CNA certification training consists of both theory and practical modules where you learn the day to day duties of a nursing assistant. The theory training gives you an understanding of the duties you will carry out and the practical training providing you with the skills to put the theory training into practice.
The CNA certification examination consists of two testing components being a theory examination and a clinical skills test. The theory examination generally consists of 60 multiple choice answer questions that cover what you have learnt through your training.
The CNA Certification clinical skills test examination is where you demonstrate your knowledge received from the practical training. In total there are twenty five skills available to the Examiner who would choose generally five of those skills for the clinical skills test.
We have spoken on many occasions with the Examiners and there is a common thread running through what they want to see during the clinical skills test. The Examiners want to see the nursing assistants demonstrate a common basic technique throughout the test.
This basic technique is really no secret but can make all the difference to passing or failing. The Examiners want to see the nursing assistant demonstrate sound direct care hygiene techniques such as washing their hands before making any contact as a standard precaution demonstrating sound infection control measures.
Usually this is one of the five clinical skills test. Hand washing requires wetting the hands, rubbing the hands together reaching in between the fingers both front and back, under nails and attention to cuticles, generating plenty of foam and at least twenty seconds of rubbing the hands together.
The hands are then rinsed using plenty of water to remove all soap residue and the hands are dried using paper towels. A small unsuspecting trap here is turning the taps off with the hands as this can cause re-infection so it’s best to turn the tap off with the paper towel or a fresh towel used to dry the hands.
Following from this the Examiner will be evaluating indirect care that consists of interaction with the client demonstrating communication skills, working in a safe manner both to the nursing assistant and the client, infection control such as the use of gloves and maintaining the dignity of the client.
The Examiners want to see the use of curtains to maintain the dignity of the client with communication to the client giving them the opportunity to contribute verbally to the task being performed. Meeting the client’s wishes demonstrates sound communication techniques.
Bearing in mind these two most important techniques the Examiner will ask the assistant nurse to demonstrate a position change of a client lying in bed from their back to their side. The Examiner is looking at infection control, communication skills, consideration of the client’s safety such as not being placed or rolled close to the edge of the bed.
Communication and safety is the key point here that is being tested. By taking a slow deliberate course of action after communicating what it is you wish to achieve with the client will make the client more compliant and less prone to fight against you.
One other skills test might be changing the bed sheets while the client remains in bed. Once again the above factors demonstrated by the assistant nurse will be the common theme during the evaluation.
We recommend no matter what skill you are being tested always remember the basic requirements:
• Personal hygiene
• Infection control
• Perform and maintain safety assessments
• Maintaining client dignity
• Demonstrate the correct manual handling technique
• Show confidence and a full understanding of the task you are performing
Other skills tested can consist of:
• Oral hygiene
• Showering or bathing a client
• Walking a client
• Transferring a client in and out of bed
• Assisting a client to use a bed pan
• Changing urinary bags
• Measuring a clients radial pulse and or respiration and recording
• Providing the client with ROM exercises
• Providing the client with foot care
• Demonstrate the use of lifting devices
• Provide catheter care
Each clinical skills assessment is made on what you have learned during your clinical skills training on a daily basis and should have become second nature of the daily duties performed. There are no surprise tests or tricks during the examination.
The Examiner needs to be confident that you can demonstrate the clinical skills required of a certified nursing assistant before giving you a pass in the CNA Certification Clinical Skills Test Examination.