How to Become a CNA in Oklahoma
Certified nursing assistants (CNA) are trained to assist the nursing staff in delivering patient care. CNAs help patients with day to day routines such as dressing, bathing, toileting and feeding. CNAs work closely with the nursing staff and observe patient reaction to the environment around them, as well as changes in physical conditions that may require the attention of a nurse.
CNAs are required by state law to complete an approved training program and become licensed. All CNA programs must be approved and accredited by the Oklahoma Department of Health. The training programs are required to be a minimum of 120 hours in length and include class work and a minimum of 16 hours in clinical training in a healthcare facility.
Class work includes basic nursing care, medical terminology, addressing emergency situations, illness prevention, patients and working with incapacitated patients. Clinical training will include working with patients within a healthcare setting and providing the basic hygiene, dressing, feeding, transfer from bed to chair and chair to bed, assist with walking and observing the physical condition.
The CNA exam is divided into two parts and includes 72 multiple choice questions and a passing score is 75%. The second part of the exam is clinical performance. The exam evaluator will randomly choose 5 tasks for the examinee to perform. All tasks must be performed on a volunteer to the satisfaction of the exam evaluation board. The CNA candidate must pass both parts of the exam in order to be licensed.
A CNA candidate must hold a high school diploma or equivalency and be at least 18 years of age. The application to all CNA training programs include a criminal background and fingerprint check, a complete physical exam and the appropriate inoculations, such as a TB skin test.
Once the training program has been completed, the CNA candidate applies to D&S Diversified Technologies to take the Oklahoma State Nurse Aid Competency Test. Once the application has been approved, the applicant will be assigned a test date.
After passing the exam, the CNA will have to apply to the Oklahoma nursing registry to be listed as a licensed CNA. It may take up to 6 weeks before being officially certified and appearing in the registry, but CNA’s will be able to accept an offer of employment and begin work, by submitting the program completion certificate and notice of passing the exam. CNAs cannot legally perform the functions of a nursing assistant without being properly licensed.
CNAs can expect an average salary of $29,000 and a starting salary of $19,000. The actual salary will depend on geographic location, type of facility where employed and years of experience. Facilities in metropolitan areas tend to offer a slightly higher salary due to higher cost of living. CNAs can expect to receive some benefits as part of the compensation package and include health and dental insurance, retirement contributions, short and/or long term disability and tuition reimbursement.
CNAs are required to renew their license every two years. CNAs are required to document a minimum of 8 hours of CNA employment during the previous 24 months. Acceptable documentation includes verification of employment from an employer or a copy of a pay stub or W2. CNAs who cannot document that time will be required to take the written part of the licensing exam again to maintain licensing.
Employment opportunities for CNAs are found in nursing homes, hospitals, rehabilitative facilities, assisted care centers, private care and home care settings. CNAs work under the direction of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). CNAs work one of three shifts, day evening or night and may be assigned a particular shift or assigned shifts on a rotating basis.
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