Starting CNA program. Tips, please!?

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    I am starting a CNA program in a few weeks, and am curious what all will be taking place. How much time is classroom learning as opposed to clinicals? Are clinicals only done at nursing homes or are you able to do them at hospitals as well? How difficult is the state CNS exam? Any information that could help me prepare would be greatly appreciated!!
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Hi, well when i went through my CNA program is only took 16 days/120 hrs.
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    Every program is a little different, but I'll describe how my experience has gone so far. My program has been 4 weeks for the classroom portion, with a week for clinicals. I haven't taken the state exam yet, so can't comment on there. :P However, from what I've heard, the written portion is pretty easy but some people do have some difficulty with the skills. Clinicals are typically done at nursing homes, I know that's where mine is going to be at, but I'm sure they're done in hospitals sometimes too -- another thing that just varies from program to program.

    Good luck in your CNA program, and have fun!! I know I am in mine
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    Classroom is not that hard,when you follow the syllabus and pay attention to important skills that need to be done at clinicals. Get the medical terminology down now if you can so it won't seem all foreign lol A great book to use with your program is CNA Exam Cram!! It's a great review book for the written portion and clinical skills test. Each chapter has a few questions and the book comes with a cd-rom that you can use to test yourself on the written portion. Make sure to practice your skills at home if you can,so you won't feel nervous doing it later (YouTube has lots of skill videos,but make sure it's done the right way for your state) Listen to what your instructor tells you what will be on the test, take as many notes as you can and it will be just fine..Most CNA programs have clinicals in a nursing home(8 hours each week),so don't be surprised if you end up there...Overall go in class with an open mind and a ready to learn face!! Good Luck to You
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    As far as clinicals, you will most likely be in a nursing home. My best advice to you is to pitch in and help out -- don't just stand back and watch the aide do everything. The best way to learn is to be hands on. If you have a day shift, brush dentures, put socks on, help pick out outfits. You don't have to be doing everything the first day, but definitely be willing to learn by doing.
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    Clinicals were in a nursing home for me. Classroom was 15 days of 6 hour classes and 5 days of 4 hour clinicals. My exam was not too hard because I went over and over the skills and textbook until I knew them by heart.

    My advice is to take your clinicals very, very seriously. I'm very much an observational learner, but jumping in and helping out was extremely important for me to have any idea what I was doing after passing the exam. Practice as much as you can while you have someone there to help you out and correct your mistakes!
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    The CNA program that I was in was 7 weeks , and one week of clinical (I'm in New York City). It's not as hard as it seems, the skills are pretty easy but I did have a panic attack my first day at clinical lol but the next 4 days I felt as if I was really working at this nursing home for years.
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    Sorry pressed send by mistake


    You have to really pay attention to what you learn in the classroom because when you go in nursing homes it will NOT Be the same but jus do what you learned in class so you won't put your self or ur client at risk. The state exam is pretty easy but the skills you have to act as if the instructor is not there and jus do it as if you are alone. I almost failed by 8 seconds with peri care thank God I made it . Good luck
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    We had 4 months of classes,5 days of 10 hour clinicals, usually had 6 hours of lectures one day and one day we'd have 4 tests on all the chapters the lectures covered plus labs to practice skills and homework was studying all our notes, medical abbreviations,care plans etc... My teacher was a RN but also had been an EMT and a CNA and I always felt she put too much of a workload on us, it really felt like what I've heard nursing school is like, we signed in and out of class and the clinical site, we had to give 2 hr notices if we were going to be 5 minutes late, we came dressed in scrubs every class, we weren't allowed to have phones even in the building and of course no piercings,cover any tattoos etc... But whenever we got to the state test I was soo surprised that I found the test too easy and it was only because our teacher drilled the stuff into our heads and while she let us know that in reality the job you do in a LTC facility and Home healthcare is different then what you will do on the state test! My teacher taught us to be restorative care CNA's which is what our careers are mostly about unless you are doing palliative care, we are trained to restore that person so they can return home and do their normal ADL's without assistance or with limited assistance! I love being a CNA and I'm glad I became one on my road to be a RN! Good Luck to all the future CNA's and Nurses
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    I think clinicals are almost always done at a LTC facility. Thats where I did mine. I think its also where you learn the most about doing the actual job.

    Some people are saying you should just jump right in, but in my experience we didnt have much of a choice. At the start of our first clinical, our instructor gave each of us a report on the resident we would be taking care of, then had us wait outside the room until she could come in and introduce us and then watch us start our AM cares. After that we were basically on our own, although the CNAs that worked there kept an eye on us and occasionally offered help, as they were ultimately responsible for that resident. The next day it was 2 residents, and then I think we finally had 3 people for our final day. Then we had a couple evening clinicals where we had to do HS cares, including one on an alzheimers unit.

    Clinicals were a real eye opener, our poor instructor was running from room to room because this student or that student was having problems, or falling behind, or had a question on how to do something. My previous experience with CNAs had been as an EMT going on calls to nursing homes, and we didnt really have a particularly high opinion of them. I can tell you my opinion of them changed completely in one clinical, and I then was in awe of how fast and efficient and cool the CNAs who worked there were. To this day I still have more respect for CNAs than I do EMTs, even though I still work shifts as an EMT.

    *Edit
    I forgot to mention I thought the state written exam was super easy, mostly just common sense. I could have probably passed it even without taking the class.

    The practical exam was a lot harder though. It might vary by site, but the one I took it at regularly failed a lot of people, so pay close attention when they go over the skill sheets and practice them.
    Last edit by funtimes on Nov 26, '12 : Reason: more info


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