What You Need to Know About the CNA Exam

September 16, 2013 in Medical Careers

Student Studying

Want to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA)? That’s great, especially since, according to the US Department of Labor, nursing trends show that the demand for CNAs will continue to increase through 2016.

It might be good news to learn that becoming a certified nursing assistant only requires a high school diploma (or equivalent) and a nursing assistant certificate but the truth is that no one can enter into this profession legally without successfully passing the CNA exam.

Before an individual can consider themselves a certified nursing assistant, they’ll need to have that certificate and that means acing the CNA exam. This is mandatory by law. It is important for aspiring certified nursing assistants to research the specific requirements/instructions for taking this exam according to the state they plan on practicing in.

It Is a 2-Part Test

Unlike traditional standardized tests like the SAT, the CNA exam only has two parts: written or oral and a hands-on skills portion.

The Written/Oral Exam

What many people don’t know is that the CNA exam varies from state to state. This is why the first part of the test is referred to as the written or oral exam. It is up to the state where the person is hoping to receive their certification to determine which version they’ll receive.

It is important to visit the official website of the state’s nursing board to find this information. Once you know whether the first portion of the exam will be written or oral, it will make it much easier to study and prepare. For the written version, students must know how to explain vital medical concepts and procedures in writing. For the oral version, students must know how to use their words to clearly and articulately explain various medical concepts and procedures.

Regardless of which version will be given, students must make sure to take tedious and well organized notes throughout the duration of their CNA training program. Everything needed to pass the exam will be covered and discussed in the program so from day 1 students should dedicate themselves to getting the most they can out of the training by taking extensive notes, which they can use later on to prepare and study.

The Skills Portion

This is the hands-on part of the test where the student will be required to interact with an actual patient. Under the observation of an evaluator, the student will be given specific tasks to perform. As the person is undertaking and completing these tasks, the evaluator will pay close attention to actions, communication, whether the person is following proper procedures, etc.

Such skills may include but are not limited to: taking a patient’s blood pressure, feeding, relocating a patient from one place to another, preparing and changing out patient beds and communicating with the patient as to what actions/activities they are performing and why.

There are 25 skills total and the exam itself may only call for 5 specific ones to be performed. So it is crucial to pay attention to the in-class demonstrations and practice the skills on friends and family members at home.

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