Most CNA educational programs only take four to 12 weeks to complete. The schooling may be brief, but it's also very intense. A lot of information is crammed into a small period of time, so it's easy to become overwhelmed. In fact, many aspiring CNAs quit before completing their programs. By adopting the right habits and strategies, however, you can get through CNA schooling in one piece. Learn them early to ensure good odds of success.
Eight Tips for Getting Through CNA Schooling
Some effective ways to enjoy a successful CNA learning experience include:
- Stay Organized - Use a calendar to keep track of assignment due dates. A paper calendar works fine, but a calendar app that sends you alerts is even better. You can also use your calendar to schedule study sessions. Plan on about two hours of studying for every hour of instruction.
- Get Help Right Away - If you don't understand something, seek help immediately. As fast-paced as CNA program is, it's easy to fall woefully behind. Failing to understand one concept can spiral into not understanding many others, so it's crucial to nip the issue in the bud.
- Buddy Up - Pair up with another student and work together as study buddies. In addition to working on assignments together, you can quiz each other about important concepts and help each other prepare for quizzes, tests, and exams.
- Take Care of Yourself - Don't burn the candle at both ends while completing CNA program. Carve out enough time to take care of yourself. This includes time to sleep, time to relax, and time to exercise. Eat properly, stay hydrated, and spend at least some time with friends and family too.
- Learn from Your Mistakes - All aspiring CNAs make mistakes. It's part of the learning process. Mistakes can actually help you as long as you learn from them. Whether you make a mistake in an assignment or during clinicals, make a note of what you did wrong and how you can avoid it in the future.
- Complete Your Assigned Reading - It's easy to put off assigned reading until it's too late. Class won't make sense if you haven't done the reading, so make it a priority. If necessary, carve out a block of time strictly for reading every day.
- Complete Lots of Practice Exams - The main hurdle to overcome after finishing your program is passing the certification exam. Free practice exams are readily available, so complete as many as possible. Completing them will familiarize yourself with the real thing and help reinforce key concepts you've been learning during classes.
- Get Plenty of Sleep - Between classes, clinicals, and your other responsibilities, it's easy to run out of time for a very important thing: a good night's sleep. If you're sleep deprived, you'll struggle to stay focused during class and while studying. As busy as you are, it's crucial to make a concerted effort to get at least eight solid hours of sleep every night.
CNA education is fast-paced and intense. Don't trick yourself into thinking you can fly through it just because it doesn't take too long. Instead, lay the groundwork for a successful career as a CNA by putting in your best effort during schooling. Your hard work now will pay off in spades later.