How To Be a Nurse Assistant


Welcome to and congratulations on your purchase of the How To Be a Nurse Assistant training curriculum. By choosing this training, you have demonstrated a desire to take your students beyond mastery of the clinical requirements of the nurse assistant’s role. You will be providing your nurse assistants with a firm foundation in nursing skills and a particular emphasis on the psychological aspect of caregiving.

We strongly suggest that you also purchase the printed Student Workbook for each of your students. Filled with activities and exercises covering the material in each chapter, plus two practice exams, it's a great companion to the textbook and helps the student to be fully ready for the certification exam in their states.

Your biggest challenges in educating nurse assistants will be identifying what motivates them to learn and deciding what educational models to use. There are many settings and teaching models available from which to choose when educating people. These range from tutoring one-on-one, to teaching in a one-room school with multiple levels of student knowledge, or teaching a group with the same background or needs.

You will also have to deal with other challenges: educating nurse assistants when staffing needs create a demand for their assistance on the floors, cultural diversity issues, language barriers, and class sizes that may be too small for group activities.

This instructor website will help you to better prepare nurse assistants to care for residents living in long term care facilities and sub-acute care settings. It provides you with the tools you need to meet all the educational challenges you will encounter.

Major topic areas include:

  • Teaching Adults, which focuses on the special characteristics, wants, and needs of adult learners.

  • Teaching a Positive Attitude complements the strong emphasis on mindful caregiving that is infused throughout the textbook. An experienced instructor can identify those candidates who are natural caregivers and those who are not. If all of your candidates are natural caregivers, then delivery of the training can reflect a balance between skills and attitude. If you don't have natural caregivers, it becomes necessary to emphasize the philosophy of mindfulness and the eight themes of care during the training. The only way to create a caregiver is by teaching them how and why to care. We suggest ways to enhance a student's attitude and willingness to care.

  • Dealing with Training Challenges explains how to modify your lesson plans when you are not working with an ideal situation. Some of these situations include unavailable classroom and nursing arts laboratory, open-entry and open-exit class schedules due to staff hiring practices, classes of fewer than five students, and how to deal with difficult students.

    More than ever, we are seeing a work population in which individuals have basic literacy issues or speak English as a second language. In some regions of the U.S., the issue of differing languages, cultures, and values can sometimes affect care. We offer several resources for working with candidates for whom the English language and American culture may be unfamiliar.

  • Handling Literacy and Language Issues provides information and ways for you to help screen candidates for your training program. It offers special techniques for training these candidates and guidance for effective communication with candidates for whom English is a second language.

  • Addressing Cultural Differences and Conflict discusses several areas in which caregivers and residents frequently have different values and expectations. It’s important to make students aware of these potential areas of conflict so they can avoid them.

  • Preparing Students for the State Competency Examination suggests a number of ways you can prepare your students for taking the exam. Resources available through state agencies and national testing programs are described. A list of skills the student may have to demonstrate is provided, along with a list of topics you should cover to prepare them for the overall exam experience.

    Take the time to become familiar with each section on this website. We have provided a number of tools and resources to make the training experience easier for you and more effective for your students.

  • Sample Training Calendars. We provide four sample training schedules for 75, 100, 120, and 150-hour courses. Use these as a reference as you create your own course calendar.

  • Competency Checklists for Mindful Caregiving. Use these checklists to give your students specific guidance and feedback about attitude and use of the themes of care.

  • State specific information and hourly requirements. State requirements are listed when available, as well state crosswalks, state-specific regulations, and other state training materials. This section may be updated as new materials become available.

  • Practice Exams and quizzes. Use the printable exams and chapter quizzes on this site, or from the printed Student Workbook, to help your students review and test their comprehension and skills. Students will see where they need to prepare further before sitting for their state exams.

If you use all the tools and information provided, you have the opportunity to create a comprehensive and educationally sound training experience for your nurse assistants. As an instructor of nurse assistants in long term care, you have an important role in residents’ quality of life and quality of care.

Best wishes as you embark on this endeavor.