Tips for Mastering the CNA Skills Checklist

The skills on the state exam checklist for Certified Nursing Assistants can seem long and tedious, but all of them are valuable for doing a good job. There is no telling which tasks you will be expected to perform during work, so the state exam is comprehensive in order to make sure that any task can be accomplished. Mastering the skills requires patience and practice, but there are also a few tips that can make mastery a lot easier to manage.


There are some very basic skills on the check list that can be mastered in short time. Fortunately, they are also some of the most important. Hand-washing, bed-making, and other simple tasks are extremely useful for the everyday job of a CNA. Hand-washing is a mandatory skill to test in almost every state and is the most important measure for protecting yourself from infection or disease. Once you’ve checked these off your list, you can move on to the more complicated skills and spend time accordingly. When the day of the test is getting close, spend time on the skills that you are most unsure about. Don’t ignore the others, but it’s important to cover all your bases.

Group Similar Skills

Some skills are very similar in nature and can be practiced almost simultaneously. Measuring vital signs is a good example. There are three to six types of vital signs that a nursing assistant must be able to measure: height, weight, pulse, respirations, temperature, and blood pressure. Grouping these together will help you remember important considerations and also prepare you for work, where vital signs are taken together. Another example of similar skills is the skills required for bedfast patients. Making an occupied bed and providing a bed-bath are both needed for a patient who cannot leave their bed, so practicing them together will help you get the most out of a single practice opportunity.

Make the Most out of Clinical Training

Clinical training is your opportunity to apply all of the lessons from the classroom. It is the most important aspect of your training for gaining working experience. In a nursing home or long-term care center, you will be provided with valuable opportunities to actually perform all the skills for your exam on a real patient who needs your help. Not only does it make the skills and their procedures clearer, it also shows how valuable each one is to the people you will be helping. Make the most out of clinical training by asking to practice any skills that you do not yet feel comfortable with and get advice from your instructors on the proper procedure as you perform them.

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