What is a CNA, otherwise called a Certified Nursing Assistant?

Certified nursing assistants or CNAs for short are those professionals that work in healthcare. They assist patients under the supervision of registered nurses (RN) or licensed practical nurses (LPN). 

What is a CNA’s function?

CNA Jobs are wide and full of variety. CNAs help their patients by: 

  • taking care of their personal hygiene
  • checking their vital signs
  • examining them for any injuries
  • serving them their meals
  • aiding them with reposition when they are bedridden
  • transporting them in their respective rooms in hospitals

These are just some of the CNA duties. There are a lot more. According to statistics, this profession will continue to grow and be in demand throughout the years.

How to find training as a CNA?

They mainly work in three job environments: home healthcare, nursing, and long-term care facilities and hospitals. 

In Home Health Care, a CNA only works with one patient. It is an intimate kind of work. Your patient is your responsibility. The schedule is flexible, which makes it not too difficult for you. But, the salary may be slightly lower than those of the other environments.

In a Nursing and Long-time Facility, you get to meet different kinds of people. The salary is good, and the CNA training and other  benefits are greater compared to the previous one, although the work can be tiring in nursing homes.

In Hospitals, CNAs are given a lot of opportunities. CNA hospital jobs are one of the most in-demand job environment because you get to work with a lot of healthcare professionals. Not only that, you get to learn more about the medical field through your experiences there. 

What is the CNA Exam ?

The CNA exam, which is also called as the CNA Competency Exam, will challenge your skills and abilities through its written test and practical test. It is advantageous to get a CNA Certification so you will be able to work in a clinical setting. It means that you get a lot more credibility in comparison to others. Being a CNA won’t require you to have a college degree. What is important is that you complete state-approved CNA programs or go to a CNA school and pass the CNA test to be certified.

How to become a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA)?

The CNA requirements differ from each state, but here are the general conditions that are mostly similar to all states:

  1. You need to complete a state-approved training program or CNA classes. It is usually completed at least four to sixteen weeks. You have to first check with the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or your state health’s agency on whether the training program or classes you have picked is accepted. These are also usually found in these places: Hospitals, Community Colleges, Vocational Schools, and Red Cross.
  2. You need to take the CNA state exam. The requirements to take it to differ in each state. You have to research about what you need to submit to be eligible. Most training programs will provide CNA practice tests for their students. The instructors may also help with finding and making appointments in testing centers.
  3. You need to get your CNA certification. Most states in the U.S. require that their candidates pass the certification exam to become a certified nursing assistant

How to get your CNA license?

  1. You must fill out your state application form, which can be accessed online. You can choose three different sites to access, depending on your state’s regulation. You can register at your state’s Board of Nursing website, Pearson VUE, or Prometric.
  2. You must submit your fingerprint so that they could run a criminal background check.
  3. You must also pay the fees for taking the exam. They differ from state to state. Note that the important thing is to search for your state’s requirements at its official website. 

Format and Content of the CNA Exam

What is the test type of the CNA exam?

The exam is divided into two tests: the written test and the clinical test. The former is usually done in multiple-choice type with at least 50 to 70 questions. You will be allowed two hours or 90 minutes to complete the written exam. The latter, on the other hand, is the practical part. You need to demonstrate your skills under the supervision of an instructor. You will be allowed between 25 to 45 minutes to perform the test CNA.

How did you study for your CNA written exam?

When you take the written CNA exam, there are so many things you need to take note of. The position requires you to learn a lot of things, that’s why it can be hard to study all of them. Three main domains are often found on the exam: Physical Care Skills, Psychosocial Care Skills, and the Role of the Nurse Aide. Also, the following categories are the content outline of the CNA examination 2019:

Category % of written CNA
Basic Nursing Skills and Safety/Emergency Procedures 39%
Personal Care Skills 14%
Mental Health and Social Services Needs 11%
Basic Restorative Services 8%
Communication and Interpersonal Skills 8%
Legal and Ethical Behaviours 8%
Resident’s Rights 7%
Care of Cognitively Impaired Residents 2%

What is on the practical
CNA skills test?

The purpose of the clinical test is that you’ll have to demonstrate your skills in the different scenarios that will be given to you. The instructor will supervise the test, so you must know what to do and make an impression. Here are some of the procedures that you need to know:

  • You need to show how to take blood pressure or any of the vital signs. This is one of the common skills of being a CNA.
  • You should know how to communicate and how to prioritize your patient.
  • You must be able to bathe and prepare the meal for your patient.
  • You need to make your patient feel comfortable and safe. 
  • You must be knowledgeable about infection control.
  • You must always demonstrate that you wash your hands. Otherwise, you’ll fail the CNA clinical test. 

CNA Scoring

What scores do you need to pass CNA exam?

Since the CNA skills test is divided into two parts, the scoring for each might differ. The passing score for the written exam and clinical exam actually varies depending on the state. But often some states require CNAs to get at least 70 to 75 percent, and others would be 80 percent. 

It is based on federal and state regulations and procedures so an advisory committee is the one who determines the CNA passing scores. You must visit the official website of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (www.ncsbn.org) to know about your state’s nurse aide registry.

Also, for the clinical exam, as much as possible, all of the procedures must be done with accuracy. You might be able to make corrections for any checkpoints that you missed during the test. But when you have already progressed to the next scenario or procedure, you won’t be able to correct the previous one that you did. You also have to ask instructions from your evaluator if ever you want to repeat any part of the practical test.

A Study Guide to Get Your CNA License

For the written CNA test questions:

Guide #1 You must read as thoroughly as you can and not rush it.

Since the written part is a multiple-choice type, you have to be careful when reading the question and the options. There are trick questions and answers that might confuse you, and if you rush too much, then you’ll risk choosing the wrong answers. 

Guide #2 You must choose the best answer.

The statement might seem redundant, but it is, in fact, not. An ideal answer doesn’t always have to be the right answer. You’ll encounter questions wherein all of the choices will seem like the right answer. So you’ll have to choose the most appropriate answer in the given situation.

Guide #3 If you don’t know the answer, eliminate those that you know are wrong.

Sometimes you won’t know what’s the correct answer so you’ll try to guess it. For it to be easier on you, you should eliminate those answers that are not right for the question until you are left with the most likely answer. 

For the clinical CNA test questions:

Guide #1: You should never forget the handwashing procedure.

One of the most basic skills that the supervisor would look for during the CNA practical skills test is handwashing. As a CNA, hygiene is an important factor when caring for a patient. So if you forget this simple task, it might cause you the exam.

Guide #2: You should familiarize the skills that will most likely be asked during the exam.

The clinical part usually requires you to show at least five skills. You have to perform it with a mannequin to demonstrate how you would do it to a patient. 

The skills that you have to do are things like how you can aid patients with mobility supports such as crutches, wheelchairs, etc. You must also show how you can communicate with people that require mental healthcare.

Guide #3: You should practice your CNA skills.

As they say, practice makes perfect. So keep in mind that for you to be successful during the exam, you should have the know-how of performing procedures. You should have skills such as the ability to help with personal care like bathing patients and the maintenance of a clean and hygienic environment.

The most important guide for the CNA state test: You should study smart and come prepared.

You won’t pass the exam without help. You need instructors to guide you, and you can even get study guides and free CNA practice tests. There are so many materials that can help you ace the test. From CNA books, CNA practice test quizlets, CNA practice exams, CNA study guides to CNA practice tests, you can use all of these to your advantage.  

Here are some sample questions from Exam Cram’s Certified Nursing Assistant to understand how vital  CNA practice skills test are: 

CNA Psychosocial Care Skills

1. Which of the following are two general goals for a.m. care?

            a. Remove soil and promote an increase in skin moisture.
            b. Promote relaxation of the resident and decrease need for mobility.
            c. Increase circulation and decrease incidence of pressure ulcers.
            d. Remove harmful bacteria and promote well-being.

2. The nurse hands the nurse assistant a tube of medication and asks her to apply it after she has completed the resident’s bath. Which of the following would be the nursing assistant’s best response?

            a.  “I will gladly apply the medication as soon as I dry the skin.”
            b.  “I don’t have the time to do your job and mine too.”
            c.  “As a nursing assistant, I can’t apply medication without a nurse present in the room.”
            d. “Applying medication is not part of my role as a nursing assistant.”

3. Which statement about taking an oral temperature is false?

            a. The thermometer is placed in the mouth under the tongue in the sublingual pocket.
            b. Wait 10 minutes if the resident has consumed any hot or cold liquids.
            c. The normal oral temperature is 96.6°F.
            d.Thermometer covers are used on all residents.

CNA Specialized Care

1.  How can the nursing assistant best ensure the safety of a resident who is legally blind?

            a. Keep the call light within easy reach.
            b. Keep an overhead light in front of the resident.
            c. Speak loudly when addressing the resident.
            d. When assisting residents to walk, stand in front of them and hold their hand to guide them.

2. Which of the following is the best way to communicate with a resident who is completely deaf?

           a. Speak loudly and clearly.
           b. Smile and turn on the television.
           c. Write out all communication.
           d. Sit next to the resident and speak into his or her ear.

3. Which of the following is not preventative care for a resident receiving oxygen therapy?

         a. Provide oral care more frequently.
         b. Provide the resident supervision while smoking.
         c. Encourage fluids.
         d. Provide careful skin care around nares.

Will being a CNA help me get into nursing school?

Yes. Most CNAs often pursue studies for LPN (licensed practical nurses) to expand their careers. For those CNAs, they must apply for a program that will get them their LPN certificate or diploma. This is offered in vocational schools and community colleges. The LPN programs usually last for a year. After completing the program, the CNAs turned LPN students must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN).

How hard is CNA training?

The CNA exam has two exams so it can be hard if there was no preparation at all. Luckily, there are CNA practice skills test, CNA practice test quizlet, CNA practice exam, and even a CNA free practice test with answers. All of these materials can help you understand the topics and lessons you have to focus on. The exam won’t be difficult if you have prepared enough like taking CNA prep exam. Good study habits and reliable materials can help you a long way in reviewing for the exam.  

What are reputable CNA pre-employment assessment tests?

It is advisable to use CNA practice tests to assess your knowledge. A CNA practice test is catered to simulate what the actual CNA exam is like. That’s why aspiring nursing assistants need to prepare and study for the exam. They have to make use of materials such as practice tests, quizlets, etc. to get a feel of what the exam would be like in actuality. 

What is the difference between a CNA and a CMA?

A CNA and a CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) can be quite similar, but there is a difference between the two. Medical assistants work more on collecting data about the patient’s assessment and evaluation, and assisting doctors while CNAs work in direct patient care.

What is the yearly income for a certified nursing assistant?

The average salary range of CNAs per hour is $15. The pay changes based on different factors such as the geographic location and the job environment. Also, in the U.S., they often have an annual salary of $27,510.

What should I bring at the testing center?

You should bring two forms of identification. One of them must be a picture I.D. You should also leave any of your personal items outside of the testing center. All of the materials for the exam will be provided for you.

How much is the CNA certification test?

Just like the requirements, the appropriate fees also vary from state to state. But on average, applicants usually pay $100.

Where can I take the nursing assistant certification exam?

If you are working for a hospital or a nursing facility, they are the ones who will help schedule an appointment for you to take the exam. But if you are taking a training program in a community college or vocational school, your instructors will help you set up a date and location for the CNA exam.

You can also apply for the CNA test yourself through the requirements given by your state. You will then schedule your preferred date and choose the testing center where you can take the exam.

What are the CNA exam dates?

The exam is offered throughout the year and in various CNA certification testing sites. All you need to do is look for a testing location and schedule your exam.  

How long does it take to become a CNA?

It depends on the place where you will get your training. But, the typical period would be at least two to twelve months. Some even take a few weeks. For you to become a CNA, you’ll have to go through three processes. The first one would be to enroll in CNA classes or programs. Secondly, you’ll have to take a practice test. Lastly, you’ll have to pass the CNA exam.  

Is becoming a CNA a bad decision?

No, it isn’t. It is one of the most fulfilling jobs. You can even get to pursue further studies by going to nursing school. You won’t need a high school diploma, and you’ll be able to contribute to society in a meaningful way.