6 Common CNA Mistakes to Avoid: A Comprehensive Guide

6 Common CNA Mistakes to Avoid: A Comprehensive Guide

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Are you a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in the U.S. or planning to become one? Do you want to become the best CNA in your workplace? Worried about making CNA mistakes and errors? 

In this article, you will learn more about the common CNA mistakes you must avoid and tips to avoid such CNA mistakes at your workplace.

Common CNA Mistakes to Avoid

Generally, a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) works closely with patients among the other workers in the healthcare team. As they work more with elder patients, CNAS needs to offer error-free patient care to all the patients under their care.

It is a good practice to adapt to providing error-free patient care from the time they start practicing as a Certified Nursing Assistant. Understandably, at times it is human nature to commit mistakes unknowingly. CNAs must be well equipped and skilled to be able to handle such situations bravely.

Here are some of the CNA mistakes that are commonly made by CNAs at their workplace. The CNA mistakes are as follows:

  • Improper Documentation or Charting.
  • Medication Errors.
  • Infection Issues.
  • Equipment Injuries.
  • Seeking Help Without the Right Information in Hand.
  • Patient Falls.


One of the most important duties of a CNA is to record and maintain patient records. CNAs are expected to record all the essential information related to the patient as it helps with diagnosis and learning about the patient’s history.

These records help members of the healthcare team to understand the patient’s health condition and the treatments they have undergone previously.


The next common CNA mistake generally committed by CNAs in the healthcare industry is medication error. From handing out the wrong prescription to a patient to dispensing the wrong dosage of medication can put the patient’s life at high risk.

As a CNA, you are expected to carry out your tasks with utmost concentration and accuracy to avoid any possible CNA mistakes from happening. Some of the possible medication errors are,

  • Handing out the wrong medications to patients.
  • Dispensing the wrong dosage of medications for patients.
  • Writing the wrong prescription order to the patient.


Next on the list of common CNA mistakes are problems related to infection and its prevention. As a CNA closely working with patients, especially aged patients, you are required to be very cautious about infections in patients under your care.

Some of the common infections you will have to handle and prevent as CNA are as follows:

  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Skin infections.
  • Respiratory infections.
  • Gastroenteritis.
  • Soft-tissue infections.

Some of the ways you can control infections in patients as CNAs are as follows:

  • Using personal protective equipment such as gloves, eyewear, and masks.
  • Hand hygiene.
  • Safe injection practices.
  • Sterilize devices and instruments regularly. 


Another common challenge for CNAs is equipment injury. It is the CNAs’ responsibility to maintain the safety of the patient whenever they are taken for check-ups and whenever equipment is being used on patients during check-ups.

A nurse educator plays a vital role in educating and ensuring that all the CNA students are well-trained and have gained knowledge about how equipment is being used. And also, their competency has to be documented as well.


At times certain mistakes may not threaten the patient’s life but might require immediate care requiring more attention than one person can give. As a CNA, in such situations, seek your coworker’s or your teammate’s help.

You must have enough information in hand to be able to brief the scenario to your teammate and seek help. You must be able to provide information such as:

  • Patient details such as name and age.
  • The medical condition of the patient.
  • Reason for admission to the hospital.

It is close to impossible for your coworker or medical team member to be able to assist or help you in such scenarios without proper information about the patient and the scenario.


Last but not least, the last on the list of common CNA mistakes is patient falls. As a part of your duty as a CNA, you will have to lift and move patients from one place to another whenever required.

Patients may accidentally fall when they attempt to get out of bed and move around on their own. As a CNA, you have to monitor patients at such times and assist them with any necessary movement.

The slightest fall can lead to serious injuries and may cause legal problems in the hospital. Certain fall injuries might cause serious issues and may also put the patient at high risk. 

Some of the serious issues that can be caused by fall injuries are:

  • Fractures in the arm, hip, wrist, and ankle.
  • Head injuries. 
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Fractures in the humerus or pelvis.

Now that you are aware of some of the common CNA mistakes, let’s now discuss some tips to avoid CNA mistakes.

Tips to Avoid CNA Mistakes

As a practicing CNA, it is advisable to do a good job by performing your CNA duties without any flaws or mistakes. Some of the tips to avoid CNA mistakes are as follows:

  • At your workplace, avoid distractions.
  • Provide patient care with utmost concentration and accuracy.
  • Seek help from the medical team whenever required.
  • Monitor patients closely and document their information regularly.
  • Practice offering error-free patient care from the time you start practicing as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
  • Know your patient and patient details well.
  • Go on rounds regularly. Make sure to be available whenever patients approach you for assistance.

Wrapping Up

As discussed above, CNAs need to avoid mistakes when they offer patient care in their workplace. Also, CNAs need to have the required skills to handle the situation when such mistakes and errors are made. It is a good practice to adapt to providing error-free patient care from the time you start practicing as a Certified Nursing Assistant.

If you are planning to take the CNA exam or know someone who is planning to become a CNA, make sure to refer to our free CNA practice test to help you prepare for the exam.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you avoid the top nursing errors?

Some of the tips to avoid top nursing errors are:

  • Get a good night’s sleep. Good sleep helps avoid committing mistakes at work.
  • Make sure not to leave the room with the patient’s bed raised even for a few seconds.
  • Make sure to check your shift change report both at the beginning and end of every shift. 
  • Go on rounds regularly.
  • Monitor patients closely.
  • Seek help from coworkers whenever required.

What are common mistakes in nursing documentation?

Some of the common mistakes in nursing documentation are:

  • Failure to record time, date, and sign the medical entry.
  • Lack of details regarding medications and treatments in the patient chart.
  • Incomplete or missing patient chart.
  • Bad handwriting.

How do you chart patients?

Here are ways to chart patient details:

  • Document to medical necessity.
  • Avoid usage of restricted abbreviations in patient charting.
  • Record patient care using standard medical terminologies.