An STNA (State Tested Nurse Aide) is really in the front line of medical care, often working in care homes and day centers, and looking after the patient’s day to day needs. Taking blood pressure, looking after the patient’s hygiene, transportation to and from medical facilities and even playing card games with a patient may all be included.
If you have decided that this is a career you want to pursue you will need training. Usually this training, if full time will last from four to six weeks depending on the requirements in your state. If you are unable to train full time many colleges will offer a course over a semester which will only involve two days a week. In this case the training will spread over a period of about four months.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure that you are enroling on a legitimate STNA course. Believe it or not, there are scams out there. The best way to find out how to get STNA certification is to choose your course through a local community college. Otherwise, if you do a Google search for STNAs Schools followed by the name of the course you are considering you will get quite a bit of information. You might also check with a local hospital to see if there are any courses they recommend.
When you attend the training classes you can expect to cover hygiene, patient safety, body mechanics to avoid injury, feeding techniques, common ailments among adults, life support (CPR), ways to handle children, moving patients and even office management and procedures.
Depending on your state, you will be required to undergo a minimum number of clock hours of STNA’s training. The absolute bare minimum is 75 hours, but in fact most programs take longer because it is considered that this is indeed a bare minimum. Some states have longer requirements up to as much as 180 hours.
When you have completed your STNA training you will need to take your test. Once passed you will be allowed to undertake a variety of jobs, but it should be noted only in the state for which you passed the exam. You will have to pay for the exam. Usually the two exams (oral and written) will be taken on the same day. Should you fail an exam, then you will have to take a re-test and again you will have to pay for this. Obviously the fees vary from place to place. You will need to provide your state issued ID. No other forms of ID – even with a photograph – are acceptable.
So finally you have your STNA’s certificate and are able to apply for jobs in the community. One of the benefits of being one of the STNAs is that, although it is not the highest paid of jobs, you will find that there are plenty of openings available. Not only that, but you will have the satisfaction of providing welfare and care to the sick and elderly. Becoming a State Tested Nurse Assistant (STNA) is not just about the money; it is as much as anything a vocation.