Top Traits and Skills of Great CNAs

Melissa Mills
May 23, 2022
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If you asked five CNAs what makes them great on the job, most wouldn’t give a list of personal care skills. Instead, they’ll say things like, “I’m compassionate” or “I’m great at multitasking and working under pressure.” These traits and skills take a good CNA and turn them into a great one. 

Find out below if you have the top five traits and skills you’ll need to stand out in a crowd of new CNAs. 


CNAs are the eyes and ears of the nurse. You’ll be the first to notice a change in a resident’s skin or the signs of a new condition. Recognizing even the slightest change in a resident’s condition keeps them safe or can even save their life. 


Are you an excellent listener? Do you write well and communicate directly? These traits will help you excel when writing in medical records,  giving reports, or talking to residents and staff! 


Empathy helps you understand and feel what those you care for are going through. You’ll use empathy each time you communicate or listen to residents before making any care decisions. 


Waiting on a resident to walk to the dining room when you know putting them in a wheelchair would be quicker is one example of the patience you’ll need as a CNA. You’ll be busy and have many tasks to complete, but remaining calm under pressure will reduce your stress levels and help you get work done.


Prioritization & Time Management

Knowing how to prioritize all the tasks you are assigned in a shift is an art. Prioritization goes hand in hand with how you manage your time too. 

Time to Reflect

Take a few minutes to reflect on this list. Do you have some or all of these skills and traits? Maybe there is one area that needs more work than others. Do a personal inventory and then set a goal to work on one skill or trait for the next month. Setting small goals will help you achieve great things in no time!

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