The 3 C's of Professionalism Every CNA Should Know

Melissa Mills
May 25, 2022
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The director of nursing calls you to their office. They tell you they have concerns about your professionalism. Maybe you said something to a resident that came out wrong. Or, you were having a bad day at home, and you let the stress affect you at work. Whatever might have happened, you can fix it! 

Review the 3 C’s of professionalism - Communication, Collaboration, and Competency -  to get your work-life back on track. 


Communication matters! The tone and volume of your voice can show stress and frustration. How you move or hold your body and facial expressions can sometimes speak louder than your words. If you need to work on your communication skills, try these quick tips to correct things fast:

  • Control your tone by talking slowly and using a softer voice to avoid sounding aggressive.
  • Smile when you speak! This might sound a little cheesy, but smiling when you talk to others helps you sound and look happier and engaged. 
  • Choose your words carefully by slowing down, so you don’t blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. 
  • Avoid crossing your arms and slumping to show interest in the conversation. 
  • Listen attentively to show empathy and compassion.


Teamwork is at the heart of everything we do in healthcare. You’ll work with nurses, therapists, doctors, housekeepers, and dietary staff to provide holistic care to residents.  Use these quick tips to become a master of collaboration: 

  • Know your role and what is expected of you. Not knowing what you’re supposed to do each day can make it look like you’re not a team player. Read your job description or talk to your supervisor if you’re unsure what tasks you should complete each day. 
  • Avoid conflict if possible. It’s best practice to stay out of workplace drama at all costs.
  • Handle conflict directly and calmly if it does happen. Be sure to include a supervisor if you think the conflict might escalate. 
  • Thank your teammates when they help you. A simple “thank you” goes a long way!


It’s not enough to just do your assigned tasks for the day. Giving competent care means using logical thinking and accurate skills when completing each task. For example, you're not providing good care if you’re assigned to bathe a resident but don’t use soap or apply lotion afterward.  Check out these quick tips to improve the care you provide: 

  • Follow policies and procedures on the job.
  • Ask questions if you don’t understand an assignment. 
  • Speak up if you don’t know how to do a task given to you.
  • Be observant and report new signs or symptoms to the nurse right away.
  • Ask for additional training and complete your continuing education courses to stay updated on best practices.

Put the 3 C’s to Work

Starting a new job with brand new skills is challenging. But, the good news is that with practice, you’ll improve your skills and become more professional and successful in no time!

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