Preparing for the CNA Skills Test
Preparing for the CNA Skills Test
You’ve decided you’d like to become a Certified Nursing Assistant in the state of Washington. There are a number of tasks you need to complete in order to become certified. One task is a competency evaluation, a test broken into a few parts, a written component and a skills test. The skills test portion is to show you are physically capable of performing the many duties typically required of a CNA and that you are aware of all the proper procedures to do these tasks correctly.
In case you’re curious, here is Washington State’s statute that requires an evaluation:
Chapter 18.88A RCW: NURSING ASSISTANTS
RCW 18.88A.090: Competency evaluations.
(1) The commission shall examine each applicant, by a written or oral and a manual component of a competency evaluation. The competency evaluation shall be limited to the purpose of determining whether the applicant possesses the minimum skill and knowledge necessary to practice competently.
(2) Any applicant failing to make the required grade in the first competency evaluation may take up to three subsequent competency evaluations as the applicant desires upon prepaying a fee determined by the secretary under RCW 43.70.250 for each subsequent competency evaluation. Upon failing four competency evaluations, the secretary may invalidate the original application and require such remedial education before the person may take future competency evaluations.
The commission may approve a competency evaluation prepared or administered by a private testing agency or association of licensing agencies for use by an applicant in meeting the credentialing requirements.
The core curriculum of evaluation centers are also outlined by Washington State law: Core Curriculum. The important part of the skills test is at the very end:
(5) The curriculum must include evaluation processes to assess mastery of competencies. Students cannot perform any clinical skill on clients or residents until first demonstrating the skill satisfactorily to an instructor in the practice setting.
The licensing for Nursing Assistants in the state of Washington can be found at the Washington Department of Health.
Skills covered in the exam
Now we turn to the Standards of practice and competencies for nursing assistants. Which better outlines all the areas of expertise you are expected to have competency in. These competencies fall into 10 categories:
- Basic technical skills
- Personal care skills
- Mental health and social service needs
- Care of cognitively impaired residents
- Basic restorative services
- Client or resident rights and promotion of independence
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Infection control
- Safety and emergency procedures
- Rules and regulations knowledge
You can look at the exact standards if you’d like more detail but know that you will be asked to perform tasks in front of an instructor from any of these areas. You will be asked to perform 5 tasks in front of an instructor, the first task is always handwashing, the others are chosen at random. This section of the exam typically takes about 25 minutes.
Resources for Practice
Because there are a lot of skills covered, more than can fit in a typical blog post, I’ve included some videos that cover many of the skills you might be asked to perform. Okay, “some videos” is more like 100, but it’s a great start to memorizing all the skills you will be expected to use every day as a nursing assistant.
- All 22 CNA Skills for 2017 Virginia Boards Evaluation
- Mock Skills Exam Demonstration
- CNA Individual Skills Demonstrations
- Nursing Aide Student Training Videos
What to do if you mess up
While you are taking the test remember that the person evaluating you wants to ensure that you are a competent and low-stress adult. If you make a mistake during the exam, it is important to acknowledge the mistake, and say what you will do to correct it. Be upfront and adult, say “I made a mistake” and begin taking corrective action. That kind of response is quite possibly better than performing the skill correctly the first time (though I would not advise performing a task incorrect if you know better) as it shows great character, the ability to recognize errors and to act responsibly to correct them. That is an incredibly important trait for all nurses and nursing assistants to have.
You got this! If you watch the videos, study real hard, and attend all your classes at Northwest NAC Training you will be more than ready to crush the skill portion of the CNA test.