How to Become an Independent State-Tested Nurse Aide

Most nurse aides work in long-term facilities, but some also serve in hospitals.
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An integral part of a healthcare team, the nurse aide provides for the basic personal and health needs of a patient. Also called a nursing assistant, nurse aides bathe and dress patients, help patients move around their rooms, serve meals and take vital signs. In the industry, mostly women serve as nurse aides, making up 87 percent of nursing assistants as of 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Both male and female nurse aides must earn the Certified Nursing Assistant certification to practice. Ohio does not recognize the CNA credential; nurse aides in that state must earn the State-Tested Nurse Aide credential.

Complete the Training

    The first step to becoming a STNA is taking a state-approved STNA training course. STNA training courses in the state of Ohio come from vocation and technical schools, as well as community colleges and medical centers. Depending on whether you take part- or full-time classes, the training program takes anywhere from two weeks to several months to complete. The training courses include traditional classroom instruction, as well as hands-on clinical training. Prerequisites for a STNA training program vary from provider to provider, but typically include being at least 16 years old, passing a background check and having a valid driver’s license or state ID.

Pass the Competency Exam

    Once you’ve completed training, you can submit the STNA application and training completion certification to the Ohio Board of Health. After the Board approves your application, you can schedule your written test. Numerous training providers proctor the test on-site, or you can choose from a testing site run by D&S Diversified Technologies. You’ll have up to 90 minutes to complete the 79 multiple-question written test. The test covers topics like safety, infection control, data collection, personal care, basic nursing skills, mental health, patient communication, disease processes and patient rights.

Take the Skills Test

    Along with a written portion, the competency test includes a skills test where the test proctor asks each candidate to perform four nurse aide skills, step by step. The test proctor chooses the skills at random from a list of 25 basic nurse aide skills. You must pass each skill with a score of 80 percent or better. The Ohio Department of Health and other organizations offer practice tests, exam content outlines, sample questions and vocab lists to help test-takers study and prepare for both the written and skills tests.

Secure a Job

    After passing the test, the state adds your name to the Nurse Aide Registry and you can begin your job hunt. While the state of Ohio doesn’t require it, most employers will require that you are current on your tuberculosis vaccine or have had a clean chest x-ray in the last year. You should also be in good physical health and pass a general health physical. Employers may also require you to have a high school diploma or the equivalent.

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