how to become a stna

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how to become a stna

What Is the Job Description of an STNA?
The job of a state tested nursing assistant (STNA) is to assist patients, monitor their health, serve meals, transport them as needed, and otherwise support a physician. People in this job frequently provide a wide range of services, including assisted living care, rehabilitation therapy, home health care, and emotional support. An STNA may be asked to bathe, shave, feed, or dress patients, on top of helping them with the toilet, skin and nail care, and any other day-to-day things they need. Some STNA positions may have faith or culture-based expectations. STNAs are certified nursing assistants, which is often the preferred term outside of the state of Ohio.

How to Become an STNA
The primary qualifications to become a state tested nursing assistant (STNA) is an STNA license in your state and experience working as a nurse. Licensure involves a nurse aide training program, which should not be confused with the longer and more intensive training required to become a registered nurse. You may take the STNA examination if you have 12 months of recent experience as a hospital orderly or aide, or are currently a nursing student. STNAs are certified nursing assistants, which is often the preferred term outside of the state of Ohio. There are certain considerations for assistants or aides who move to Ohio from another location. The duties of an STNA may be to monitor patients’ rehabilitation on behalf of a physician and assist them with meals, transport, and daily grooming.

If you’ve thought about becoming a State Tested Nursing Assistant, you might have thought there’s no way you could do what you need to do. But the reality is that you really can become an STNA if you learn the required information and pass your certification exam.

Research the Requirements

Every state has its own requirements for State Tested Nursing Assistants. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with those requirements before you start a training program. Knowing those requirements ahead of time ensures that you are able to find a training program that not only feels right to you but that also means you’ll be able to become an STNA at the end of the program.

Find a Training Program That’s a Good Fit

The beauty of training to become an STNA is that you don’t have to go to the same school or training program that everyone goes to. There are a variety of different training programs that are accredited by the state. That means that they share the information you need to know in order to become an STNA, but they do so within their own framework. That might mean that you take classes at night to accommodate your current daytime job or that you take classes with an even more flexible schedule. There’s a perfect program for you.

Complete the Training and Take Your Certification Test

Whichever program you choose will give you both hands-on training as well as classroom training. You may also get a chance to take one or more practice tests. Your certification test is what proves to the state that you know what you need to know in order to be an STNA. Scheduling your test as quickly after you complete your training as possible ensures that the information you’ve learned is still fresh in your mind.

Start Applying for Positions

Once you’ve taken your exam and passed it, it’s time to apply for STNA positions. Being an STNA means that you can work in a variety of different settings, depending on what you find most interesting. You might work for a home health care company, a hospital, or even a small clinic. There’s no end to the types of positions that you can work in as an STNA. You may even decide to continue your nursing education and get further certification.

The process for becoming an STNA is not as complicated as it might seem at first. There’s a path you can follow that will take you exactly where you want to go.

how to become stna certified

6 Steps to Becoming a STNA in Ohio
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is responsible for approving and managing the Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation Program (NATCEP). ODH contracted with D&S Diversified Technologies to administer the competency examination performs testing for the state of Ohio and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Step 1: Review the Pathways to Becoming a STNA
The traditional pathway to becoming a State Tested Nurse Aide in Ohio is completing a state-approved STNA training program and passing the competency exam. However, there are other pathways to meeting STNA certification requirements.

CNAs From Other States
Out of state CNAs can submit a Request for Reciprocity to the Ohio Department of Health. The applicant must have completed training and testing that meets federal curriculum requirements and must be in good standing on the out of state Registry.

Nursing Students
Nursing students currently enrolled in a state-approved pre-licensure program of nursing education in Ohio or another state can request permission to waive training and only take the competency exam. The coursework had to include infection control, personal care, emergency procedures and safety. The nursing school director must approve a waiver request form.

Foreign-Trained Nurses or Nurse Aides
Foreign-trained nurses and nurse aides can also request a training waiver. Contact the Ohio Department of Health with questions concerning any type of training waivers.

Hospital Orderlies or Aides
An individual can request to take the competency exam without additional training if the person has the equivalent of 12 months or more full-time employment in the preceding five years as a hospital orderly or aide.

Other Occupations in Direct Patient Care
A military person who can provide documentation that he or she was worked the equivalent of 12 or more months in the preceding 60 months (5 years), as a full-time employee delivering direct patient care that includes the typical duties of a STNA, can request to have the nurse aide training requirement waived in order to sit for the Ohio Nurse Aide exam. A Healthcare Specialist, Medical Specialist, and Hospital Corpsman may also request this waiver by submitting proof he or she worked at least 1600 hours delivering direct patient care that includes the normal duties of the STNA.

Step 2: Select a State-Approved STNA Training Program

If an individual must complete a state-approved STNA training program, the first step is selecting the school or educational facility. There are 260 STNA training programs in Ohio, making it easy for most people to find a training provider in their local area. STNA classes in Ohio are offered at community colleges, training centers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, health care centers, rehabilitation centers, high schools, vocational schools and technical education facilities.

Each approved State Tested Nurse Aide program in Ohio meets minimum federal and state curriculum requirements in order to obtain state approval. However, a program may vary in terms of credits, prerequisites, class times, etc. For example, the Columbus State Community College offers a 3-credit Nurse Aide Certificate program. Students must enroll in the college first in order to enroll in the STNA course. There are course prerequisites that must be met which include meeting the “Standards Essential for Nursing Students,” demonstrating English and reading proficiency, and completing of a health record. The Warren County Career Center requires completion of a WorkKeys Assessment and attendance at an orientation meeting in order to enroll in the State Tested Nurse Aide program. Upon program completion, the nurse aide student receives a “Certificate of Program Completion.”

Costs of STNA Classes
Program costs vary quite a bit, and the STNA school can change the rates at any time. Warren County Career Center currently charges $820 for the nurse aide course, WorkKeys assessment fee, scrubs, textbooks and testing fees. Columbus State Community College charges $135.93 per credit, meaning three credits cost $407.79, but there will be other fees and expenses for textbooks, scrubs, supplies and exam fees.

How to Get Financial Aid
The cost of tuition and fees alone could be as high as $1,500 at some schools, so it pays to do research. Financial aid in some form may be available through the school. If not available, there are other options like private scholarships and state workforce training funds. However, most schools will assist students with the cost of training by offering payment plans. Always check with the financial aid office if financial assistance is needed.

Free STNA Training
There is a way to get free training. Federal and state law require medical and residential facilities funded by Medicare and Medicaid to cover the student’s cost of training and testing to become a STNA. This includes training, testing, textbooks and supplies. A student can work in the facility while training for up to four months without earning STNA status, but after that time the person is not allowed to work any longer.

A person who is hired by a nursing home within 12 months after completing training, and it is their first nursing home position, can get reimbursement for training and testing fees.

In addition, an active duty service member, or someone who is a retired service member or veteran, can request reimbursement of exam fees. The fees must first be paid upfront to D&S Diversified Technologies.

Step 3: Meet the Prerequisites
Each STNA training program has prerequisites. Ohio does not require a criminal background check to enroll in a nurse aide training course. However, many programs require the student pass a background check because they will be doing hands-on clinical training with patients. They will have to pass a background check anyway once employed.

The state also does not require students to have a physical and TB test if not employed by a facility. Once again, the school and/or the facility may require the student to have a physical and TB test.

Following are the typical prerequisites an individual will need to meet in order to enroll in a STNA program:

Be at least 16 years old (not a state requirement)
Have a high school diploma or GED (not a state requirement)
Demonstrate proficiency reading and writing English
Take a physical exam
Show proof of immunizations for Hepatitis B, Varicella and others
Show proof of recent TB test
Meet other school prerequisites such as attending orientation
Step 4: Complete STNA Training
The training program teaches students the knowledge and skills needed to deliver direct patient care in a safe and beneficial manner. An Ohio state-approved STNA training program cannot be less than 75 hours per the law. The program must consist of at least 59 hours of classroom training with the remaining 16 hours consisting of supervised clinical training provided only in a nursing home.

What to Learn
STNA training covers a variety of subjects, and instructs the student on the performance of basic nursing and client daily living skills. They include:

Safety
Personal care
Infection control
Mental health
Resident rights
Care impaired
Data collection
Communication
Basic nursing skills
Disease process
Role and responsibility
Older adult growth
The skills training includes tasks like hand washing, ambulation using a gait belt, denture care, dressing the resident, feeding the dependent resident, making an occupied bed, positioning resident, improving resident’s range of motion, taking and recording vital signs, and many more skills directly related to helping the patient or resident stay safe, comfortable, hygienic and achieve the highest possible quality of life.

Step 5: Pass the STNA Exam
The Ohio STNA exam consists of a Knowledge or Written Test and a Skill Test.

Knowledge Test
There are 79 multiple choice questions that are based on material taught in the state-approved STNA training curriculum. The student must get a score of 80 percent or higher to pass the knowledge test.

Skill Test
The skill test requires the nurse aide student to demonstrate five skill tasks. One skill is Hand Washing, and the other four skills are randomly selected. It is necessary to get a score of 80 percent or higher to pass this portion of the test. If the student fails one task, he or she will have to retake the entire skill test again, but one of the skills will be the one the student failed to properly complete. If the student fails two tasks, he or she will have to retake the entire skill test again, consisting of Hand Washing and four randomly selected skills.

An individual is allowed three attempts within the 24-month period after the end of the training program to pass both sections of the test. Once a student successfully completes a state-approved training program, he or she will receive an ODH Certificate of Completion. The certificate is needed to register to take the nurse aide competency exam. The exam is administered by the D&S Diversified Technologies testing section called Headmaster.
Step 6: Get Name Placed in the Registry
Federal law requires states to maintain a Nurse Aide Registry which contains names of people who have met minimum training requirements and passed a competency examination to work in a federally funded medical or healthcare facility. Once an applicant passes the Knowledge Test and Skill Test, D&S Diversified Technologies will notify the Ohio Nurse Aide Registry. Once the person’s name is entered in the Registry, STNA certification is active for 24 months.

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How to Keep STNA Registry Listing Active
A State Tested Nurse Aide in Ohio can renew STNA certification only if able to provide proof of working at least 7.5 consecutive hours or eight hours over a 2-day (48-hours) period as a paid STNA within the prior two years (24 months). The 24-month period begins when the STNA’s name was first placed in the Registry or the most recent date when working hours were verified. The employer provides the verification of employment.

Reinstatement
If more than 24 months have passed, and the nurse aide did not properly renew certification by proving she or he worked as a STNA, there is a path to reinstatement in the Registry. First, it is necessary to submit proof the work requirement was met within the 24 months. Second, it is necessary to do one of the following:

Retrain and re-take the competency exam or
Meet the requirements of enrolling in a nursing education program and show proof of completing the courses that teach basic nursing skills or show proof of having worked the equivalent of 12 months of full-time employment as an orderly or hospital aide in the prior five years AND have passed a competency evaluation program.
These regulations are per Ohio administrative code 3701-17-07.41.

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Salary and Job Outlook for STNAs in Ohio
The current annual average STNA salary is $25,850 which equates to $12.43 per hour. The larger cities tend to have a higher average salary. The Dayton average salary is $27,560; Cincinnati is $27,080; and Cleveland-Elyria is $26,480. The long-term employment projections for Ohio indicate there is a 15.6 percent expected growth in the number of State Tested Nurse Aide jobs for the period 2014-2024.

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