Certified nursing assistants (CNA) are some of the most in-demand careers in the health care field right now.
With thousands of job openings around the United States, every hospital, clinic, office, and medical institution has a need for CNAs that are ready for the workplace.
There’s just one question — how do you get all of the CNAs to the employers who need them?
The answer lies in teachers like you!
If you’re responsible for teaching future CNAs, these are the five best strategies you can use to get the most possible students certified for the workplace.
1. Answer the Big Question: What Is a CNA?
The beginning of a CNA course is important because it’s the time you need to get every student on the same page.
To start, that means making sure every student knows what CNA actually means so students can determine they’re on the right career path.
That may mean that you have some students drop out of your course early in the year. While that sounds bad, it’s actually a good problem to have.
When students leave your course early, it means they’ve figured out that CNA isn’t the life for them.
Students may discover that they’re not comfortable working in life-and-death situations on a daily basis. They may learn that they’re too squeamish for a lot of the responsibilities required of a CNA.
Others just might not want to go through the certification process.
Regardless, these are all important facts for students to realize before delving too deeply into your course material.
They can move onto something else that they want to learn, and you don’t have to spend time with students who just figured out that your class isn’t for them.
It’s a win-win situation, and you minimize the amount of time you spend with students who don’t want to be in your course.
For the students who remain, you can move into the basics of CNAs.
2. Talk about CNA Duties
You may have touched on a CNA's duties in the last portion of the class. Now, it’s important to dive into the gamut of responsibilities CNAs have when they’re on the job.
That means covering quality of life, patient comfort, patient examination, and medical procedures.
It’s also smart to cover some of the more “basic” responsibilities that CNA students may not think about, like laundry, hygiene, sanitization, and supply inventory.
Then, there are also the clerical responsibilities like notetaking, communication, and record-keeping.
All of this is important for students to know because it illustrates the sheer scope of work that each of them will have to perform as a CNA.
It’s intimidating to learn up front — but future CNAs have to know what their career choice entails so that they’re mentally prepared for your class and the workplace.
The more prepared they are, the better they’ll handle the material you teach!
Still, hearing about their future responsibilities is only the beginning of a CNA student’s education.
As the teacher, you’re in the perfect position to discuss how those responsibilities play out day-to-day in the workplace.
3. Share Your Own Experience
As a former medical professional yourself, you’re a treasure trove rich with experience to share with the next generation of CNAs.
That may sound like another way to say “tell stories,” and it kind of is. While your work stories may just be work stories to you, they’re practical, historical insights into the life of a CNA for your students.
Telling them what you had to do most often, how you felt while doing it, and what surprised you in the workplace are all great places to start.
You can even delve into the more informal aspects of CNA work, like the social bonds you form with other health professionals.
Your experience provides essential context to your students so that they learn more about CNA work than what’s on a paper.
You’re the one who brings that information to life with real-world examples and stories.
You’ll have dozens of opportunities to share your experiences with students throughout the course. Each story you tell has the potential to connect with students and inspire them to move forward.
It’s also a great way to show students the importance of different duties they learn to perform.
Is there a single procedure you learned that saved someone’s life? Did your cleaning habits help a patient recover more easily?
All of this is a stellar opportunity for your students to learn more about their future careers.
You also gain the benefit of connecting personally with students, which can lead to a fulfilling, lifelong relationship as your students mature in their careers.
And all you have to do is tell your truth as a CNA.
4. Prep Students for the CNA Exam
The most pivotal moment for a CNA student is their certification exam.
This exam is typically administered by a third party that varies depending on your state’s requirements.
Still, the exam opens the doors for a CNA student to start their career.
As a result, it’s crucial that you help as many of them pass as you can.
The first way to do this is with traditional test prep materials. They can cost a lot of money though, especially if you have students take multiple practice tests.
Those costs add up so much that most schools can’t afford to prep students for a test more than once, if at all!
So how can you prep students for the most important exam they’ll take in their careers?
5. Incorporate a Digital Curriculum into Your Class
A digital curriculum is an online tool that’s designed to help you build courses, incorporate work, and track students all in one location.
In a nutshell, you can run your whole class from a computer without ever picking up a pen.
Plus, the interactive lessons, automatic grading, and pre-made materials turn planning into a breeze.
Digital curriculum only has one cost associated with it as well. So unlike test prep materials, you don’t have to worry about buying additional materials for students.
Even better, students can learn at their own individual paces, and they can redo work as much as they want.
That doesn’t mean test prep materials are all bad. In fact, they can be a great supplement to your classroom so students can pass one major test.
But when you use a digital curriculum, your results speak for themselves.
For one teacher, those results included a 100% pass rate when her class took the CNA exam.
Get Your Students CNA Certified!
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