Certified nursing assistant or nurse's aide (CNA) training prepares students to deliver routine health and patient care under the direction of nurses or other medical professionals. All CNA distance learning training courses require a blended format; most have assignments that are completed electronically, with labs and clinical training completed in person. Students looking for a fully online alternative can earn a medical assistant degree without having to complete on-campus requirements.
Online training for CNAs focuses on providing the knowledge and skills needed to give supervised patient care and prepare for state certification exams. Drug screening, criminal background checks and immunization records are usually required. These programs can typically be completed in under six months and may include around 100 class contact hours.
In a distance learning CNA program, procedures for measuring, recording and reporting patients' vital signs like temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respiration are taught. Students gain familiarity with common chronic and acute conditions requiring the care of a CNA, along with standards of acute and long-term care. Training also usually covers common practices and workflows of hospitals, nursing homes and home care settings. Lessons in a hybrid CNA course or program can include the following topics:
- Helping patients and clients perform personal tasks like bathing, dressing and eating
- Assisting patients with mobility and properly positioning them sitting or lying down
- Infection control
- Record-keeping standards
- Legal issues and professional ethics
Information and Requirements
Admission requirements vary by school and state. For instance, some hybrid CNA programs require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED, while others only require them to earn satisfactory scores on reading placement tests. Schools typically require CNA students to undergo drug screenings and criminal background checks; they also must submit immunization records. Students generally have to purchase several items by the time training starts, including textbooks, clinical kits, vital sign devices (like blood pressure monitors) and scrubs.
Students enrolled in a CNA training program conducted online typically earn a certificate. Programs usually have set start dates, and learning takes place through lectures and coursework exchanged by e-mail or an electronic course management system. Some programs offer video lectures or DVDs in which instructors demonstrate techniques and procedures for performing typical CNA job responsibilities.
Hybrid programs include scheduled on-campus classes and/or lab activities for hands-on training. Students are then required to gain clinical experience in a real healthcare setting. Schools usually are affiliated with certain medical centers, but distance learning programs may allow students to complete the clinical work at an approved facility in their area. To be eligible for clinical experiences, CNA students typically need CPR certification and liability insurance.
CNA training programs, while available online, typically require in-person training and labs. These exercises prepare students for the routine patient care they are expected to provide as nursing assistants and nurse's aides.