Certified Nursing Assistant 101 – Your Appearance

How you look plays a vital role in not only obtaining a job, but also how others view your importance and value while on the job. This is especially important when working as a certified nursing assistant. Since this profession requires intimate contact with patients and continual work with professional medical staff, your appearance is highly important. Although specific facilities may require different dress codes, the following information is universal amongst most, if not all, CNA positions.

Your Clothing

Much like any other nursing or doctor-related profession, certified nursing assistants are required to wear scrubs uniforms while on the clock. There are several important factors to consider when purchasing scrubs. The first, you’ll need to make sure scrubs are neither too tight or too loose. CNAs must be able to move around patients and medical equipment with ease. Therefore, scrubs that are too loose or too constricting may prevent fluid movements, or worse, you may get caught on a piece of equipment. Secondly, the color of your scrubs typically indicates the role you have within a particular facility. This is especially true in hospital settings. Consult with your manager, or human resources liaison, to determine what colors you’re allowed to wear.

Personal Hygiene

When working around illnesses and potentially life-threatening bacteria, your personal hygiene is of the utmost importance. Always make sure you’re freshly showered before arriving at work. This prevents accidental contamination of outside germs into the rooms of immune-depressed patients. On the same token, always cleanse yourself thoroughly at the end of a shift to prevent infecting others with bacteria or germs gathered throughout your work day. The easiest way to prevent germ transfer is to thoroughly wash your hands before tending to a patient and immediately afterwards. Also, avoid wearing strong scented deodorants, cologne or perfume. Patients, and other medical staff, may be sensitive to certain scents. Therefore, eliminate this potential workplace issue by using unscented cleaning products.


You’ll likely be working on tiled floors in almost every type of healthcare facility. The reason? Tile is easy to disinfect. Therefore, you must wear appropriate footwear to prevent accidental falls. Discuss footwear options with your manager, or refer to your employee handbook. Make sure to only wear sneakers that feature ultra-dense traction support for slippery surfaces. Aren’t sure where you begin your search? Talk with a friend or relative who works in the service industry as most restaurants require the same type of footwear. Of course, you may also inquire about different brands with your fellow CNAs or RNs.

Your Work Ethic as a Certified Nursing Assistant CNA

There are few things that are as important as a strong work ethic. Not only does this personality trait provide upper management with satisfaction, but in the high-paced world of CNAs thrive in, a good work ethic goes a long way. While the importance of a strong work ethic is universally known, what does this mean in the realm of a certified nursing assistant?

Patient-Centric World

While you may have to deal with strong co-worker personalities or intense workplace scenarios, you mustn’t ever forget you’re working to ease the pain and mental weight of patients. Therefore, the first building block for a strong CNA work ethic is to create a world that solely revolves around a patient. Even though you may be dealing with multiple patients everyday, each one must receive the utmost attention and care. Strive to ease patient suffering while preserving their quality of life and actively working to restore their health. When management reviews your work ethic, this is among the top categories they monitor.

Nursing Staff Support

At times, life as a certified nursing assistant may seem overwhelming. Throughout your workday you’ll be required to not only deal with demanding patients, but also tend to the needs of nursing staff. In fact, the importance of this work ethic element is in your job title – “nursing assistant.” Continually strive to provide fellow nursing staff with above-and-beyond support. Doing so has many benefits. Outside of receiving positive performance reviews, showcasing yourself as a true asset to nursing staff may lead to better scheduling options, more responsibilities and potentially a streamlined pathway to promotions.


Although the CNA certification is vital for success, your own personal level of reliability and accountability is paramount. As a certified nursing assistant, you should acknowledge and embrace your responsibilities for not only work-related matters, but also for personal behavior. For example, showcase your respect for the position and for others by always arriving several minutes early to work shifts, following established guidelines to the best of your ability and working to increase the productivity and effectiveness of your entire team, not just yourself.

Life as a certified nursing assistant is anything but predictable. While you may not be able to determine how your day will unfold, you can control how you interact throughout the forthcoming unknown scenarios. Adopting a stellar work ethic does much more than safeguard job security. It affects how patients are treated, and ultimately, rehabilitated.