Nurse Aide Registry: Purpose & Components

Instructor: Megan Gilbert

Megan has a master's degree in nursing and is a board certified Women's Health Nurse Practitioner. Her area of clinical focus is the impact of infectious disease on pregnancy. She has experience teaching college allied health classes. She is also a certified EMT and holds a certificate of added qualification in electronic fetal monitoring.

What is the Nurse Aide Registry? What are the requirements? This lesson goes over the needed courses, exams, and how to maintain good standing with the Nurse Aide Registry.

What is the Nurse Aide Registry?

When Trevon was just a kid, his younger sister took a serious fall off her bike when they were out riding. Trevon, usually a shy kid, found he could take the reins and calm his sister down while bandaging up her scraped knees. Ever since, Trevon has known he wanted to help people. He has decided to become nursing assistant.

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) provide care to patients, under the supervision of nurses, in a variety of settings. They work assisting with activities of daily living, hygiene, and socialization in nursing homes, hospices, hospitals, and more.

Trevon is in the process of becoming a CNA, and has heard his instructors talking about the importance of the state Nurse Aide Registry. But what does this mean and why does it matter?

The Nurse Aide Registry is a state-wide listing of all CNAs that have:

  • achieved the level of education deemed necessary to practice safely
  • passed the necessary tests
  • are in good standing with the Registry (they have not lost their right to work as a nurse's aide due to disciplinary action).

The registry is updated regularly to reflect the eligibility of CNAs to practice.

The Nurse Aide Registry is His key to caring for patients and starting on a new, exciting career.
nurse aide


The most important purpose the Nurse Aide Registry is to protect the public. The state database is a convenient place to verify credentials: the registry allows for the combination of course work, examination results, and any clinical practice concerns to be centralized.

Another advantage of having a well organized system of certification is that it allows CNAs to have their certifications endorsed if they move or obtain work in another state. While reciprocity is not guaranteed between states, more states are approving the endorsements as curriculums become more standardized. This makes it easier for CNAs to move without needing to become re-certified.

If Trevon decides he wants to relocate to sunny Florida or escape the heat and move to Washington, this could come in handy in the future.



The first step for Trevon to qualify for the Nurse Aide Registry is to complete the required course work. These classes are offered through the American Red Cross, nursing homes, community colleges, and other local providers. The classes generally last between 4-8 weeks and will help prepare Trevon for his duties as a CNA, and for the examinations to become certified.

The course work will combine classroom learning and clinical time. The clinical time allows Trevon to apply the knowledge he learned during the classroom portion of the course, and make him more confident in his skills.

Current nursing students in Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse programs can often use their Introduction to Clinical Nursing course in place of a traditional CNA course. The nursing school should have more information about this option.

Practical Exam

The practical exam will be Trevon's chance to shine and show off his newly acquired nurse aide skills. The most important part of this exam is to relax, and perform the skills exactly as they were taught (not the faster/easier/smarter way the nurse aide showed him during clinical).

His training program will make Trevon aware of which skills may appear on the practical exam and how many skill stations to expect.

Written Exam

The written, multiple choice exam is administered in either a traditional written format or given orally at the preference of the student. Trevon choses the written, as he think he'll do best that way. Additional accommodations are available for students with documented learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

The examination will cover all the material Trevon learned in class, with emphasis on his ability to safely care for patients in his new role as a nursing aide.

Once both exams are completed, the results will be sent to the state. Trevon passed both tests! He later receives his certification in the mail.

Maintaining Certification

Now that he's certified, Trevon will want to maintain his certification. Some states require continuing education hours. During these education programs he will build on the information he learned in school to better care for his patients.

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