Certified Nursing Assistant Courses and Classes Overview

A certified nursing assistant (CNA) takes care of patients' basic needs, including bathing and feeding, and provide support to other medical professionals. These courses are usually taken through a full training program.

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Essential Information

Certified nursing assistant courses are typically offered through short-term, state-approved programs that may lead to a certificate. These programs are frequently found at community colleges and technical schools. They may be completed in just a matter of weeks, and schools often offer flexible scheduling for classes. Applicants must meet specific medical requirements and be physically able to perform the job duties to enroll.

CNA courses include a combination of lectures and laboratory practice. Students may complete some of the coursework online, although they will need to travel to campus for laboratory practice. After completing their courses, students in CNA programs do some supervised clinical work through an externship at a medical care facility. Graduates have to pass their state competency exam to get the title of CNA.

List of Courses

CNA training programs have some of the coursework explained below.

Fundamentals of Nursing Course Description

Many certified nursing assistant (CNA) programs include courses that cover the fundamentals of nursing. Students are introduced to a variety of health-related topics, especially the role of the nursing assistant in the overall nursing process. They also begin to address the legal and ethical issues inherent at this level of patient care. Upon completion, students should understand the nursing process as it applies to certified nursing assistants.

Anatomy and Physiology Course

This certified nursing assistant course familiarizes students with the basics of the human body and its functions, as well as the human body's response to certain medications. Groundwork is layed for students who are interested in continuing their educations by becoming licensed nurses or entering some other area of health care. Through anatomy and physiology courses, students become familiar with the entire body, helping them understand the necessity of certain medical procedures.

CNA Course Description

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) requires certified nursing assistants to be graduates of accredited, 260-hour courses. These courses rarely vary in their implementation and prepare graduates for the nursing assistant certification exam. Certified nursing assistant candidates will have to be proficient in technical skills, such as taking vital signs, tracking patient progress through charts and performing certain emergency procedures. Certified nursing assistant courses also address the complex social, legal and ethical issues that result from the prolonged care provided by certified nursing assistants. Good bedside manner is developed through interpersonal communication practice and knowledge of patients' rights, resident care procedures and rehabilitation. Most certified nursing assistant courses also lay the groundwork for acceptance into licensed vocational nurse (LVN) or registered nurse (RN) programs.

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