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CNA Courses with Comprehensive Course Descriptions

Courses to become CNAs are widely available at community colleges, technical schools and universities. Training courses are designed to prepare CNA candidates for the CNA certification exam in their state. These courses result in a certificate or diploma and can usually be completed in 4-8 weeks.

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Essential Information

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs), sometimes called certified nursing aides, provide basic hands-on care to patients in long-term care facilities, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and even patients' own homes. The training consists of classroom and supervised clinical work to allow students to practice their nursing assistant skills. Some of the topics you will study in these courses are as follows:

  • Feeding and hygiene
  • Taking vitals
  • Chronically ill patients
  • Hospice care
  • Legal issues
  • Patient observation
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Nutrition

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List of CNA Courses

Basic CNA Course

This foundational CNA course is typically one semester in length, combining lecture, laboratory and clinical coursework. Students develop basic nursing skills like taking vital signs. They learn to observe and record patient health changes, such as eye dilation or breathing changes. Another CNA duty that students practice is spotting and clearing safety hazards from patient rooms.

A basic CNA class also covers patient care topics like assisting patients with mobility, feeding, hygiene and toileting. Many CNAs work in long-term care facilities for the elderly and chronically ill. Thus, a comprehensive CNA course may include a section on respite care and death. Many states permit students to take the CNA certification exam upon completion of this course alone.

Long-Term Care Course

Skills learned in this course focus on the special needs and issues related to caring for aged or chronically ill patients. Learning to communicate with elderly patients and their families is emphasized. Legal issues of long-term care patients and hospice care may be included in this course. This course may be substituted for the general CNA course in some states.

Acute Care Course

CNA acute care courses focus on patients suffering from sudden or short-term illness or injury. These classes prepare current CNAs to work in an emergency room or other short-term care facility, assisting registered nurses (RNs) and other health care personnel. Students refine skills learned in the general or long-term care CNA courses, such as measuring vital signs. Certified nursing assistants in this class become skilled at observing patients for discomfort and pain.

The CNA acute care curriculum also covers anatomy and physiology, infection control and safety procedures in an acute care setting. This course is typically taken by current CNAs. It is commonly referred to as a CNA level 2 course.

Home Health Care Aide Course

In some states a certified home health aide (CHHA) is defined as a CNA with additional training in home health care. This course is designed for current certified nursing aides interested in working with home-bound patients. Instructors address the legal and practical aspects of caring for patients in their own homes. CNA students learn about nutritional needs, family issues, cleanliness and care tasks through classroom instruction and hands-on training.

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