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Published on May 16, 2023

The Character Required for Working as a Nursing Assistant: 4 Challenges Faced

The healthcare industry is a highly challenging but rewarding field. It has surged significantly over the years and positively impacted the lives of billions of people. Working as a nursing assistant in the healthcare industry is a demanding job. However, it is fulfilling and highly rewarding. 

Working as a nursing assistant requires unique personality traits and a set of skills. A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), another name for a nursing assistant, provides vital assistance and care to patients supervised by licensed nurses. 

CNAs help patients with ADLs (activities of daily living), like eating, dressing, and clothing. To become a certified assistant nurse, one must study and pass the CNA exams. Many people take a practice test for CNA written exam to increase their chances of making it. You can take your CNA practice test a few times before the exam to help you earn your certificate without stress. 

However, certification is not the only thing required to be a successful nursing assistant. To succeed in this field, you must have characteristics that will help you provide premium quality care to your patients. Here are some vital traits required to work as a nursing assistant:

Characters Required to Work as a Nursing Assistant


One of the most important characteristics you need to work as a nursing assistant is compassion. Nursing assistants deal with patients who are in pain, sick, and vulnerable. Most of these people will get under your skin unintentionally. 

As a nursing assistant, you must show understanding and empathy toward the people you are caring for. You must learn to make them feel comfortable, safe, and cared for. Taking care of your patient and showing compassion are a few of the factors needed to get through the CNA exams.

The good news is there are free CNA practice tests that you can access online. You can take your CNA practice test in the comfort of your home. During the exam, it will help to show compassion when choosing an answer. 

Many patients are usually away from their families and home. The compassion you show them can give them the support and comfort they need to overcome difficult situations. They need all the tender love and care they can get during their stay in the hospital. 


Patience is another crucial characteristic every nursing assistant should have. Patience is highly needed to work and excel in the medical field. Patients usually have different requirements and needs, and meeting all their unique needs can be challenging. 

As a nursing assistant, you must be patient and remain calm with those who require more attention and time. You will even get to meet some troublesome patients, but how you handle them is what matters the most. 

You must learn to overlook some of the things they do and give them the support they need. Interestingly, these are not traits you will learn from taking a free CNA practice test or writing the main CNA exam. Patience is a trait you need to develop regardless of the industry you work in. 

Good Communication Skills

Good communication skills are one of the most essential traits every employee should have, regardless of the industry or organization they work in. Excellent communication skill is a must-have for a nursing assistant. 

As mentioned earlier, nursing assistants encounter many patients daily. These patients are from different backgrounds, ethnic groups, and belief systems. In addition, not all are educated. As such, nursing assistants must learn to communicate clearly with patients, their relatives, and co-workers. 

Good listening skill is also necessary, as you would have to listen to your patients to understand their needs and concerns. Good communication skills can help nursing assistants build better relationships with their patients, provide better care, and gain trust. 

Attention to Details

Attention to detail is another essential trait nursing assistants should have. The job of a nursing assistant also includes observing and documenting changes in a patient’s condition. They also have to monitor critical signs and adhere to the treatment plan as recommended

Nursing assistants must learn to pay attention to details to ensure accuracy and precision. This will help them spot and prevent potential problems before they escalate into more severe issues. 


Nursing assistants usually do not work alone. They work with other healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, and therapists. Hence, being a good team player is a must-have skill if you want to be a nursing assistant. 

As a nursing assistant, you should be able to work with other nursing assistants to provide comprehensive patient care. 


Nursing assistants are usually not tied to just one workplace. They can transfer you from one hospital to another or even a geographical location. Flexibility is an important trait for nursing assistants, as many changes occur in this career path. 

Besides environmental changes, there can be changes in patient needs and schedules. As such, you must be built to adapt to those changes. You should also be able to adjust to patients’ treatment plans and conditions.

Nursing assistants work different shifts, including holidays and weekends. The job involves a lot of sacrifices, but it is highly rewarding. So, you must be able to work during holidays, weekends, and multiple shifts. 

Challenges Faced by Nursing Assistants

Here are some of the challenges nursing assistants face regularly:

  • Physical Demands: Nursing assistant jobs are physically demanding. They spend most of their working hours on their feet conducting medical procedures and helping patients with ADLs. The job also involves carrying and moving patients safely.
  • Emotional Demands: Nursing assistant jobs are also emotionally demanding. You will deal with patients in pain, sick, and sometimes severely ill. You must be compassionate and empathetic towards your patients, regardless of how challenging the situation is. 
  • Mental Demands: Staying alert and focused while on duty is another challenge many nursing assistants face. It is mentally demanding because you are required to adapt to changes in the patient’s condition quickly. 
  • Dealing with Difficult Patients: Some patients can be difficult to deal with. Patients with mental illness, dementia, or behavioral issues are often challenging to handle. Nursing assistants must be patient and communicate effectively to help these patients overcome their situations. 


To work as a nursing assistant, you need unique skills and character. You must be patient and compassionate, communicate effectively, be a team player, and pay attention to detail to excel in this field. Having these traits will help you overcome all the challenges associated with this job. 

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