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Health Science | High School | Nurse Assisting

The 6 Best Nursing Assistant Lesson Plans for High School

December 3rd, 2021 | 8 min. read

Bri Stauffer

Bri Stauffer

For nearly 10 years, Bri has focused on creating content to address the questions and concerns educators have about teaching classes, preparing students for certifications, and making the most of the AES curriculum system.

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High school health science teachers are responsible for preparing the next generation of health care workers.

With such an important goal, you need to plan and teach effective lessons - which is difficult if you don’t have a background in education.

While you’re an expert with hands-on nursing skills, putting together nursing assistant lesson plans can be frustrating and time consuming.

To help you better teach these important skills, we’ve put together a list of the six best nursing assistant lesson plans for high school:

  1. The role of a nursing assistant
  2. Qualities of a nursing assistant
  3. HIPAA and scope of practice
  4. Working with the elderly
  5. The path to becoming a certified nursing assistant
  6. Prep your students for the CNA certification exam

In this article, we'll walk you through each nursing assistant lesson and give you some tips to make them your own!

You'll also learn how teachers like you use the AES health science curriculum to teach classes and prepare their students the NNAAP CNA certification.

1. The Role of a Nursing Assistant


Lesson Type: Group Activity & Class Discussion

When introducing a new healthcare career, a great first lesson is discussing the roles and responsibilities of that career.

This may seem like a basic lesson, but many of your students could be unaware of what exactly a nursing assistant does!

You can start with an activity to get your students thinking about the obligations of a certified nursing assistant (CNA). It will involve some work up front by you, but it will keep your students interested and interacting with each other.

Start by listing out different duties that a nursing assistant does. Then make a list of duties that a CNA is not responsible for.

Once your lists are compiled, write each task on a notecard. You'll need at least one notecard for each student in your class.

Pass the notecards around, and then ask students to raise their hand if they have a duty that applies to a nursing assistant. Inevitably, some students will be incorrect - which is to be expected!

After the activity, open the class up for a discussion and time for you to talk about which responsibilities belong to a CNA.

You could even share a few experiences from your career. Using real-life scenarios provides a better context for your students to understand exactly what the role entails!

2. Qualities of a Nursing Assistant


Lesson Type: Lecture & Small Group Work

After you have gone over the tasks and responsibilities of a nursing assistant, tackle the other skills a great CNA should have - soft skills.

In every healthcare profession, soft skills are critical in providing excellent patient care.

To mix up your lesson styles, start this topic by lecturing at the front of class. Talk about important traits such as:

While these skills are important in any industry, you can talk about them in relation to CNA duties - especially if you include your own personal experiences where those skills were critical!

After your lecture, consider having students break into small groups to complete activities to learn further about some of the skills.

One soft skill that lends itself particularly well to group work is communication.

Start by asking each group to list types of communication. Give them a few minutes to collaborate and write their ideas down.

After that, ask them to write how a nursing assistant would use those types of communication with patients and coworkers.

Once each group has written a few ideas, ask students to share what they came up with. This can then transition into a larger class discussion as you see fit!

3. HIPAA and Scope of Practice


Lesson Type: Lecture & Optional Class Discussion

For any health care profession, your students need to understand the laws and scope of practice relating to that career.

Depending on the other health science courses your students have completed, they may know about laws like HIPAA.

Even if this is true, it’s always better to reinforce their knowledge on HIPAA since it is such an important law for health care workers.

Since this is most likely their first class that talks in depth about CNAs, you can provide a lot of detail on the scope of practice. These include details such as whether a nurse assistant can:

  • Identify health problems
  • Plan care
  • Implement care
  • Evaluate care

Because the scope of practice is such an important part of teaching students about CNAs, you will spend a lot of this lesson lecturing about each point.

Encourage your students to ask questions for clarity and better understanding - if one student has a question, others most likely thought about it too.

Depending on how many questions your students have, this lesson could expand into an opportunity for class discussion.

4. Working with the Elderly


Lesson Type: Lecture & Optional Group Work

Many CNAs end up working in long-term care facilities, meaning they will work with geriatric patients. While this can be a difficult topic to teach, it’s an important part of your nursing assistant lessons.

But how do you teach the most appropriate information about this population of patients?

Start out by talking about the unique needs of aging patients. Many students may have never considered the differences of geriatric patients compared to younger ones.

You'll want to cover topics like:

  • The physical effects of aging
  • The emotional effects of aging
  • The special needs of elderly patients

After giving an overview of geriatric patients, talk more in-depth about a nursing assistant’s role in meeting their needs.

You could continue this portion of the lesson as a lecture or ask students to work in groups and come up with their own thoughts of what duties a CNA has with geriatric patients.

Either way, your lesson will end with a class discussion to ensure students clearly understand what it’s like to work with elderly patients!

5. The Path to Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant


Lesson Type: Individual Activity & Class Discussion

Because you may be teaching students about CNAs for the first time, don’t forget to talk to them about the path to becoming a CNA.

That means more than just helping students pass the CNA certification exam.

Students need to understand career opportunities and how to get those jobs, when they have the skills and knowledge!

Start by having your students do individual research on open job opportunities for nursing assistants in your area.

This could be assigned as homework or in-class work, depending on the classroom materials you have available.

During the research, ask your students to note some of the job requirements and credentials needed for the positions.

After your students have done some research, bring everyone together to share their findings.

You can use what they’ve found to spur a discussion on requirements in your area (including your state) for someone to become a CNA.

This can be a great transition into talking about the specifics of the CNA certification exam.

6. Prep Your Students for the CNA Certification Exam


Lesson Type: Choose Your Own

Certification prep is the perfect way to wrap up your CNA lessons. This part of your class is probably the most important when it comes to concrete results.

That means you should spend time figuring out how you want to prepare your students for the exam.

Some teachers go the traditional route and provide students with test prep materials to review on their own. Others will mix it up and try new resources like digital curriculum.

CNA certification prep can be very in-depth, so there is a lot to figure out which path you want to take.

Read this article to help you decide how you want to prep your students for the CNA certification exam!

Where to Go From Here with Your Nursing Assistant Lessons

Armed with your new nursing assistant lesson ideas, you have two options ahead of you.

The first option is to develop your own nursing assistant curriculum.

You could take these lesson ideas and use them as a guide to create your lesson plans, activities, and more.

Building your own curriculum is a great option for a hands-on teacher who wants to fully customize every detail of what their students will learn.

However, this approach can be very time consuming, so won't be the best fit for everyone.

Your second option is to join thousands of other CNA instructors and try out the HealthCenter21 curriculum system.

HealthCenter21 is packed with hours of activities, lessons, assessments, and more to help you teach crucial nurse assisting skills and prepare students for certification.

The curriculum is designed to take your students from zero to certified all while saving you time with planning and grading.

Wondering if HealthCenter21 is a good fit for you and your students? Discover how you can use it to teach a CNA course and prepare students for certification success:

How to Use HealthCenter21 in a CNA Course >