CNA Clinicals: What To Expect

studying for cna clinicals

Okay, first of all, if you’re here just learning about what it takes to become a CNA. Let’s answer the first and most obvious question:

What are CNA Clinicals?

To become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), clinical instruction is essential. The majority of states require CNA classes consisting of between 16 and 100 hours of the total clinical experience necessary. Nurse aide students have the ability to use their conceptual knowledge during courses at either an approved facility or a long-term care facility. During the course of the clinical, a Registered Nurse instructor works directly over the students.

This opportunity takes place in a real-world environment and is necessary to receive the education required for passing the state nurse aid skills portion of the competency evaluation. In addition to receiving hands-on learning, the comfort and safety of patients, respecting patient rights, and infection control are reinforced during the nurse assistant clinical.

Required CNA Classes

According to the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, all potential CNAs must receive 75 hours minimum instruction for clinical and classroom. A minimum of 16 hours is required by federal regulations for hands-on experience. Over 50 percent of all states have established CNA programs exceeding these requirements. This is a reflection of the belief of the state board that students can only meet direct care complexities by receiving additional instruction. In some states, clinical instruction covers 100 hours.

Clinical Training Prerequisites

The guidelines for both students and employees are strict to make certain residents remain safe. To ensure compliance with the guidelines of the facility, entry prerequisites for CNA clinicals are reviewed by the training provider. Although there are variations depending on the facility and state, the general requirements are outlined below.

  • Drug Screenings: A ten-panel drug screen is required by the school and nursing home.
  • Criminal Background Check: A background check is initiated by the training provider before classes begin. If any felony convictions are revealed, the individual can be disqualified from receiving training.
  • CPR Card: CPR training must be specifically for the professional or healthcare provider with certificates valid for clinical practice.
  • Immunization Records: Copies must be provided of immunization records. Some of the shots required include MMR, Hepatitis B Series, Varicella, and Tdap.
  • Physical Examination: The exam must show the individual is in good mental and physical health.
  • TB Test: Prior to proceeding, the two-step PPD screening process must be completed.
  • Supplies: A professional appearance is required including rubber-soled shoes with closed toes and scrubs. Additional supplies include a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, watch including a second hand and gait belt.
  • Liability Insurance: Insurance is generally purchased for a group.

Tips for CNA Clinicals

The majority of CNA programs require 12 weeks for completion. The schooling is both intense and brief. By following the tips detailed below, the chances of success improve.

  • Remain Organized: The due dates of assignments can be easily tracked with a calendar. A calendar app is more efficient than a paper calendar because alerts are sent. Calendars are recommended for the scheduling of study sessions. To pass the nurse assistant clinical, approximately two hours are necessary to study for each instruction hour.
  • The Buddy System: The buddy system works well for studying. Students can work together to complete assignments, ask each other questions regarding important concepts and prepare for exams, tests, and quizzes.
  • Learning From Mistakes: Everyone makes mistakes in order to learn. Provided the student learns from them, mistakes can be helpful. Write down what was done incorrectly during both clinicals and assignments to determine how to avoid making the same mistake again.
  • Completing Practice Exams: Once the program is complete, passing the certification examination is the next challenge. Free practice exams are available and should be taken often. This will enable the student to become more familiar with the real exam and ensure the most important concepts taught during class are known.
  • Asking for Help: If anything is not understood, ask for help immediately. Due to the fast pace of the program, falling behind is easy. Not understanding a single concept can lead to confusion with many others.
  • Taking Care of Yourself: Nobody can work 24 hours a day and remain effective. Time should be set aside for relaxing, sleeping and exercising. Students should spend time with their families and friends, remain hydrated and eat balanced and healthy meals.
  • Completing Assigned Reading: Putting off assigned reading is a mistake. If the reading has not been completed, classes will not make sense. Reading should be a priority with a specific period of time set aside every day.
  • Getting Enough Sleep: Getting enough sleep is just as important as other responsibilities including clinicals and classes. Remaining focused when studying or in class is extremely difficult without enough sleep. Make the effort to get a minimum of eight hours of sleep each night.

The education necessary for CNAs is both intense and fast-paced. Just because the classes do not last for a long period of time does not mean the curriculum is easy. To become a good CNA, an effort is necessary during schooling. The time spent studying and in classes will pay off later.

Using CNA Skills

During clinical instruction, students interact with patients. Depending on the facility, the residents have different degrees and types of disabilities. To succeed, mental preparation is essential. Certain patients have a disfiguring condition or a mental illness. If the clinical experience takes place at a hospice, the patients will be close to death. Although mental preparation will not diminish the way patients look and smell, it will help.

Training is critical for any student working at a long-term care facility. Both compassion and training are necessary to cope with the sadness of any environment. This will enable the CNA to offer the best possible care. The RN instructor will assign each student a CNA to shadow or a team on the first week. Once the students have shown basic skills, they will be assigned one or two patients for practicing basic life tasks such as feeding patients, making beds, and infection control.

Eventually, students will be given an opportunity to practice bathing and transferring patients. Many new CNAs have the same complaint. Shortcuts are used by the training facilities as opposed to all of the necessary steps. In the real world, a CNA must be able to take care of several patients simultaneously. The prescribed procedures must be followed by trainees to prepare for the skills exam because shortcuts will not be accepted.

To pass the state exam skills component, clinical experience is mandatory. All of the skills required by the exam should be practiced frequently. Depending on the curriculum of the state, there can be between 21 and 30 skills. Although reviewing online videos and practicing during labs is beneficial, the best experience is gained in the real world.