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CNA Hand Washing Skill (Hand Hygiene)

When taking the CNA skills test there’s a good chance the hand washing skill will be one of the skills you’ll be required to demonstrate. If you’re just beginning your journey to become a CNA you may think that you know proper hand washing technique, but there’s likely much more to it than you know. Many aspiring nursing assistants fail the hand washing CNA steps during their first skills exam because they take parts of the process for granted.

Proper hand hygiene is critical in a healthcare setting for infection control and to prevent the spread of disease. You’ll often spend your days dealing with sick clients or patients and you will also have to deal with bodily fluids. Due to this, you will need to wash your hands often, and do so correctly.

If you’d like to follow along with the steps, please check out this CNA handwashing video.

CNA hand washing procedure

  1. Address the client by name and introduce yourself by name. client by name and introduces self to client by name 
  2. Turns on the water in the sink
  3. Wet your hands and wrists thoroughly 
  4. Apply soap to your hands 
  5. Lather all of the surfaces of your wrists, hands, and fingers. As you do so, be sure to create friction and do so for at least 20 seconds. As you wash, make sure you are keeping hands lower than the elbows and the fingertips pointing downward 
  6. Clean your fingernails by rubbing your fingertips against the palms of your opposite hand 
  7. Thoroughly rinse all of the surfaces of your wrists, hands, and fingers, again making certain to keep your hands lower than your elbows and your fingertips pointing down 
  8. Use a clean, dry paper towel to dry your hands including all surfaces of your wrists, hands and fingers. Start at your fingertips. Once dry, dispose of the paper towel into waste container 
  9. Use a clean, dry paper towel to turn off the faucet and then disposes of the paper towel into a waste container or, if available, use a knee or foot control to turn off the faucet 
  10. Do not touch the inside of the sink at any time during the procedure

* Please be sure to consult the testing materials provided by the skills test provider in your state to ensure that these steps for how to wash your hands are in compliance. The procedure in different states and from different test providers can vary slightly.