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What temperature should the water be?

The water should be set to a comfortable temperature for your specific preferences. In order for water to be effective at reducing microbial contamination, it would have to be at or near the point of boiling; therefore it is almost impossible to wash hands with water that is hot enough to reduce the bacteria levels. Students should use water that is a comfortable temperature for them.

Do you have to wet your hands before applying soap?

You SHOULD wet your hands before applying the soap, to ensure that you generate adequate lather.  Soap applied to dry hands does not lather as well.

How much soap should I use to wash my hands?

Use enough soap to ensure a generous lather. The student should not rinse hands during the lathering process as it is important to ensure adequate soap contact with the skin during the friction process to remove bacteria from the skin surfaces. You are graded on bubble production!

Do I have to use a separate paper towel to turn the faucet off?

Yes. The paper towels that you used to dry your hands are now wet – and wet paper towels can easily rip! Using a clean, dry paper towel will ensure that you do not accidentally contaminate your hands with the germs on the faucet (since the faucet IS the dirtiest thing in the bathroom!) and transmit that contamination to your patient.

I was taught to sing a certain song while washing my hands for timing purposes. Can I do this for the test?

This is not a recommended practice. Since the test is very specific on requiring 20 seconds minimum of friction, and the evaluator is using a watch or a clock to time the student, the student should make every effort to ensure accuracy on this point. By singing a song, such as the birthday song or the ABCs, the student is not using a reliable method of time measurement. It is common for students to speed up during the exam due to anxiety, which may result in a failing grade.

Will handwashing be on the state exam?

Every student taking the Florida CNA exam will be graded on handwashing at the beginning of the first skill they are asked to perform. Students will not be told to wash their hands because the evaluator is observing not just the handwashing procedure, but also the student’s knowledge of when handwashing is appropriate.

When do I have to wash my hands?

Hands should be washed before and after every skill. Hands also should be washed if visibly soiled, after glove removal, or after coming into contact with a potentially contaminated item in the patient environment.