Every CNA training class is unique, but there are some things that every nurse aide will experience during their instruction. Courses are designed to impart a certain set of skills and there is a base level of understanding required from all nurse aides. The requirements for instruction are set by the state department which regulates nursing in your location, and each state has its own set of unique parameters for training. Don’t be caught off guard; here’s a basic summary of what you can expect to encounter during your nurse assistant training.
1. Classroom Lecture
The first part of every journey to certification takes place in a classroom. All nurse aide trainees must be exposed to a minimum number of instruction hours before they are permitted to begin practicing their clinical skills and train in a healthcare facility. The amount of time you spend learning in the classroom will vary depending on the state you live in and the associated regulations. In some cases, less than 20 hours will be spent in the classroom before clinical rotations begin. For others, it may be 40 to 50 hours of instruction before coming close to a clinical setting. These classroom lectures will instruct trainees on the importance of patient rights, the basics of human anatomy, and the critical concepts of the medical techniques and procedures that CNAs perform throughout their day-to-day activities. This part of class will be important for the CNA certification test, as much of the knowledge covered will be revisited on the final test.
2. Clinical Rotation
Once trainees have been exposed to a basic minimum of instruction, clinical rotations will begin. This aspect of training is just as important, if not more so, than the classroom lecture. During clinical rotations, the nurse aide in training will gain experience with the nursing profession through exposure to real-life work settings. Under the supervision of a qualified nurse, students will take turns practicing their bedside manner and nursing techniques with real patients. Depending on where you have enrolled in training, this part of training may occur in a medical laboratory, with practice dummies, or at a real nursing home, with regular patients. This portion of training is extremely important for developing a professional expertise with medical equipment, laboratory machines, and sick patients. All of these things are critical to the job of a CNA, so take this portion seriously. The certification test also covers these clinical skills, and all trainees must perform job-related tasks during their certification examination.
3. Test Preparation / Review
The final step to completing your certification as a nurse aide is passing the state certification test. The test will be provided through your training program, unless your state specifies otherwise. In some cases, private test-providers are responsible for distributing the test, and you will have to register to take it. As the date of your exam approaches, the training program should provide you with review sessions and information about how to complete the training process. All CNAs have one year to take the test after completing their training, and there are three attempts allowed to pass both parts of the test. This means that there is no need to rush to take the test. It is important to be fully-prepared to pass, and taking enough time for test preparation is the best way to feel confident and excited about your future as a nurse aide.