In Texas the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) is responsible for certifying nurses assistants and making sure they are up to date in their skills. Facilities hiring nurses assistants must check with DADS to make sure that they are certified and that there are no complaints against them.
DADS maintains a course curriculum for schools that train nurses assistants to follow. The basic objectives of the curriculum are to prepare nurses aides to provide basic care of patients, communicate with patients and their families, assist patients in attaining maximum independence, protect, support, and promote patients’ rights, maintain patients’ safety, observe and report patients’ conditions, and function effectively as members of health care teams. The curriculum includes information on what to expect of elderly or debilitated patients. Content includes the proper relationship between nurses aides and patients and between nurses aides and other healthcare workers. A skills checklist includes procedures such as preventing falls, washing hands properly, preventing the spread of infection, maintaining clean catheters and many others.
The State of Texas does not require any minimum level of education for students who wish to study to become certified nurses assistants, and there is a wide range of training programs available. Some are offered by community colleges such as El Paso Community College with its 7 week course, or the Houston Community College System with a 6 week regular program, 2 week accelerated program, and 10 week bilingual program. Others are taught in clinical facilities, such as D. Diamond Healthcare Services in Austin, or LBJ Medical Center in Johnson City. DADS has an online list of 785 programs, listed by region throughout Texas. To find a program in your area, see www.dads.state.tx.us.
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