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Essential Interpersonal Skills All CNAs Must Master


The ability to express yourself verbally and non-verbally is an essential skill for any healthcare professional. This truth carries additional weight for certified nursing assistants. While registered nurses and physicians must closely interact with patients and other medical team members, few engage with patients on such an intimate level as CNAs. Because of this, aspiring certified nursing assistants must strive to master several essential interpersonal communication skills to ensure patients are kept happy and co-workers are continually informed and treated with respect.

Essential Interpersonal Communication Skills
(1) Empathy – As a certified nursing assistant, you must interact with patients not in a sympathetic manner, but rather with empathy. From the patient’s point of view, sympathy means you feel sorry for them. While this may be true, empathy shows you’re willingness to meet them in their current state with full respect and understanding.

(2) Conflict Resolution – This skill set is valuable when dealing with patients and with other medical staff. As a certified nursing assistant, you’ll encounter a myriad of scenarios where you must quickly bring resolution to a current or rising conflict. With high emotions from patients and nursing staff, strong conflict resolution skills may prevent a host of negative circumstances.

(3) Assertiveness – Although certified nursing assistants must be compassionate and caring, they must simultaneously contain a strong assertive attitude. When dealing with patients, assertiveness is essential to swiftly negotiate when they’re being difficult. With co-workers, assertiveness demonstrates your confidence in your training and ability; however, you must simultaneously establish flexibility and compromise to prevent being stubborn and unwavering.

(4) Anger Management – When dealing with difficult patients or co-workers, it’s easy to become angry; especially toward the end of a 12-hour shift. In order to succeed in this position, you must learn how to manage and navigate your anger. While silencing your anger will do nothing but add fuel to the fire, discovering constructive avenues where your anger may be released is essential.

(5) Problem Solving – This may be one of the most important interpersonal skills a certified nursing assistant may obtain. As your problem solving skills increase, so does your value within a medical team. In the unknown world of patient care, you must be able to quickly solve problems without causing further harm or injury. When part of a medical team, those with strong problem solving skills are among the most desirable to work with. Therefore, increasing this interpersonal skill may increase job security even your salary.

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