Test Tip Tuesday

5 Secrets to Passing the CNA Clinical Exam - Part 3 of 5

On to today’s subject: #3 of the 5 Secrets to passing the CNA Clinical Exam.

So, to continue on with the series, you already know there are 5 big things you need to know when taking the clinical CNA exam and today’s topic is a really big one:

  1. Follow the Care Plan – EXACTLY
  2. Don’t touch the patient until you have washed your hands
  3. Follow the Principles for every skill – IMPORTANT
  4. The test is really about the patient
  5. Make corrections as soon as you realize you made a mistake

3. Follow the Principles for every skill - IMPORTANT

You might be asking, “What are the Principles?” <click the link to watch the video on this topic>

Simply put, the Principles control HOW a skill is done. They are commonly performed steps on a specific topic that are repeated over and over across many skills. For instance, you are probably familiar with the Opening (knock, identify patient by name, introduce yourself by name and title, describe the skill, obtain permission and close the curtain, wash hands, gather supplies). This has to be done at the beginning of EVERY skill we do. Every. Single. Skill. All of these steps. Every time. That makes it a Principle. 

If you DON’T do all of these steps, you might not pass the test. These steps corresponds to a checkpoint – something you are graded on during the test. So, commonly repeated steps around a specific topic are grouped together and presented as a “Principle”. Think of it as an easy way to remember groups of important steps. You can see these presented as Puzzle Pieces at the top of every skills video.

For instance, look at the testing checklist below. The steps of the Opening are addressed in Checkpoint 1, 2, 17, 18 and 20. These same checkpoints are found in every skill. Therefore, the Opening is performed the same way for every skill!

checklist and Principle

There are 11 Principles that you must learn to be successful at passing the CNA Skills Test. You can find them on page 19 of the CNA Skills Study Guide and we have an animated lesson explaining most of them on our animated lessons page of our website. If you want to pass the skills test, learning these Principles should be high on your list of study material.

Some important principles to remember are: you check the water and the patient checks the water, don’t snap or shake linens, slipper socks are not enough, apply a privacy blanket anytime the patient is uncovered or undressed, don’t allow linens to touch your uniform, wipe off excess lotion, we always start with a barrier, 4 fingers between a gait belt and the patient…and about 52 other principles that you need to know before you take the state exam.

But, hey, did you know we have a super FUN way to learn these principles? Our CNA Principles Card Game is played by collecting the sets of Principles while avoiding “Crappy Caregivers” to make it a fun and educational learning system…much better than reading a lesson in a book! (Plus, it can be played with family members and friends because no medical knowledge is needed)! Use code PRINCIPLES for $10 off!

If you make sure that you are performing the skills according to the Principles, you will get ALL of the skills checkpoints right…and who doesn’t want THAT? But, knowing HOW to do each skill is only half of the story…now, we need to talk about your FOCUS during the test. If you think the test is about YOU, you are dead wrong – and THIS is the checkpoint that will likely fail you! See you next week for more on that…

Happy learning,

Miss Patti

Test Tip Tuesday: Clinical Exam Wash hands in the Opening 

Test Tip Tuesday: Clinical Exam It’s about the PATIENT 

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