After you have finished the CNA training classes you have to give the CNA certification exam and you must prepare well for it to pass it in one attempt.
If you fail the exam the re-attempt rules vary from one state to another, so check with the state health department; in most states, you have to take training again if you don’t clear the certification exam in three attempts.
The exam has two papers; CNA theory exam and CNA skills exam;
Both must be cleared to get the certification. Passing the theory exam is relatively easy as compared to the practical paper and most students fail in this paper.
The most important aspect of this test is that you have to perform the tasks in front of an examiner. The examiner will monitor each and every action of yours and that is why most students tend to develop cold feet during the CNA clinical skills test.
But you should not worry about the examiner; don’t get complacent but the examiner must have conducted these tests many times over and he will take your nervousness into consideration while giving grades.
Here are a few tips that will help you to ease your way through the CNA skills exam:
1. Watch Videos
Internet is a great resource if you utilize it effectively; many videos on CNA skills are made available by experts.
Watch as many videos as you want to and fine tune your craft by gaining insights to every task performed by the specialists.
2. CNA Skills Practice Test
Make a checklist of all the nursing abilities you have been taught. Take as many practice tests as you can; take help of a co-student in doing so.
Treat him as a patient and perform all the tasks; get help from one more person who would mark the procedures you missed out on the check list.
Evaluate the checklist and practice the procedures you have missed out on.Take another practice test in front of your instructor; he/ she will be able to examine your craft appropriately and this will also help you to be calm when you give the certification paper.
CNA skills practice tests are ideal to get accustomed to all the tasks and procedures that you will have to perform during the test and while providing healthcare duties as a professional.
3. Be Attentive
Being attentive and focused is essential apart from being relaxed; give careful ears to the examiner and don’t start any task before completely understanding what the examiner has asked you to do. If you have any doubts clear them and then start the task.
4. Hand Washing
Wash your hands properly before and after performing each of the tasks; it is necessary to control infection. Use the proper technique of hand washing and take the required time to do so.
5. Exhibit Communication Skills
Before entering any patient’s room knock the door and ask permission; respecting privacy is very important.
Introduce yourself and ask the name of the patient and address him/ her by proper name. Before you start the task explain all the procedure to the patient so that there is no confusion.
6. Perform Each Step Carefully
While taking the practice tests you must have found out the best method to perform each of the tasks; use the best procedures so that you perform all the tasks efficiently.
For example, you need to wear gloves for certain tasks or you need to sanitize the bedpan after use and wrap it in a paper towel and store it properly.
7. Safety Measures
Make sure that you cautiously follow all the safety measures carefully to avoid any accidents or injury.
Use gait belts during patient transfers and see to it that a patient does not come in contact with the safety rails on the bed and stretchers. Ask questions to the patients to check they are comfortable.
8. Manage Your Time
During the exam you will have to perform five tasks in 30 minutes, so it is important that you manage your time. It may seem that 30 minutes will not be enough, but you can easily complete the tasks in that time.
To make it easier you should time your tasks when you practice at home.
- You will require one minute for hand washing,
- two minutes to measure blood pressure,
- one minute each for temperature and pulse,
- Respiration may take up to five minutes
- And urine output can be measured in two minutes.
Make a record of these timings and of all the abilities that you have learnt. During the test make sure you complete all these tasks within the required time.
9. Research For The Top Skills
There are some skills that you are often asked to perform during the practical exam; you need to research what are the top five skills in your state. The most important task is the hand washing technique as you have to do it before and after every task.
Other popular tasks are patient transfers, providing bedpan, taking vital signs, changing patient positions in bed, dressing, grooming and changing dirty bed linen if occupied beds. Practice these abilities to the finest level.
These are some tips you may find handy to clear the practical test. Cracking the CNA skills exam is a tough task but if you practice enough, be calm and focused you can easily do without making much fuss about it.