Testing to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant


Two things are required to become a certified nursing assistant; proper training and certification. Hopeful nurses complete a course, which provides the training, prior to taking the certification exam. The exam has both a written portion and a clinical, or practical, portion. A student must pass the written portion before being allowed to participate in the practical portion. Some training centers will schedule the written portion of the test to coincide with the last day of the class; others leave it up to the students to work the test in to their schedules after completing the course. Because the clinical portion of the exam must be arranged by the school or training facility the student attended, the facility must be certified to provide the exams.

Once the written exam is successfully completed, students will demonstrate their acquired nursing skills on a live person. What a student must demonstrate varies, but the exam always requires proof of knowing how to deal with activities or situations that they will face on a regular basis. Sometimes the activities are as simple as how to properly wash your hands before or after touching patients or how to change a bedpan; other times students must show they know how to respect a patient’s privacy or how to help the patients feel more comfortable while in a vulnerable state. The participant must successfully exhibit knowledge of between three and five concepts. At the end of the practical portion of the exam, the medical examiner tells the student whether they have passed or failed.

The test itself may have to be done in person, but there are many practice scenarios and practice tests available online. Students can study the scenarios and try different practice versions of the written test before going into the real exam. Once the studying is done and the test successfully complete, the new certified nursing assistants have everything they need to find a steady, rewarding career.

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