Secrets to Successful Pass Rates

For the past several weeks, I have been calling CNA and HHA programs across the country that have high pass rates to ask them to share their secrets to success. The following are the most popular answers:

  • Emphasis on the importance of caregivers. Many instructors discussed the importance of instilling pride in their students of the work they will be doing once certified. The students are told they are caring for human beings. It is very rewarding work and is essential to society.
  • Critical thinking. While giving instruction, it is helpful to offer real-life scenarios to describe why each skill is performed. It helps them answer the question, “Why are you doing what you’re doing?”
  • Repetition of skills. Repeat the steps multiple times. “My students can perform the skills in their sleep,” one instructor said. Some schools offer lab time right before the test to boost memory and confidence.
  • One-on-one time with each student. After each chapter test, review incorrect answers with each student to ensure that they understand the material. Individual attention is a great way to find out where students’ strengths and weaknesses lie.
  • Devoted instructors. Several instructors admitted that they work a lot of overtime, without pay, to ensure their students are prepared for the state exams. They do this because of their passion for nursing and for education of future caregivers.
  • Pre-screening students. Some programs are very selective in their admissions process. Students must be able to read at an acceptable level, and some require a high grade-point average to be accepting into their nurse aide program. They feel this ensures the program will contain only the most devoted caregiver trainees.


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