CNA Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It?

Looking for information on the acronym CNA? If so, you’re in the right place! Read on to discover our complete guide on the meaning of CNA.

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Whether you’re thinking about going to school to become a CNA or someone mentioned this acronym in conversation, and now you’re searching for its meaning — you’re in the right place. 

In this article, we’re exploring “CNA” to uncover what this acronym stands for, its meaning, and more. By the end of this post, you should better understand what “CNA” means and even feel comfortable using it in a sentence. Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

What Is the Definition of CNA?

The acronym CNA is most commonly defined as a certified nursing assistant. These certified nursing assistants (CNAs) assist registered nurses in caring for a patient. 

The activities of a CNA may include helping patients with activities of daily living or any healthcare needs assigned to them under the direct supervision of a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Nurse (RN).

Other common names that you may find regarding a CNA include:

  • Nurse’s aide
  • Patient Care Assistant (PCA)
  • Nursing Assistant

What Does a CNA Do?

So, what exactly does a certified nursing assistant do? CNAs can be an essential tool in maintaining a smooth-running unit; this can be doubly said for nurses who may have numerous medically complex patients.

Below we have compiled a shortlist of the wide array of responsibilities a CNA may have:

  • Re-stocking of supplies
  • Answering the various patient bells or calls
  • Bathing patients
  • Assistance in the clean up of bed linens and rooms
  • Dressing wounds of patients
  • Routine hygiene for patients; shaving, caring for nails, brushing teeth, or even combing the hair of patients
  • Helping patients with elimination
  • Assisting others in medical procedures
  • Recording the food intake of patients, as well as feeding and recording liquid intake
  • Obtain vital signs per the predetermined protocols

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this occupation should grow by as much as eight percent between 2022 and 2030. This may not sound like too much, but it is far faster than the average growth rate for jobs across the nation. 

Where Do CNAs Work?

As a certified nursing assistant, you may find yourself working in various healthcare facilities, ranging from adult day care centers and rehabilitation centers to long-term residential facilities. 

CNAs can also be found working in an inpatient hospital setting; rarely will you see a CNA working in clinical or outpatient office settings.

How Do You Become a CNA?

It is a fairly painless and speedy process to become a CNA, especially when compared to other careers in the healthcare industry. 

There is still a fair amount of work involved in becoming a certified nursing assistant. Still, the program takes less than a year to complete more often than not. This sole fact makes it one of the more appealing options for those who want to get into the medical field and do not have the degree required for most other positions. 

Below you will find the four steps and a brief description to help you become a CNA:

  • Obtain your high school diploma or General Education Diploma (GED): For most states in the U.S., the only prerequisite for entering a CNA training program is a GED or high school diploma.
  • Complete a CNA training program: Programs are typically found at local community colleges, vocational schools, technical schools, and even some high schools. 

The length of the program does vary from state to state. However, the minimum for most states is around 75 hours of classroom instruction and time spent shadowing trained healthcare professionals to get field experience. 

  • Finish all required in-person clinical training: Once you complete the required training program, you must complete an in-person clinical training session at a healthcare facility or hospital.
  • Lastly, pass a state-approved certified nursing assistant certification exam: This is the last step in your journey; once all your required training is complete, you must take a state-approved exam. 

The National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) is used by the majority of the United States, but some states have their own examinations. 

Examples of the Acronym CNA Used in a Sentence

Now that you know what CNA means, it’s time to practice using our word of the day in a sentence. Trying quizzing yourself to see how many sentences you can come up with on your own using CNA, or review our usage examples listed below:

After getting my CNA certification, I applied to the nursing home across the street.

Apparently, the average annual salary of a CNA is somewhere in the ballpark of $35,000.

Thankfully, you don’t need to endure the many years of schooling that are required to get a nursing degree when you’re looking to become a CNA.

As with many medical licenses, continuing education is required to keep your CNA certificate in good standing.

If you enjoy working in healthcare settings, you should consider becoming a CNA!

Taking blood pressure is just one of many of my CNA duties.


The abbreviation CNA stands for certified nursing assistant. 

If you don’t necessarily want all the responsibilities of a doctor but are searching for a meaningful career in the medical industry, a CNA might be a good option for you.  


  1. CNA | Cambridge English Dictionary
  2. Nursing Assistants and Orderlies: Occupational Outlook Handbook | BLS
  3. NNAAP Exam | NCSBN