Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA)

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Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA)

What is a Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA)?

A Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA) is a healthcare professional who specializes in providing care and support to elderly patients. GNAs work under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs) in various healthcare settings, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, long-term care facilities, and hospitals.

What are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Geriatric Nursing Assistant?

  1. Basic Patient Care: GNAs assist elderly patients with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting, and feeding.
  2. Mobility Assistance: GNAs help patients with mobility tasks, such as transferring from a bed to a chair, repositioning in bed, and assisting with walking or ambulation.
  3. Medication Assistance: GNAs may assist with administering medications, as directed by a nurse or other healthcare provider, depending on the scope of practice allowed by the state.
  4. Vital Signs Monitoring: GNAs monitor and record patients’ vital signs, such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiration rate.
  5. Emotional Support: GNAs provide emotional support and companionship to elderly patients, helping them maintain their emotional well-being and sense of dignity.
  6. Patient Safety and Comfort: GNAs maintain a clean, safe, and comfortable environment for elderly patients, ensuring that they are free from hazards and potential sources of harm.
  7. Infection Control: GNAs follow strict infection control protocols to prevent the spread of infections among patients and staff.
  8. Nutrition and Hydration: GNAs monitor patients’ nutritional and hydration needs and assist with feeding and providing fluids, as needed.
  9. Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care: GNAs may receive specialized training in caring for patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, as these conditions are more common among the elderly population.

Communication and Collaboration

GNAs must effectively communicate with other healthcare professionals, such as nurses and physicians, to ensure patients receive appropriate care. They also provide updates on patients’ conditions and relay any concerns to the healthcare team.

Work Settings

GNAs work in various healthcare settings, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, long-term care facilities, and hospitals. Their work may be physically demanding, requiring them to be on their feet for extended periods and to lift or move patients.


To become a GNA, individuals first need to complete a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training program and obtain their CNA certification. Following this, they must complete additional geriatric-specific training, which may include classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience. After completing the required training, individuals must pass a state-administered certification exam to become a GNA.

Continuing Education

GNAs may need to complete continuing education courses or participate in training workshops to maintain their skills and certifications.

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