Nursing assistants play an important role in taking care of patients, and states have set up certification processes to allow new nursing assistants to prove their competence. Hospitals and clinics use the certification as a way of determining that workers are well qualified.
The road to certification begins with an accredited school for nursing assistants. Private schools exist, although many adult education programs are free or relatively inexpensive. State requirements for certified nursing assistant (CNA) programs vary, but in Texas schools are required to provide at least 51 hours of classroom instruction and 24 hours of practical work with patients. Upon completion of the program, students are evaluated. Once graduates are found competent, schools usually arrange for them to take their state certification exams. Provider schools can administer the test, or it may be taken at a facility approved by the Department of Health. The test consists of two parts, 60 multiple-choice written questions, and a demonstration of five randomly chosen nursing skills. The test must be passed within two years of graduation.
After passing the test and receiving a certificate, the nursing assistant is ready to work in a health-care facility. To keep certification active, the holder of the certificate needs to inform the Texas Nurse Aide Registry of his or her employment status every two years.
For residents of Texas, more information is available at the Texas Nurse Aide Registry at 512-438-2040. The registry’s website address is www.dads.state.tx.us/providers/NF/credentialing/nar/index.html, and its postal address is post office box 149030, mail code E-414, Austin, TX 78714-9030.
Residents of other states can find contact information at www.dads.state.tx.us/providers/NF/credentialing/nar/form_2_states_lst.pdf.
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