How to Become a CNA in the UK

by Maria Pavel on September 28, 2011

A CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant, is someone that has been through training in order to work in a supporting role of a nursing staff. There are positions for CNAs in hospitals, nursing homes, doctor’s offices and clinics. A CNA provides general care for patients. They are valuable members of all nursing teams and offer a high degree of expertise and ability.
Typically, a CNA provides direct care to the patients.

This may include feeding them, assisting them in getting in or out of bed, aiding them in walking or exercising. Sometimes they’ll straighten up the room of a patient and get them ready for surgery, a treatment or an exam. Often, a CNA will be responsible for transferring the patient by wheelchair or stretcher.

In the UK, a CNA is known by many names. These include a clinical support worker, nursing assistant, nursing tech, patient care associate, healthcare support worker or a healthcare assistant. This is much different than in the United States where they’re only called CNAs, registered nurses aides or nursing assistants.

In order to become a CNA in the UK, there are certain conditions that must be met. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 states that training programs to become a CNA must include 100 hours of supervised hands on clinical training and 50 hours of theory. Those people that successfully complete the full program will become a CNA and entered into the nursing aide registry.

Next, there’s a practical exam that must be passed. This exam consists of a qualified examiner requesting that a few specific clinical tests be completed using a volunteer. The student must meet all hygiene protocol and then follow through with the tests. Once the practical exam is successfully concluded, the student moves onto the written portion. Often, this part of the test can be taken online.

When both portions of the exam have been successfully passed, the student will receive a temporary license while waiting for their permanent license to arrive from the licensing board. In addition, the board also mails a notice to the CNA 60 days prior to the expiration of her or his license. A CNA license can be renewed online, although renewing an expired license requires having worked in the position of a CNA during the previous 2 years.

Now, that you know what a CNA does and how to become one in the UK, you can decide if this is the right career move for you. You can also become a CNA as a stepping stone to another career in the medical field.

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