing
9. Administering drugs
Being a nursing assistant, you should know how to give prescriptions and injections to patients. Because doctors spend little time with patients, you must ensure they take their drugs or are given the right drip at the right time and dosage.
Listed below are skills related to administering drugs to include in your CNA resume to prove you have the right CNA qualifications:
- Antibiotic therapy
- Assisting in surgery
- IV therapy
10. Proficiency in medical emergency equipment
As a CNA, you must be able to use a wide range of medical emergency equipment in the health facility, ranging from ventilators to jump-bags, trauma or spinal boards, ECG monitors, and incubators.
These skills are also related to medical emergency treatment:
- Blood glucose testing
- Care of gastrostomy tube
- First aid
- Lab testing
- Suctioning of the tracheostomy tube
Soft skills for CNA resumes
Soft skills are natural characteristics related to how the CNA interacts with patients and their families, colleagues, and administrators.
Below are some of the common CNA skills that employers look for in a resume:
11. Attention to detail
Working in a hospital is a high-risk job, as a tiny slip can cause harm to a person’s health or make several people ill. So having an acute attention to detail is an essential CNA skill.
Mention instances where you displayed attention to detail in your previous jobs to prove your point.
Here are other related skills if you’re a detail-oriented CNA:
- Ability to prioritize
- Analytical skills
- Observational skills
- Organizational skills
- Monitoring skills
12. Communication skills
As a CNA, you’ll need to explain medical concepts both verbally and in writing, to not just medical professionals but patients and their families as well.
These discussions may be complicated as most patients know little about medicine. So recruiters look for CNAs that have excellent communication skills.
Other communication-related skills to highlight in your CNA resume are:
- Active listening
- Instructing skills
- Leadership skills
- Management skills
- Patient education
- Verbal and written communication
13. Interpersonal skills
Also referred to as people skills, interpersonal skills relate to how a CNA connects with other people.
Having good interpersonal skills allows you to connect with patients and make them feel at ease — which has proven to help during treatment.
The following list includes interpersonal-related skills:
- Collaboration skills
- Customer service skills
CNAs have to take care of numerous patients and do several things simultaneously. They have to administer treatments to patients, move patients to and from the emergency ward, and provide feedback to doctors and other specialists.
Here are other skills closely related to multitasking:
- Coping with pressure
- Strong work ethic
- Time management skills
As an assisting nurse, you must demonstrate the ability to empathize with patients and show compassion when they’re uncomfortable.
You can highlight your knack for empathy in your resume by mentioning specific experiences where you displayed this trait in the workplace or were praised for being empathetic.
Other empathy-related CNA skills include:
Where to list CNA skills on your resume
Now that you know the desired nurse assistant skills to include in your resume, here’s how to write a resume showcasing these skills:
One of the best ways to make your resume is by filling out one of our free resume templates. All our templates are designed by experts and free to download for Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
1. Resume objective
A CNA resume objective is an eye-catching 2–4 sentence summary of your skills, professional experience, and achievements assisting patients and doctors.
A resume objective is often the first thing an employer sees on your resume and is an excellent opportunity to showcase your CNA skills.
An effective CNA resume objective includes your:
- years of experience
- summary of your top nursing assistant skills
- reason for applying as a CNA
Here are two examples of resume objectives that carefully highlight essential CNA skills:
An entry-level CNA's resume objective
Adaptable and compassionate certified assistant nurse with 1.5 years of experience looking to apply my skills in drawing blood, checking vital signs, and providing high-quality nursing assistance to patients in a fast-paced emergency setting. State Nurse Aid certified from the Kentucky Health Care Institute. Looking to leverage my skills and knowledge as a CNA for Lyerson Hospital’s Emergency ward.
An experienced CNA's resume objective
Dedicated CNA with 7+ years of experience from working in hospitals and nursing homes. Graduated from Pratt Community College. Seeking an opportunity to provide patient care, and apply skills in patient hygiene and pain management as a responsible CNA for St. Louis Hospital.
2. Skills section
The skills section of your resume shows employers that you have the right hard and soft skills for the role you’re applying for — those that suggest you know how to care for patients and assist doctors in a professional manner. Including the right mix of 3–9 CNA resume skills can help you out and increase your chances of receiving an interview.
Here are some relevant CNA skills for your resume:
Example of the skills section of a CNA resume
- Hospice care
- Infection control
- Chemotherapy administration
- Cardiac care
- Bedside monitoring
- Blood administration
- Assisting in surgery
3. Work experience section
Introduce your CNA skills to your work experience section when listing duties and responsibilities by showing how you applied those skills to help patients.
Be specific when explaining your CNA skills. Start your bullet points with powerful action verbs like “Oversaw” or “Assisted” when highlighting your skills to give the employer a visual picture of how you fit into the role.
Finally, use hard numbers to quantify those experiences. Details like the number of patients you helped, number of treatments you administered, or time worked are all ways to provide context to employers and showcase your CNA achievements.
Here are a few examples of how to successfully highlight your appropriate CNA skills in your work experience section:
Example of work experience bullet points from a CNA resume
- Oversaw 500+ patients’ conditions and informed the doctor of any changes or emergencies
- Assisted 130+ bedridden patients per month with basic comfort tasks like eating and bathing and helped nurse them back to health