October 7, 2015

What is a Certified Nurse Assistant

The Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) is a member of the healthcare team and performs basic direct patient care. The duties of the CNA are many and are usually performed under the supervision of the registered nurse. Nurse Assistants may become certified by taking a certification examination that is offered by the state in which they will practice. Classes are often offered at medical facilities at no charge when the individual agrees to work there for a length of time. Other courses may be offered at community colleges. There is a great need for skilled CNAs and the demand will continue to grow as the population ages.

Certified Nurses Assistants, or CNAs, perform basic care to patients in a wide variety of settings. CNAs may work in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospice facilities and in the individual homes of their patients. They may work with any age of individual from newborn to the very elderly performing patient care.

The duties performed by the CNA vary from state to state. CNAs almost always provide care to their patients under the supervision of a registered nurse. Some CNAs are able to take additional course work to allow them to administer some medications to patients, but medication administration is not usually one of the designated responsibilities of the CNA. All CNAs provide basic patient care to patients which may include helping the patient to bathe and dress. CNAs also help patients with feeding, either by helping to prepare meals in the home or by feeding patients that are not able to feed themselves. They also help with personal care when necessary. Helping patients with movement, including range of motion exercises, transferring from bed to chair and vice versa and assisting with walking are all in the scope of care of the Certified Nurse Assistant.

CNAs must take and pass a state examination before being allowed to use the title of CNA. Each state has various requirements for eligibility to take the CNA examination, but most require some coursework and clinical experience. The CNA test is given in a wide variety of locations, usually in or near the place of employment or study, and includes both a written portion and clinical demonstration portion. Nurse assistants are expected to know twenty-five different clinical skills and are tested on five at random during the CNA exam.

Many employers offer free training for those interested in becoming a CNA. It is important to understand the contractual obligations that may be required with this type of training, often requiring the individual to work for a certain length of time at that facility. Failure to comply with the contract may result in legal or financial consequences. Those wanting to attend training should make sure this is a facility in which they would want to work for a given length of time before signing any agreements.

There is a great need for skilled and trained CNAs and the job field is growing. As the population ages there continues to be a greater need for CNAs to provide care in many different areas, particularly in nursing homes and hospitals.

The Certified Nurse Assistant exam is given to those individuals that have taken some amount of coursework and understand the clinical requirements necessary to become a CNA. The duties of the CNA include providing direct care to patients in a variety of settings while under the supervision of a registered nurse. There continues to be a great demand for CNAs in many areas of healthcare.

Benefits of Becoming a CNA

The Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) is an important member of the health care team and provides direct care to patients in many different areas of medicine. There are many benefits to becoming a CNA, including a higher rate of pay than personal care assistants. CNAs may also have an advantage in being admitted to nursing schools and have the advantage of understanding the needs of patients at the most basic level. The CNA is also able to develop a more personal relationship with patients than many others in the medical field. The CNA is a valuable asset to the medical community and to healthcare as a whole.

After taking the CNA exam, the Certified Nurse Assistant is qualified to begin working with patients in direct care. They may work in many different areas of healthcare including hospitals, nursing homes, hospice facilities, assisted living facilities, group home and in private homes. The care provided to patients is similar no matter where the CNA is employed. They provide basic care in the activities of daily living for patients. This may include bathing, feeding, dressing, personal care and mobility.

CNAs are paid a higher wage than those employed as personal care workers or aides. While they may perform similar roles, the CNA has proven that she has acquired the level of skill necessary for certification. The CNA must take and pass a written exam and a clinical skills demonstration before being eligible for certification, and as such, they are paid a higher wage than their non-certified peers.

An additional benefit to choosing to become a CNA includes priority admission to many nursing schools. While they still need to meet other prerequisite requirements, CNAs are often given some priority upon admission to nursing school than to those that have not worked as a CNA. Nursing schools appreciate that CNAs have experience in direct patient care and understand that when they do become registered nurses, they will understand the needs of the CNAs whom they supervise.

Because of the personal care that CNAs provide, they are able to develop closer relationships with patients than other members of the healthcare community. While CNAs have a difficult workload and are often expected to perform a considerable amount of work, they are able to provide a caring touch to those that need it. Patients appreciate the care and comfort provided by the CNA and often think very highly of them. The ability of the CNA to provide this type of care helps to provide greater patient satisfaction across the healthcare system.

The Certified Nurse Assistant is an important member of the healthcare team and provides direct patient care. CNAs have taken and passed the CNA exam given by their state and have demonstrated an ability to understand and perform patient care duties. Through their personal care, they are able to develop closer relationships with patients than other members of the healthcare team. They also receive a higher wage than non-certified aides and may be given some priority if they wish to attend nursing school at a later time. The benefits to becoming a CNA are many, and the CNA is a critically important member of the healthcare community.

Requirements for taking the CNA exam

The CNA exam is given to qualified nurse assistants by the state nursing boards in the state in which he or she is employed. The exam can be taken after a short course in nurse assisting which varies by location. Courses can be as short as two weeks or as long as three months depending on where the CNA decides to train. States may have age limitations and candidates must pass a background check and have no felonies to be eligible to apply to be certified. CNAs must demonstrate understanding of the role of the CNA and must also demonstrate clinical skills to the administrator of the test in order to pass the CNA exam. As the healthcare field continues to grow, the need for trained CNAs is great.

The CNA exam is taken in a wide variety of locations depending on the location of the candidate. The exam may be given in or near the place of employment or training and includes both multiple choice testing and clinical skill testing. Nurse assistants must take a course in nurse assisting to qualify to take the examination. Many employers offer training as a part of employment, but usually require an agreement to work with the facility for a minimum length of time. Depending on state regulations, training may be as short as two weeks. A minimum number of classroom hours are required and a minimum amount of clinical time is also required for candidates. The amount of training varies from states to state. Training that is given through employers tends to be shorter as the facility would like to get their new employees working as quickly as possible. Training taken through community colleges or formal learning centers tends to be longer and can be as long as a three month course.

Most states require CNAs to be at least sixteen years of age in order to be eligible to obtain certification. Some states require individuals to be at least eighteen. All states require candidates to pass a background check, ensuring that the candidate has no prior felonies. States also check to ensure candidates have never had problems abusing children or elders, and are disqualified if such problems are found. Becoming a CNA requires individuals to be forthright as they care for some of the most fragile members of society.

The CNA examination tests the candidate’s knowledge of basic patient care. Most consider the multiple choice portion of the test to be fairly straightforward and common sense in its approach. Practicing with study guides may help the candidate to feel more comfortable with the testing procedure. The clinical portion of the exam asks the candidate to demonstrate on a live person five of the twenty-five tasks that are considered essential for the nurse assistant. The candidate must accurately demonstrate each skill to the test administrator to pass the CNA test.

CNAs are a valuable asset to the healthcare community and the job prospects are excellent. As the population continues to age, CNAs continue to be in high demand in many areas of healthcare. Requirements to be a CNA are minimal and are usually only age based. Candidates go through a short training program on their way to becoming a CNA and take a test administered by the state board of nursing. Once the CNA exam has been passed, the candidate can use the title of CNA and may work in many different areas of healthcare.

Studying for the CNA exam

Studying for the CNA examCandidates that wish to take the Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) exam should prepare extensively before attempting the test. After finishing CNA training, individuals are required to take the CNA test that is given by the state where the candidate will work. The exam is given in two parts—one part that tests the knowledge of the candidate in a multiple choice format and another part that tests the clinical skill of the candidate. Each portion of the exam merits its own preparation time. It can be beneficial to those seeking certification to take practice exams to prepare for the nature of the test as well as for the test content. Candidates should also practice their clinical skills on friends and family before attempting to take the scored clinical portion of the test. Putting in the study time for the CNA exam can help the potential nurse assistant to successfully pass the test.

The CNA test is given in two parts. Part one of the exam is given in multiple choice format and covers much of the classroom book knowledge that is required of the Certified Nurse Assistant. There are many areas that are covered on the examination including documentation, universal precautions and basic vital signs. The nurse assistant candidate should have a good understanding of all of these subjects to ensure a passing score on the written portion of the exam. Taking practice exams can help the candidate to not only understand what kinds of questions will be on the exam, but also to help them with the nature of the exam and how to pace themselves through the questions. Most CNAs report that the written portion of the examination covers things that are mostly common sense in health care, and the most difficult part of the written portion is understanding the format of the test itself.

The second portion of the CNA exam is the clinical skills portion. In this part of the test, the CNA candidate is asked to perform five clinical skills on a live person in front of the test administrator. The candidate is scored on their ability to perform the skill safely and correctly. There are twenty-five different skills taught to CNA students during their course work, and any of these may be tested on the CNA exam. The five skills that are tested are chosen randomly by the test administrator and may be from any of the twenty-five. Skills include bathing, transferring, documentation, oral care, feeding, clothing and range of motion exercises. Practice of all of the required skills is essential, and CNA candidates should take every opportunity possible to practice the required skills before the day of the test. While none of the skills are difficult to perform in and of themselves, nerves tend to play a role during the test and even the easiest of tasks can seem insurmountable under the pressure of testing. Practicing the skills as often as possible will help the CNA candidate to become proficient and confident in their ability to perform the skills correctly and safely during the test.

The CNA examination is given in a two part process with the first portion being written and the second being a clinical skills demonstration. Taking the time to study for the two parts of the CNA exam can help the nurse assistant to feel confident in their ability to pass the examination the first time.

Taking the CNA exam

The Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) exam can be taken by individuals that have participated in nurse assistant training and want to qualify to become a CNA. The examination is given in two parts and covers general nurse assistant duties as well as clinical skill performance. Fees for the examination vary by state, as do the requirements for eligibility to become a CNA. The CNA exam is given one on one with a representative of the state board that certifies nurse assistants. It can be beneficial for the CNA candidate to practice taking the exam and have an understanding of the clinical skills that are required for successful completion of the test.

The CNA exam is a two part examination that is given by individual states. CNAs are usually certified through the state board of nursing in the state where they wish to work. CNAs can obtain certification in more than one state, and they would need to check the state requirement if this is what they are interested in pursuing. Each state sets its own requirements, including fees, for the CNA test.

The first portion of the CNA exam is given in a multiple choice format that tests the candidate’s understanding of basic nurse assistant concepts. Areas that may be covered include hand washing and universal precautions, vital signs and documentation.

The second portion of the examination is clinical in nature and requires the candidate to demonstrate five of the twenty-five skills that are required of all nurse assistants. Candidates usually demonstrate their skills on a person in front of the test administrator. The CNA candidate should be able to perform all of the required skills even though only five will be tested. As any of the five could be chosen, it is important that the nurse assistant have the full skill necessary to perform any and all of the necessary procedures.

Skills that might be included in the clinical portion of the exam include basic nurse assistant duties such as hand washing, bed making and vital signs. Other skills may include application of elastic stockings, ambulation or transfer assistance using a transfer belt, assisting patients with the use of a bedpan, cleaning dentures and oral care, putting on and removal of gown and gloves, dressing patients with a weak side, feeding patients, giving bed baths or assisting with bathing, measuring and recording urinary output, performing passive range of motion exercises, positioning clients in bed, providing catheter and perineal care and providing fingernail care. The skills are chosen at random by the test administrator and will be performed in front of the person giving the test on a real person. Candidates should practice all of these skills many times before taking the CNA exam.

The CNA examination is given to those individuals that have completed nurse assistant training before they are allowed to work with patients using the title of CNA. The test is given by the state, usually the state board of nursing where the candidate will work, and is given in two parts. The first part tests basic knowledge that the CNA needs to perform her job duties. The second portion is clinical and tests the clinical skills that the CNA candidate has learned during her training. Passing the CNA test is required in order to use the title of Certified Nurse Assistant.

Video Review