CNA Clinical Skills
An aspiring certified nursing assistant has to undergo a training program which includes CNA clinical skills classes along with the theory classes. Acquiring these clinical tasks is extremely essential for the students so that they can provide professional patient care services once they clear the certification exam.
The certification exam has a practical and a theory paper; during the practical paper the student has to perform three to five of the profencies learned to clear the exam. Students are expected to perform all the skills to the satisfaction of the state examiner. The theory paper has 70 or more multiple choice questions, and the students have to score at least 75% to pass the test.
After passing both the papers students become certified nursing assistants and can commence practice once the license is issued by the state health department. In cases of failure the reappearing rules vary from state to state and you need to check for the same; in most states students are allowed three attempts and if you cannot clear in that many attempts you have to re-train yourself.
Most students fail to clear the practical tests due to anxiety or lack of preparedness. The CNA clinical skills checklist below has the top tasks which you must practice to clear the skills exam.
- Skills in Hand Washing
This is one tasks that you will have to perform irrespective of the state in which you have applied for certification because this is considered to be the basic ability required. Hand washing is essential to control infection for both residents and the nurse aide. Follow the correct technique of wetting your hands up to the wrists, applying soap, cleaning between fingers, closing the tap with a paper towel and thrashing it and patting your hands dry with another paper towel.
- Taking Vital Signs
This is another profiency that you must practice thoroughly as this is another mandatory skill you have to perform apart from hand washing. Taking vital signs include measuring blood pressure, pulse and respiration and temperature of clients. To take all these signs you have to follow certain procedures and you must understand the best methodology for each of the signs. Make sure you record these signs properly and report changes to the supervising nurse.
- Communication Skills
Although you may argue that communication can't be part of the clinical abilities; it invariably helps you to perform the clinical tasks properly if you posses good communication skills. The examiner will make a note of this and will separately grade you for the communication proficiency you exhibit. Before entering any room you must knock the door to respect privacy; it is a resident right and you must carefully follow it. Greet the patient, introduce yourself, ask for their name and address them with proper name (make sure you get the pronunciation right). Before you start performing any task it is important that you explain the client everything so that you can perform the task smoothly and safely.
- Patients Transfers
Residents are transferred from one department to another for various tests and it is the nursing assistant who is responsible for these transfers; safe transfer should be a nurse aides aim while performing these skills. You must be able to make patients stand on their feet by providing them support and help them walk. Not all residents can walk, so you must be able to use the gait belt while transferring them from bed to wheelchair or stretcher. You must avoid the safety rails which are meant for safety and not for injuring them.
- Positioning of Patients in Bed
Some residents are bed ridden and you have to change their positions at timely interval to provide comfort and avoid bed sores. While positioning them the bed must be lowered to flat position; the patient's arms and pillow must be positioned specifically. One pillow must be under the their arm, one between knees and ankle and a half-folded one behind the their back. The shoulders, hips and ankles must not be in a straight line; bend the legs slightly while positioning patients from one side to another. When the patient is lying in a side position never raise the head of bed.
- Changing Occupied Beds
This is one of the top skills you will be asked to perform during the CNA practical paper and you must practice this task well. Changing occupied beds' dirty linen requires great amount of skill as you should be able to do this without discomforting the patient. Resident's comfort must be focused on while performing any skill and for this particular skill it is important because it is a hard task to perform.
- Feeding patients
Feeding clients and that too at specific times and according to the diet plan provided by the physician is an important task for a nursing assistant. This skill should always be performed by raising the bed to a level that will make eating easy for residents. Use spoon while feeding but gloves are not required.
These are some of the top CNA clinical skills that are asked more often during the CNA skills test; practice these tasks and use the safety measures in doing so and you shall fare well in your exam. However, the top skills may vary from state to state and you should check this with your clinical instructor or the facility you are seeking training from.