Advice for a future CNA student? :)


Hello everyone!

I'm a pre-nursing student and this summer I'm going to be taking a CNA class so I can start accumulating experience in nursing. I'm actually applying this summer to be accepted to an accelerated bachelors degree program in the fall. I've known a lot of nursing students that have worked as CNA's throughout school and they said it really helped them get ahead in school and gain experience.

My question is, do you any of you in a CNA class now or are now working have any advice for what I should expect in this class? What is the best way to study this kind of material and what is the best way to study/practice your skills? Are there any study skills that helped you retain information better? I'm a huge organization freak as well...So how did you all stay organized? I feel like I'll have a little bit of an edge in this class because I've taken both A&P courses, so I'm familiar with the body and how it functions. I know that there is a whole chapter on basic A&P in our syllabus and the program adviser told me that its the most difficult section for most people because a lot of them haven't started their prerequisite classes yet. What I'm most nervous about is clinicals though! :nailbiting: What should I expect? How did you all keep your cool the first couple of times you had clinicals? I'm afraid of forgetting things and just not knowing what to do!

Looking forward to hearing what you all have to say!

- Maddie


99 Posts

I'm a pre-nursing student looking to take a CNA course over the summer as well. I know I didn't answer your question, just wanted to tell you that I wish you the best of luck and that you will do fine! :)


4 Posts

I've just started a CNA course last week, and so far, its very basic. I too am a pre-nursing student. I start nursing school in the fall. All the pre-reqs I've taken seem to be very helpful towards my CNA. It could be b/c this is my first week. I have my first test on Monday and the teacher said its only 25 questions. and the modules we have covered so far (7 in a week) didnt cover anything that I havent already learned in A&P. Best of luck to both of you on your journey!


34 Posts

Has 3 years experience.

Learn from the class, but know that it's an entirely different beast to be working as a CNA on your own. I've been working as a CNA for long enough now. I barely remember class. You will need to adapt to your facility. Also, if you're going to be an RN, remember your time as a CNA. And burnout is a painful reality.


234 Posts

Thank you all for your input! @breezycna, I have been told that it is very different actually working as a CNA...Thankfully I have a few personal connections to people at a facility that likes to hire new CNA's and that offers a sort of "orientation period" and they told me they can help me get a position there. I'm very nervous about what it will be like to be on my own when I get my first job!


238 Posts

Specializes in Acute Rehab, Neuro/Trauma, Dialysis.

Right now just focus on what is in front of you which is the CNA program itself. If you are applying for an accelerated program I am assuming that you have graduated with a BA or a BS so the course work that goes with being a CNA should not be a big issue for you, a lot of it is common sense. Most of my clinicals were done side by side with a CNA, we did the work load together and as I gained experience they would let me have a few patients of my own. It is true that there is a lot to remember when being a CNA but ask a lot of questions (even if i annoys people ;) ) and take advantage of every opertunity you are given to gain experience. The more experience you gain the easier it is to remember what was learned in the class room. Good Luck! :)

Specializes in Med/Surg,Cardiac. Has 1 years experience.

During high school I took a CNA course that was 2 nights a week and eventually had clinical on Saturday's for a month or so. It was very simple and didn't require much studying. I think the most difficult thing at that time was a manual BP which was easier with practice. Ask questions and you'll do great. Good luck!

~ No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent -Eleanor Roosevelt ~


30 Posts

Like breezycna said, please know that you learn lots of great information in class, however in the real life situations you have to learn to adapt. I will say that actually being certified gives you an edge at work. I work at a hospital where they hire pca's (uncertified aides that only have BLS) and without training they struggled more in orientation whereas I orientated for about 3 days, then took on my own set of pt's. one thing I do remember about clinicals was, the first two days, I just followed the cna that worked at the ltcf and then after that I was on my own. My first day by myself, I went in the pt's bathroom, looked in the mirror, and asked myself *** was I doing lol! I think the main thing is ... Just believe in yourself, believe that you can do this, and remember that in clinicals you have a TON of help. If you're not comfortable doing something on your own, ask the cna that works there. Oh yea, just enjoy yourself &dont stress over class ... It's pretty much common sense!


234 Posts

Wow thanks for all the replies everyone!! Ok so I have a question for those of you who are working CNA's...What does an average day look like at work for you?


238 Posts

Specializes in Acute Rehab, Neuro/Trauma, Dialysis.

It depends on the shift and the facility...


6-7:30 get the pts. up: bed baths (usually 1-2 showers/whilpools), dress them, transfer them, brush teeth/dentures, offer the bathroom make the bed and clean up your mess, assist with tv or move into hallway until breakfast. x this by 6 (at least at my facility).

7:30-9 pass breakfast, first on the floor then in the dinning room, and then assist the residents that need to be fed

9-11:00 assist pts to bathroom, then to bed/therapy/activity (depending on the pts schedule)

11-11:30 assist pt to bathroom and then get them ready for lunch (brush hair, teeth, make sure clothes are still clean ect.)

11:30-1 pass lunch, first on the floor then in the dinning room, and then assist the residents that need to be fed.

1-2:00 assist pts to bathroom, then to bed/therapy/activity (depending on the pts schedule)

2-2:30 do charting and give report to the next shift

Evnings: LTC

2-3:00 get report from the previous shift, pass linens (towels and wash cloths), finish anything that days was not able to complete (vitals, striping beds, laying people down, ect)

3-4:30 assist pt to bathroom and then get them ready for dinner (brush hair, teeth, make sure clothes are still clean ect.), this is based on who laid down first, and who wants to get up first.

4:30-6 pass dinner first on the floor then in the dinning room, and then assist pts that need to be fed

6-9 assist residents to bed: bed baths, offer the bathroom, transfer them, brush their teeth, put away wheel chair, clean up mess, place clothes in dirty laundry ect. x this by 12 (at least at my facility)

9-10 do charts (there are twice as many as days) and do rounds (changing briefs of incontinent pts and checking rooms to make sure they are clean and you did not forget anything)

10-10:30 do rounds with night shift and give report.

Nights: (LTC)

10-11 Do rounds, get report, and complete anything the evening shift was unable to.

11-12 double check rooms to make sure tab/bed alarms are on, bathrooms are clean, garbage to taken out ect.

12-1 do first round (20ish pts)

1-2 Find the wheelchairs of the patients getting a shower the next day and any other chair that needs cleaning and wash them in the shower room, also check buckets to see that they are clean and replace anything that is empty such as shampoo, soap ect.

2-3 Do secound rounds (20ish pts.)

3-4 Do charting on what you have done so far, take vitals if needed, file away monthly paper work, (whatever little things that seem to go undone by the other shifts)

4-5 do last rounds (20ish pts)

5-6 wash 4 people (bed baths, shaving, teeth, dress, ect.) and finish charting

6-6:30 give report and assist with any transfers of the people you washed.

With all these shift you are completeing these tasks all while answering telaphones, call lights, alarms, plus doing what ever menial task the nurse does not want/does not have the time to do, as well as dealing with difficult pts/family members.


234 Posts

Wow thanks so much for being so descriptive! Sounds like a lot of hard work! But I'm up for it! :)


30 Posts

My nights at the hospital are 6p to 6:30 am and something like this

6- get report on pt's from day CNA, visit all pt's &introduce myself

7:30- start 8pm vitals, safety checks, change pt's as needed, pass diabetic snacks, turn hospice pt's chart

10- safety checks, bed alarms on, turn hospice pt's, change as needed, chart

11:20 ish- start 12 vitals (all pt's), safety checks, turn hospice pt's, change as needed

12:30 ish- chart, take break (on a smooth night)

1:30- safety checks, turn hospice pt's, change as needed

2- chart (usually after this we have a bit of down time)

3:30- start 4am vitals, turn hospice pt's, get daily weights, change as needed, safety checks

4- chart

5-6 usually just answer call lights &wait for the ay CNA's to make it in

6:15- give report

(In between answer call lights, accept new admits, and help out the nurses... )