Become a Qualified CNA Today
5 Mar 2015

Advice on how to beat the CNA Skills Examination

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When you’re taking the skills test for CNA certification, you may be nervous and forget the little things that cost you points on the state examiners clipboard. Increasing your edge with these helpful tips may significantly improve your chances of passing your performance test with ease.

1. Practice all Your Performance Skills Daily
Of course practicing your manual skills in the training lab in school is important, but what about in your home? Enlist your family, friends, and even pets at home to practice counting heart rate and respirations, taking blood pressure and performing range-of-motion exercises. Practice all 25 skills randomly and be prepared for any of the three to six skills your state examiner will ask you to perform.

2. Dress for Success
If your hair touches your shoulders, pin it up for a more professional look. Remove earrings, rings and never wear facial jewelry studs. Avoid artificial nails (you can be disqualified) and wear clear polish on finely trimmed nails. White or light colored scrubs look the most professional and wear comfortable shoes to help you move in comfort.

3. Are You Safe with Patient Care?
Above all else, your examiner is concerned with how you ensure patient safety. Properly cover your patient during personal care, pull up bedrails when you leave a patient unattended and secure a safety belt to their waste when performing any transfers.

4. Listen Carefully to Each Scenario
Ensure that you understand the performance skill scenario that your examiner has assigned you and ask any questions immediately if needed. Once you begin each skill to be tested, you will no longer have the option to ask for clarification.

5. Repeat Tested Skills if Necessary
If you make a mistake, admit it to the examiner immediately and ask to repeat the performance skill. Most states give you an opportunity to repeat each task and about 45 minutes for the entire performance test. You may gain valuable points back in the eyes of the examiner if you act quickly and repeat the task correctly.

6. Apply Safe Body Mechanics
Again, safety is the biggest concern of the test that also includes the wellness of the nursing assistant performing the exam. Remember to practice your body mechanics and always bend at the knees, position yourself comfortably, and don’t lift without a wide base of support at the feet.

7. Wash and Return all the Equipment Used
If you use a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff or thermometer, be sure to wipe with alcohol and place the equipment back to the original place. Rinse and air dry any wash basins you use and place used linens into the proper container.

8. Approach Your Patient with Respect
As a CNA, you must consider the emotional wellbeing of your patient. Address them with respect, introduce yourself and explain all procedures thoroughly — even if you’re working on a mannequin. In addition, ask patients if they understand what you’ve told them and got their permission to proceed with their care.

9. Infection Control: Hand washing
Most CNAs who’ve failed the performance test the first time have forgotten to wash their hands before or after touching their patient. Ensure that you perform handwashing immediately after you greet your patient, once gloves are removed and before you leave the room. When in doubt, wash your hands.performance test the first time have forgotten to wash their hands before or after touching their patient. Ensure that you perform handwashing immediately after you greet your patient, once gloves are removed and before you leave the room. When in doubt, wash your hands.

10. Approach Your Performance Exam with Confidence
Although everyone wants to pass the first time, keep in mind that you can retake the performance exam if necessary. If you look at your performance test as an experience in life that you can learn from, you may reduce your test-related anxiety. Be as empowered as possible with practice and just do the best that you can.

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