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How to Use HealthCenter21 in a CNA Course

August 18th, 2020 | 15 min. read

Kristin Savko

Kristin Savko

Being part of the AES curriculum team for over a decade, Kristin has experience in almost every aspect of the curriculum development process. She most enjoys problem solving, breaking down ideas, making connections for learners, graphic visualization, and typography.

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As a health science curriculum developer, we work with thousands of CTE instructors every year.

One of the most common types of courses these health science instructors teach is nursing assistant, with a significant focus on preparing their students for CNA certification.

Because of this, teachers often ask how our curriculum HealthCenter21 can be used in a CNA course.

To help answer this question, we’ve put together a list of learning modules that teachers like you use in their CNA classes to prepare students for success on certification exams and their careers.

In this article, we'll share an overview of the modules we recommend for a CNA class and which CNA topics and skills they cover.

Before we get into the details, let’s review how the HealthCenter21 curriculum is structured to help you successfully implement these modules in your classes.

How Is the HealthCenter21 Curriculum Structured?

HealthCenter21 is a digital curriculum with more than 1,000 curriculum hours of content organized into learning modules.

Each module focuses on an overarching healthcare topic and is structured according to the learning plan we refer to as “the four phases.”

The four phases of the HealthCenter21 curriculum are:aes-course-framework-four-phase-curriculum

  1. Explore
  2. Learn & Practice
  3. Reflect
  4. Reinforce

The Explore Phase includes teacher-led activities designed to hook your students’ interest.

These activities help get your students thinking and prime them for learning new concepts and skills in the later phases of the module.

The Learn & Practice Phase has teacher resources and student-directed eLearning lessons to help students learn new concepts and skills.

This phase is where the bulk of student learning takes place and where you’ll find most of the NNAAP CNA exam coverage.

The Reflect Phase includes teacher-led activities designed to review and discuss key ideas from the eLearning lessons.

This review helps students connect the concepts they learned to their existing knowledge and experience. The Reflect Phase activities help your students form long-lasting information retention.

The Reinforce Phase is made of student-directed projects to enhance the understanding of concepts and skills further.

During this phase, students work independently or in groups to complete projects that require the application of the concepts learned from the module.

Overall, this four-phase learning plan maximizes your students’ understanding of the concepts and skills within each module.

But what’s the best way to leverage the four phases when using the modules to teach your CNA lessons?

How to Implement HealthCenter21 Modules in a CNA Class

The best implementation for you will depend on the needs of your unique class and students. 

Based on conversations with teachers like you, they tell us that using a combination of seven strategies works best:

  1. Introduce key concepts with teacher presentations
  2. Assign Learn & Practice lessons as classwork
  3. Rotate groups between digital and hands-on work
  4. Assign Learn & Practice lessons as homework
  5. Present the Learn & Practice lessons to the class
  6. Assign reflection questions as homework
  7. Assign current event reports as homework

To learn how teachers like you implement these strategies, read this article: The AES Course Framework: A Four-Phase Curriculum.

Now that you understand the four-phase curriculum and how you can leverage it, let’s dive into which HealthCenter21 modules you should use in your CNA classes.

Which Curriculum Modules Should You Use In a CNA Class?

The HealthCenter21 modules recommended for teaching a CNA course are:

  1. Body Mechanics
  2. Behavioral Health
  3. Client Status
  4. Cultural, Social, and Ethnic Diversity
  5. Infection Control
  6. Nutrition and Elimination
  7. Patient Comfort
  8. Rehabilitation and Restorative Care
  9. Safety Precautions
  10. Special Populations
  11. The Health Assistant

This list is based on the modules that align with the NNAAP CNA exam topics and the order of modules is not designed to be a teaching sequence.

These recommendations are a starting point to help you develop your CNA syllabus and teaching plan when using HealthCenter21.

In some cases, your students may have worked through one or more of these modules in a prior course. If that's the case you may decide to not include it in your CNA class.

Additionally, you may choose to include additional modules in your CNA classes to meet your course requirements and the needs of your students.

With that, let’s dive into what each module consists of and how they align with the NNAAP CNA exam topics.

Download the National Health Science Assessment Guide

1. The Body Mechanics Modulecatalog-body-mechanics

The Body Mechanics module provides students with an overview of the correct ways to move the body to prevent injuries to themselves and patients.

The Body Mechanics module helps prepare students for four items on the NNAAP CNA exam:

  • Therapeutic and technical procedures
  • Prevention concerning restorative skills
  • Positioning patients on their side
  • Transferring a patient from bed to wheelchair, using a transfer belt

2. The Behavioral Health Modulecatalog-behavioral-health

The Behavioral Health module exists to help students gain knowledge of various behavioral health issues, develop a better understanding of what sufferers might be experiencing, and prepare to handle subsequent problems with patients in the workforce.

The Behavioral Health module helps prepare students for the NNAAP CNA exam by focusing on:

  • Emotional health needs of patients
  • Mental health needs of patients

3. The Client Status Modulecatalog-client-status

The Client Status module provides an overview of the importance of body measurements and vital signs. 

Students learn about body measurements for adults and infants, including the methods used for taking and recording temperature, pulse, respiration, and blood pressure.

The Client Status module teaches students five items found on the NNAAP CNA exam:

  • Therapeutic and technical procedures
  • Count and record radial pulse
  • Count and record respirations
  • Measure and record weight of an ambulatory client
  • Measure and record manual blood pressure

4. The Cultural, Social, and Ethnic Diversity Modulecatalog-cultural-social-ethnic-diversity

The Cultural, Social, and Ethnic Diversity module prepares students for the workforce by providing an overview of different types of diversity and the importance of respectful and empathetic treatment for all patients.

The Cultural, Social, and Ethnic Diversity module can help students prepare for the NNAAP CNA exam by covering:

  • Spiritual needs of patients
  • Cultural needs of patients

5. The Infection Control Modulecatalog-infection-control

The Infection Control module provides an overview of the importance of protecting oneself and others from disease-causing microorganisms. 

Within this module, students learn about microorganisms, asepsis, hand washing, basic equipment cleaning, autoclaving, personal protective equipment, sterile technique, and transmission-based precautions. 

Students also practice donning and removing protective garments and working in an isolation unit.

The Infection Control module helps prepare students for three items on the NNAAP CNA exam:

  • Infection control procedures
  • Prevention of diseases
  • Donning and removing personal protective equipment (PPE)

6. The Nutrition and Elimination Modulecatalog-nutrition-elimination

The Nutrition and Elimination module provides an overview of how nutrition and elimination relate to the overall health of a patient. 

Students learn how to assist patients with meals and meeting elimination needs. They also measure and record intake and output.

The Nutrition and Elimination module teaches eight concepts and skills found on the NNAAP CNA exam:

  • Nutrition and hydration
  • Elimination
  • Data collection and reporting of intake and output
  • Spiritual and cultural needs in relation to diets
  • Assisting with the use of bedpan
  • Feeding client who cannot self-feed
  • Measuring and recording urinary output
  • Providing catheter care for a female patient

7. The Patient Comfort Modulecatalog-patient-comfort

The Patient Comfort module provides an introduction to procedures related to personal patient care. Students learn both morning and evening care procedures. 

They also learn how to observe patients for abnormalities and how to document and report those findings.

The Patient Comfort module helps students prepare for nine items on the NNAAP CNA exam:

  • Patient hygiene
  • Dressing and grooming
  • Rest, sleep, and comfort
  • Cleaning upper or lower denture
  • Dressing a client with an affected (weak) right arm
  • Giving a modified bed bath
  • Providing foot care
  • Providing mouth care
  • Providing perineal care for a female patient

8. The Rehabilitation and Restorative Care Modulecatalog-rehabilitation-restorative-care

The Rehabilitation and Restorative Care module provides an overview of how to promote patient independence. 

Students learn how to teach activities of daily living, assist patients in using ambulation devices, perform range of motion exercises, apply heat and cold applications and binders, and more.

The Rehabilitation and Restorative Care module includes content that covers seven items on the NNAAP CNA exam:

  • Elimination
  • Therapeutic and technical procedures
  • Prevention concerning restorative skills
  • Applying knee-high elastic stockings
  • Assisting to ambulate using transfer belt
  • Performing modified passive range of motion for knee and ankle
  • Performing modified passive range of motion for shoulder

9. The Safety Precautions Modulecatalog-safety-precautions

The Safety Precautions module provides an overview of safety techniques and the steps for greeting and identifying patients in a healthcare facility. 

Students use the Internet to research safety regulations from OSHA, the FDA, and the EPA. They also demonstrate how to report safety violations by filing an event report.

The Safety Precautions module helps students prepare for two areas of the NNAAP CNA exam:

  • Safety precautions
  • Prevention in relation to restorative skills

10. The Special Populations Modulecatalog-special-populations

The Special Populations module provides an overview of caring for unique patient population groups, identifying illnesses and disorders common to these groups, and discovering ways to adapt care and establish positive relationships with patients. 

Students also learn about patient restraint procedures and alternatives to restraints.

The Special Populations module helps prepare students for the NNAAP CNA exam by covering three topics:

  • Emotional and mental health needs
  • Spiritual and cultural needs
  • Communication

11. The Health Assistant Modulecatalog-health-assistant

The Health Assistant module provides an overview of the role and responsibilities of health assistant occupations.

This includes professionalism, scope of practice, confidentiality, consent, ethics, safety, and standard precautions.

The Health Assistant module helps prepare students for seven areas of the NNAAP CNA exam:

  • Safety precautions
  • Data collection and reporting
  • Communication
  • Client rights
  • Legal and ethical behavior
  • Being a member of the health care team
  • Hand hygiene

Prepare Your Students to Become Certified Nursing Assistants with HealthCenter21

Overall, these modules are our best recommendations for using HealthCenter21 to teach CNA classes.

By incorporating them into your classes and leveraging the four-phase curriculum, you’re on your way to preparing your students for success on the certification exam and their careers!

For more detailed information on using HealthCenter21 to prepare students for the NNAAP CNA exam, download your free certification guide:

Download the National Health Science Assessment Guide