In most states, you will be required to complete the training program for CNAs and take the certification exam before you will be given the chance to work as a certified nursing assistant.
Bear in mind that you have to study hard and pay close attention during your CNA studies. All the lectures and demonstrations should be memorized and practiced, because the CNA course is designed to get you ready for the examination and more importantly, for your future job as a CNA.
CNA exam: Written Portion
The CNA certification exam is basically divided in two parts and both of them should be taken in one day. The first part is a written examination. This type of exam will cover a lot of topics discussed during the CNA lectures and lab works. Most likely, the questions will be about patient care, charting and important lessons or skills that you learned while on the course.
The written examination will be multiple choice exam and you have to pass it as well. You will be given two hours in order to complete this test. In some testing centers, each student is required to complete this exam before they will be allowed to start taking the clinical skills test (CST), which is the second part of the certification exam.
CNA exam: Clinical Skills Test
The second part of the exam is the Clinical Skills Test. This is where you will demonstrate the necessary skills that a certified nursing assistant must have. Of course, it is not possible to demonstrate all the skills on the test. You have to complete it for around 5-6 different tasks. You will demonstrate the procedures on an actual person, who will act as your patient. Several test programs will require you to bring someone who can act as the patient during the CST.
It is vital to remember that whenever you are required to complete the task, you have to perform all the steps that you should ideally do in a clinical setting. For instance, if the procedure requires you to take blood pressure, you do not just walk over him and take the blood pressure. You have to demonstrate first your skills in washing hands prior to handling the patient.
Adding to that, you have to knock the patient’s door in order to inform him that you are about to enter his room. After that, introduce yourself and let the patient know about the procedure you are going to perform. For example, “Good Afternoon Mrs. Jones, my name is Jane, your nursing assistant for the day. I need a few minutes to take a reading on your blood pressure.”
Following the steps that are learned in the CNA classes is very important in order to pass the certification exam. Most of the students forget the basic steps when they are already in the exam proper. Basically, this is not difficult to do considering that you are not yet working in the clinical environment. Make sure you have also gone through our study materials for the Clinical Skills Performance Checklists, where you will also see videos of the most important skills.
Exam Tips for CNA Certification
Here are some of the things that you have to remember when taking the CNA exam. First, demonstrate to the instructor the proper washing of hands prior to patient interaction. This is something lot of people forget.
You also have to show them that you knock the patient’s door before going in to the room. In case there is no door in the testing room, you have to mention the examiner when you should knock. Always remember to introduce yourself properly to the patient and provide privacy. Close the curtain found in the room or you can mention during your demonstration.
Even if you are demonstrating on a model, you have to inform him of the procedures that you are going to do, just the same as you would with a real patient. For instance, let him know of your plan to reposition him in bed or dress him in order to be properly groomed for the entire day.
The side rail should be put up properly if you will move the patient in bed. This is to ensure the patient’s safety while providing care. After finishing the task, you have to put the side rails back down, unless the doctor orders you to put it in place for safety purposes.
If you are going to demonstrate grooming task, like brushing the patient’s hair or changing his clothes, you have to ask for the patient’s preference. For instance, ask about the particular clothes he would like to wear or the type of hairstyle that he prefers to have. You have to preserve the dignity of your patient and this should always be demonstrated in the certification exam.
The CNA exam will not be difficult as you think if you properly follow the procedures and pay attention during your studies. Try to review all the handouts given to you as well as the tests you took while on the training.
You should also bookmark this webpage for the later reference so you can come back to if once you are on your course to polish your skills prior to the exam!
Remember, it is always possible to retake the exam twice if you fail, so do not stress yourself too much the first time! Good luck!