The Illinois Department of Public Health regulates who may work in the state in the healthcare field. To work as a certified nursing assistant one must complete an approved training program and pass a competency test. The test covers communication, basic nursing skills, personal care skills, restorative skills, mental health and social service, and patients’ rights. Testing is done at various locations throughout Illinois, most of them community colleges. A list of testing centers can be found at http://www.nurseaidetesting.com/testsites.asp.
The State of Illinois does not issue certificates. Individual programs can issue certificates, but they are not required to do so. To prove competence to an employer, nurses’ aides are listed on a register. Those who are on the register can look up their status with their social security numbers at http://www.idph.state.il.us/nar/index.htm, print the page, and give a copy to prospective employers. To stay on the register nurses’ assistants must work for money. If a nurses’ aide goes for 24 months or longer after passing the competency exam without working for pay, he or she will be dropped from the registry. After being dropped he or she can either retake the training course and retake the test or just retake the test.
Training is offered at community colleges, healthcare facilities, adult education centers, high schools and vocational training programs throughout the state. Programs vary from one to another. Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, for instance, offers six 8-hour days working with patients as well as 6 credit hours of class instruction. Spoon River College in Havana offers a 7-credit hour program. Holy Family Medical Center’s program, in Chicago, consists of 94 hours of lecture and 49 hours of clinical work. The program issues a certificate upon completion. To find more programs and their locations, see http://www.nurseaidetesting.com/trainingpgms.asp.
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