Final Secret to Passing the CNA Clinical Exam Part 1

Corrections are your friend!

 

For our final blog in this series, let’s focus on the last of the 5 big things you need to know when taking the clinical CNA exam:

  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

Did you know that you can do that? Yes, you can make corrections on the clinical part of the state exam!
But even if you DID know that you are allowed to make corrections, most students don’t really know HOW to make them. So, let’s talk about it!
There are two types of corrections: missing a step or not following the care plan. Each will be handled a bit differently.

If you remember on the last blog, we learned that the test is all about the PATIENT, not YOU. Well, most corrections are ALSO about the patient, too! During the exam, you are graded on your interaction with the patient – how you communicate, what you say, how well you explain things. It isn’t about communicating with the EVALUATOR – it’s only about communication with the PATIENT. So, if you forget to do something (miss a step), you need to tell the PATIENT. That’s right…the PATIENT.

So, let’s look at the checklist from yesterday: hand and nail care. And let’s say you put the hand in the basin to soak, then remove the hand and wash it with a soapy washcloth. However, you forgot to rinse their hand (checkpoint #5) or dry their hand (checkpoint #8).

hand care checklist

So now the patient is sitting there with a soapy hand while you clean under their fingernails. Ick. That soap is drying on their skin and making it itchy. But, along the way, you remember the “Principles” you learned about washing rules: “Whatever we wash, we rinse. Whatever we rinse, we dry.” and you immediately realize that you made a mistake. 

Now, you know you can make a correction (I just told you that you could). Your first instinct is going to be to tell the evaluator that you need to make a correction (uh oh…you are making it about you again). But the evaluator isn’t the one that needs to know…the PATIENT is. So, tell the patient “I need to make a correction, I forgot to rinse your hand! Let’s put it in the basin to rinse and then I will dry it.” Those evaluators are watching, listening and (because they are smart cookies) keeping up. So, tell the patient when you need to do something you forgot to do, not the evaluator. And then, DO the step you forgot to do earlier. You will get credit for the step, just like if you actually did it earlier in the skill.

Next week, I’ll tell you about the OTHER type of correction: a care plan mistake. These are handled a little differently than forgetting a step. Look out for nest week’s blog to learn more!

See you next week!

Miss Patti

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