CNA Skills Testing

CNA skills testing is one of the two papers that to have to pass to clear the certification exam; the other being the theoretical paper. While you are in CNA training you are taught a number of clinical abilities that are necessary to perform as a nursing assistant when you take up professional practice so these tasks are put to test during the CNA skills exam.

Before taking the exam make sure you have practiced all the craft to the extent of perfecting them so that you will be at ease during the test. The test is conducted under the supervision of the state examiner and he will randomly pick three to five tasks for you to perform. And you are not allowed to slip up in any of the procedures as the examiner will monitor them carefully; he may give you a hint or two as he understands your apprehension.

Time management

During your practical exam it is important that you manage your time efficiently so that you can finish the tasks within the stipulated duration which is from 20 to 30 minutes depending on your state's regulation. If you cannot finish it in that duration you cannot pass the test; but in hindsight the period given is enough to complete your CNA testing.

And time management is possible only if you have practiced all your tasks keeping it in mind as each task will require a specific duration, so put this to practice and you will be all right. Here is how you can manage you time for some of the important tasks:

  • Hand washing with all the proper techniques will need one minute to complete the task. Remember that you will have to do this task before and after every other task.
  • Blood Pressure measurement and recording will take around two minutes
  • Respiration and pulse measurement will take four to five minutes
  • Urine output will consume two minutes maximum
  • Changing patient's position in bed will need two minutes
  • Transfer from bed to wheelchair/ stretcher shall take up to five minutes
  • Some tasks take longer. Tasks like provide bedpans, making occupied beds or giving modified baths will require more minutes; practice these tasks and once you are comfortable clock yourself. Ideally you should take seven to eight minutes for these kind of tasks

Make a note of these timings and try to finish the tasks in the times required during your practice. During the exam you may be asked to perform a maximum of two tasks that will require longer period which may take about 10 to 12 minutes to complete and you will still have around 20 minutes to finish the less time consuming tasks; you will complete all the tasks within stipulated duration, maybe you will have a couple of minutes to spare.

Some tips for taking the CNA skills test

  • Don't panic: It is true that you have to perform all the tasks in front of a state examiner, but it is no reason to panic. He/ she is a human being; a experienced one and must have conducted such test number of times and is aware of your anxiety, so the examiner will surely be a bit lenient.

  • Don't rush: Listen to the examiner carefully before starting out. It is important that you maintain your calmness while performing any task, don't rush just because you have limited duration to complete the task because if you rush you may miss out on the minutest details of the procedure.

  • Don't miss classes: While you are involved in the training make sure that you do not miss any clinical classes as they are the best chance to master your abilities. You can try it again and again in front of your instructor and he will clear your doubts and notify your mistakes right there. There are many online videos that you can refer to and a lot of study guides to refer to, but no practice is better than hand-on experience, so attend the classes regularly

  • Follow the etiquette: While in the exam hall you must follow certain mannerism carefully; it demonstrates your professionalism. Knock the door and ask for permission before entering any room. Greet the patients and introduce yourself; explain the process before starting the task. The person in place of the patient may be a fellow student but follow all the procedure as you would do while assisting a patient. Don't miss out on anything including the safety parameters

  • Get a candidate handbook: Every state has different norms regarding the certification test so it is important that you are well aware of the rules of your state. The CNA test booklet will be helpful to you in this regards.

    This booklet will have all the information about the state examination, skills that come under the duties of a nurse aide, procedure and sample questions for your written exam. Follow all the guidelines in the handbook and you will fare well not just in the clinical skills test, but also in the written paper.

CNA skills testing is not as difficult as it is made out to be if you are well prepared and you don't make a mountain out of a molehill, just relax and you will ease through both the papers and become a certified nursing assistant.

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