Techniques You Have Used to Learn C.N.A. Skills

  1. I am in a C.N.A. class right now, currently in the skills lab part of the program. I have been put into a group of 2 other people who currently already work in the field and know how to correctly do the skills. I on the other hand, have never worked in this field so everything is very new to me.

    So, what is happening to me during lab is that they tend to take short cuts and skip a lot of the steps because they know they will pass the state test and also know that the "real world" isn't as strict so they just half-a@# do things. So now, I am not only loose two chances of seeing the skill done correctly, I also don't have their attention to help me through the process. And to top this off, we only had two days of introduction to the 25 skills we must learn and half of the skills where not demonstrated by the teacher. Next week, we are doing check offs for each skill to see what we know. We will not get to practice at all. To make this even worse for me, I have no one to guide me through the skills or to practice on at home because my husband works nights and the bed is occupied during the day with him sleeping.

    So here are things I was wondering.

    1. Is it possible to memorize the check off sheets provided and be able to pass the skills test? I am trying this but when I actually do the skill I seem to go blank because I have only done the skill once.

    2. How many of you actually were given the skills that had many steps like bedmaking or others that had 30 or so things to remember as part of the 5 you were to test for on the skills test? I read through threads and it seems that most are getting the shorter skills but was wondering if there were some that got the long, drawn out skills instead because these are the ones I do a belly flop on and get lost.

    3. On the blood pressure skill: I have a hard time hearing the brachial pulse until you get way up there with the pumping, say 120 or so. Should I be hearing the thumbing way before that, say like at 80? We have to pump up 30 mm after the brachial thump stops so I need to understand.

    4. How in the world did you handle having someone there watching your every move? Sometimes even the entire class of 13 and my teacher...this freaks me out, again causing my mind to go blank.

    5. How many of you were tested with the headmaster people. They gave us a book and the teacher told us not to go by it but rather do his list that probably adds 10 more steps than they are listing on each skill. The skills in the book are a lot more manageable for me and I get this easily but afraid if I depend on it for passing they may fail me. I feel like my teacher is giving us extra steps that we don't need to pass but will help "boost" us so that we set ourselves higher than the reccomended....understand what I mean?

    As you can see, I am worried, anxious and afraid I will fail. Am I worrying too much? My skills test is in about 2 weeks.
    Last edit by itsmyturn on Dec 2, '07
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   itsmyturn
    No, help? O.k., i guess I am overthinking, wish me luck in passing anyway would you please! Thanks.
  4. by   rebelette10
    Hi,
    Although I know nothing about your situation, I will wish you well! Hope everything goes great for you and shame on your partners who are letting you miss out on the correct way of doing things. They must have forgotten they were once in your shoes. Goodluck!!

    Konnie:spin:
  5. by   PBAJS
    when i did my cna class, i used index cards. i took the cards with me, while waiting in the supermarket checkout line, drive-thru for burger, coffee, bank ... i would pull out the cards and review.

    practicing the skills: i used the kitchen table - large towels for sheets and blankets, a large doll (or stuff a pillow case), for making unoccupied/occupied bed, bathing, repositioning, etc.; blood pressures - relatives, friends, anyone - "i am in a cna class and i need practice doing blood pressures. because i am learning, i will not tell you the readings as the numbers may not be accurate." i was at the hairdresser reviewing my cards and had the cuff and stethoscope with me ... my hairdresser and a few of her customers allowed me to practice doing bps.

    how many of you actually were given the skills that had many steps ...
    one was easy ... oral temperature. the others were bedmaking, transferring from wheelchair to bed (remember to lock the wheels), bathing while in bed, range of motion.

    on the blood pressure skill: i have a hard time hearing the brachial pulse until ...

    read this topic ...
    blood pressure - allnurses.com nursing for nurses
    http://allnurses.com/forums/f265/blo...re-239317.html

    how in the world did you handle having someone there watching your every move?
    i was able to mentally ignore the watchers by taking a long deep breath ... while thinking about the steps for that skill.
    if it was, say, making an occupied/unoccupied bed, bathing, i would imagine myself all alone at home at that kitchen table.
    if it was, say, blood pressure, i had practiced enough that i was confident in what i was going to do, but was still concerned about if i was doing the it correctly.

    as you can see, i am worried, anxious and afraid i will fail. am i worrying too much? my skills test is in about 2 weeks.
    been there, done that. i did forget a few things (no one in the class was perfect, and some made many mistakes).

  6. by   SweetLily
    Please please please do tell more about the index cards!

    Thanks!
  7. by   avery157
    Please forgive my bad typing.
    OK, I have taught the CNA class for 10 years and I know where you are coming from. Headmaster is a BAD testing agency but of course you are stuck with them. We had them for a year in CO. and their skills steps in the handbook are pitiful. But again that is no help to you. Your friends in class will not pass if they do their short cuts. The RN grading has a list of steps of the skill in front of her and if you don't do the step you are counted off. How many steps you can miss before you fail even she does not know.
    If you have any questions you can call Headmaster and they will answer them. Your instructor did not have to add more steps. It will not hurt if you do them but it won't make you pass either.
    On bloodpressure you need to pump it up between 160-180mmHg. I have all my students buy their own cuff and scope so they can practice all the time. The video will show you how to do bloodpressures. (allheart.com sells them pretty cheap)
    If you don't have anyone to practice on at home you can use a doll or teddybear and still learn.
    In most states if you fail the skills you can take it again. Not that you want to think about failing but I tell my students that it is not the end of the world. We all fail at stuff all the time, just don't quit! Take if again and most of the time they pass the second time because they know what to expect.
    I have other tips on the website on preparing for the test. Good Luck!!
    Last edit by jb2u on Dec 3, '07 : Reason: TOS Violation
  8. by   itsmyturn
    Thanks for all the clues friends, much appreciated for sure! I think I am over stressing because we checked off on half of them today and I actually did pretty good, only missing 1-2 steps on certain longer skills but none of them the bold ones required to remember or you automatically fail.

    I also did better on the teacher breathing down my neck as well so that is good. And, I requested to be moved to a more serious group which the teacher did and that helped a lot.

    When I did my blood pressure thing today, the person who listened with me actually got the same reading as I did so maybe, just maybe, I am on the right track...we will see when I take my skills test for that Thursday. We are not allowed to pump up to 160 or 180 anymore, it has to be 30 mm above the time the last brachial thump was heard because Dr.s have found that people where blowing artery walls because they were putting too much pressure on them so I will just have to work on that by practicing, hopefully it will all work out for me.

    I just want to get on with this class and start my LPN class which begins in January...I just can't get into this class as much because I know it is not the ending only the beginning and want to be learning a lot more than just feeding and taking care of the resident. And thanks very much for the link to the blood pressure threads, much appreciated and thanks for wishing me luck!
  9. by   pumpkin92356
    When you actually get out there working on the floor with other nursing assistants etc. you are going to see many things done using shortcuts. A lot of these shortcuts are definitely wrong because they can cause injuries to your back and possibly endanger the resident. One example I see all the time at just about every facility I have ever worked at (I have been CNA for 30 years) is not using proper transferring techniques , not using gait belts or proper lifting in bed etc. all in the name of time frames usually put on the cnas to have this person or that person up at a certain time etc. Get a approved CNA training manual and look up the procedures. Most of them are given in numbered steps these steps are the correct way of doing the skills you will be required to do to pass your test. One skill that is on every CNA certification exam is hand washing the correct way to wash your hands. The most important thing that the testing people look for is things like dignity of the resident at all times. Making sure that you are providing safe care to yourself and the resident at all times. Did you knock on the door and ask permission to enter the room. Did you use the residents name respectfully such as Mr. or Mrs. did you wash your hands before and after providing the care. When I took my test in 1985 when OBRA required that nursing assistants be certified I was given 5 tasks one was hand washing second was giving a resident a bedpan who was paralysed on the left side. Brushing the residents hair was the third one and the fourth and fifth was taking blood pressure and weighing the resident. This is just an example so dont be nervous just read that manual and do it the way it is written.
  10. by   bethin
    1. Is it possible to memorize the check off sheets provided and be able to pass the skills test? I am trying this but when I actually do the skill I seem to go blank because I have only done the skill once.
    Anything is possible. For me though, repetively doing the action helps me more than memorizing lists. You don't want to memorize but learn. Two different things.

    2. How many of you actually were given the skills that had many steps like bedmaking or others that had 30 or so things to remember as part of the 5 you were to test for on the skills test? I read through threads and it seems that most are getting the shorter skills but was wondering if there were some that got the long, drawn out skills instead because these are the ones I do a belly flop on and get lost.
    We picked a card from a stack. Luck of the draw! All skills were in there, with 3 skills listed on a card. I think I got (it's been 7 years) backrub, ROM, and oral care.

    3. On the blood pressure skill: I have a hard time hearing the brachial pulse until you get way up there with the pumping, say 120 or so. Should I be hearing the thumbing way before that, say like at 80? We have to pump up 30 mm after the brachial thump stops so I need to understand.
    I'm confused. Do you mean systolic or diastolic? I'll hear it as I'm pumping up but I don't pay attention to it. I only pay attention when I'm releasing air. As far as pumping up 30mm after thumping stops, we weren't taught that way. But do it the way you were. I was taught to pump up to ~160. If you immediately hear a heartbeat pump up more.

    4. How in the world did you handle having someone there watching your every move? Sometimes even the entire class of 13 and my teacher...this freaks me out, again causing my mind to go blank.
    Deep breaths. I told myself that it was temporary. Kind of like going to the dentist.

    5. How many of you were tested with the headmaster people. They gave us a book and the teacher told us not to go by it but rather do his list that probably adds 10 more steps than they are listing on each skill. The skills in the book are a lot more manageable for me and I get this easily but afraid if I depend on it for passing they may fail me. I feel like my teacher is giving us extra steps that we don't need to pass but will help "boost" us so that we set ourselves higher than the reccomended....understand what I mean?
    I know what you mean but I didn't have that problem. Is there someone else you can speak to? Also, I have found state websites that list rules and regulations. You might do a search.

    As you can see, I am worried, anxious and afraid I will fail. Am I worrying too much? My skills test is in about 2 weeks.
    Another idea: change the bed with your husband in it.

    Good luck!
  11. by   chickapea
    Hi,

    I think I also was taught a little different on taking a BP. I was taught to pump up 30 mm above where I last felt the Radial pulse instead of hearing the brachial pulse. This is very easy and then you listen for the brachial systolic/diastolic pulses. I don't know if it is a option where you are, but for us it's standard.

    I like the suggestion of using your sleeping husband to make an occupied bed... perfect. He may even act confused or combative, providing even more practice! Good luck... you'll do fine.

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