There are many professions in which great dedication is needed even in the most basic form. When it comes to nursing, the CNA is just that, the bottom rung on the nursing ladder. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, they perform tasks set upon by their superiors, and as the title indicates, those duties are invariably in the supporting role, like tending to patient hygiene (such as cleaning wounds or bathing) and giving patients physical assistance if requested. Although the duties of a CNA may seem pale in comparison to other nurses, certification still requires a fair bit of diligence from a particular kind of person with the appropriate temperament.
As with any exam, study and practice is an imperative prerequisite to passing well, and when it comes to the Nursing Assistant certification exam, there are a number of CNA practice tests available online for students to best raise their game. CNA’s are invariably goal orientated people (apart from being selfless care givers) with inclinations toward achieving full nursing status, so every test that comes their way will no doubt be of high priority. Thus the practise test and CNA exam will be of particular importance to anyone wanting to get on the front foot at the start of their nursing careers.
Since nursing has evolved into a “fully-fledged” career complete wherein one can achieve your masters and doctorate, more people are being drawn to this indispensable profession which continues to grow, and will do for some time according to the national bureau of statistics. The need for qualified nurses continues to increase, and with that, Certified Nurse Assistants, as the field attracts more students each year.
What is a Certified Nursing Assistant(CNA)?
Of course if you’re asking yourself this question then you might have wondered to the wrong area by accident, but then again you may be considering a job or even a career in the nursing field but had never heard of the term “CNA”. As you may have noted from above, the CNA stands for Certified Nursing Assistant and their role in the hospital or care facility is primarily based upon basic care. The CNA is always under the supervision of either a Registered Nurse (RN), a Licenced Practical Nurse (LPN) or in more rare instances, a physician. The Nurse Assistants duties include the following:
- Checking vital signs
- checking and logging the patients information into their medical files
- tending to patients medical equipment as well as their medication
- assisting patients who are unable to feed and drink on their own (falling into the category of ‘primary patient care’)
- physical cleaning or bathing of patients as well as cleaning wounds
Roles differ from state to state and some hospitals, clinics or care facilities also delegate and assign certain responsibilities to their CNA’s which may be in addition to the primary duties expected of them.
Requirements for entering a CNA Program
A high school diploma or equivalency is required by all applicants looking to take on the twelve month long course (depending on where you enrol). Applicants may be advised to research the position before applying as the course is not for the faint of heart. Yes, the Nurse Assistant is but a supporting role; however the job itself takes unique resolve and requires people with a selfless, hardworking and diligent nature. Nurses deal with the sick and weary and thus often have to wade through situations where man is in his worst condition, yet through their care giving, healing is nurtured. To deal with such taxing environs takes a person of good character and a doggedness to be able to deal with people (patients and loved ones) in the worst of times, perhaps experiencing their worst days.
In the foreboding world of hospitals and what they represent (minus the maternity ward), it is the nurses who provide the respite, providing that much needed prevailing air of care giving, comfort and healing.
So, although the CNA may not be an out-and-out nurse, the same principle applies. The one year long certification program serves to equip applicants with the necessary skills to be of top service. Although many who do apply fancy themselves as having all that it takes to be at least a CNA, the program may yet prove otherwise through its demanding nature, both mentally and physically.
The subjects to expect from the CNA Course
A well rounded comprehensive course can be expected from any CNA certification program. The curriculum invariably includes the following subjects;
- First Aid as well as CPR
- Terminology – learn the appropriate medical terms
- A comprehensive course on human anatomy, both in structure and function
- Primary patient care (including all duties mentioned above)
- Computer and communication skills – basic computer literacy as well as patient communication is essential
Of course that summarizes the theoretical side of things; there will of course be a full apprenticeship required of each applicant including in-service training with a mandatory number of hours which each student will need to complete. CNA Programs are offered at many community colleges and technical schools with possibly only slight differences in regulations and prerequisites as you move from state to state. Prior to gaining certification, each student will undergo at least seventy five hours of training to prove their skill in addition (in some states) to a certification exam. By the time the student earns their certification they shall be able to fit in seamlessly into the healthcare facility.
Beyond The Classroom
Although the CNA practice exams will be of great interest to each applicant, the true worth of any nurse may well be measured in their abilities with other people. Interaction is essential to their existence as nurses deal with all sorts of people in many differing circumstances, thus there are a number of qualities which each CNA needs to possess to truly be effective. Those qualities include compassion, a sound mind, a helpful nature, responsibility, dependability and the ability to take orders and submit to others. These are rare attributes, especially when grouped together, illustrating the unique and truly special nature of the work and the person that earns the title of nurse, in whatever capacity.
The CNA Practice Exam
This is primarily centered on the written test which involves a one hundred question multiple choice test in which each student must obtain at least eighty percent in order to pass. The rules, regulations and instructions are very particular, and what might seem like trivial details are in fact very pertinent to determining whether or not you pass or not. Cleanliness and safety are of utmost importance as well as keeping order and maintaining a specific standard in the working environment. This is especially relevant with regards to patient care and ensuring that every little detail is taken care of and that certain procedures are always adhered to.
It is imperative that students obtain an instructor that is on the same page, as it were, with the examiner’s expectations, as the improper instruction could see you fail. Small details need to become second nature for the aspiring CNA; something as simple as forgetting to knock before you enter a room could be the last blemish on your CNA skills test (you get three chances or “grace” mistakes when doing the skills test before they fail you – somewhat akin to a driver’s test, just with way less chances for error). Thus it’s crucial to form your own way of remembering everything while getting over your nerves (one handy tip was to recite each duty as you’re enacting it). It’s for this reason that every applicant be absolutely sure of what’s to come prior to taking the test.
As mentioned, the written test is a multiple choice format, and the CNA test questions are very particular and relevant to every day scenarios that every certified assistant might encounter, and their subsequent reactions to those scenarios. They may include the primary reactions and care responses as expected of any CNA, like changing old dressings on a patient’s wound, or more convoluted situations, such as a lost or disillusioned patient wandering through the corridors unattended. Here are a number of examples of what to expect from CNA exam questions (in the actual exam, each question is of course followed by several suggestions of what the appropriate CNA response will be):
- Before feeding a resident, which of the following is the best reason to wash the residents hands? – (note: all the answers provided may be correct, but as the question specifies, the student must pick the “best” reason of those provided)
- Whilst a nurse aid tries to brush a confused and reluctant patient’s hair, who keeps trying to grab the hair brush, what should the nurse aid do? – (Specific instruction is given during training to cope with all such scenarios)
- A resident who is dying from cancer and is expected to pass on in the next few days. Nursing care for the patient should focus on:
- A patient has diabetes. Which of the following is a clear sign of low blood sugar? – (This is of course a more direct question with a specific answer.)
- The residents wife has recently died. The resident now stays in his room all the time and eats very little. The best nurse aid response should be…
- When a patient is combative and is constantly trying to hit the nurse assistant, it is important for the nurse aid to…
- A nurse assistant walks down a hallway and looks into a patients room, only to see another nurse aid hitting a resident. The nurse assistant is expected to:
- A nurse aid finds a resident looking in the refrigerator at the nurses’ station at five in the morning. The confused resident explains he needs his breakfast before he goes to work. The best response expected of the nurse aid is…
- Patients with Parkinson’s disease often need assistance with walking because they…
- During lunch in the dining room, a resident begins throwing some cutlery at the nurse aid. The best response by the nurse assistant is to…
Students should expect these types of CNA test questions and, as you can see, the scenarios and topics covered pertain to basic nursing aid work (involving primary care) as well as veritable medical work involving solutions to problems which only sufficient training can provide.
It’s interesting to note the intricacy that some situations present, and need to be handled with utmost care and attention, especially when concerning patients experiencing or suffering from mental illness like Alzheimer’s (prevalent more in senior care facilities) or grief. That grief may be as a result of the misfortune of a loved one, or news of the patient’s own terminal illness.
Perusing these questions and the dozens more like them, serves to illustrate how crucial the CNA’s job is, as they’re constantly interacting with an assortment of people, and lives in an extreme and often unfortunate circumstances.
Passing Your CNA Test
With the diversity of questions on offer, it’s imperative that applicants seek the CNA practice test to ensure a smooth exam. There are plenty of online examples of the CNA certification exam as well as online videos on YouTube illustrating methods to aid in the CNA skills test.
Applicants must note that once they’re certified, it won’t be the last of the tests as each year will bring another CNA certification test to ensure that Nurse Aids remain competent.
To pass the test one needs to do all this and more as sufficient research is required to ensure that every aspect of the job is well learned. In certain cases, applicants looking to study in a different state should familiarize themselves with any changes that may be present – some areas differ somewhat when it comes to the CNA state test.
Nevertheless, the practice CNA test has practically become a prerequisite in itself as it drastically increases your chances of earning the Nursing aid certification.