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What makes a CNA program a blended-learning course?

November 16, 2021

What do you do when you’re looking to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, but a busy schedule and limited resources make it difficult to consider traditional, in-person training? NextStep’s blended-learning CNA program is the solution.

By letting you do the bulk of your CNA training online while following up with in-person practice, our CNA program offers both flexibility and real-world experience for those without a ton of time and money. The biggest benefit? You can fit our program into your existing schedule while getting the hands-on experience needed to become a great CNA.

Three components of a blended-learning CNA program

1. Online learning and resources

Your journey toward becoming a CNA starts online. During this first portion of NextStep’s CNA program, you’ll learn theory knowledge — an understanding of the CNA role and its required skills — on your own schedule using any internet-enabled device. Phones, tablets and computers are good options. Our CNA videos walk you through the knowledge you’ll need to pass your state’s certification exam and become a competent and compassionate nursing assistant. Information is broken up into bite-sized skills so you never have to worry about being overwhelmed! 

Read more about online learning.

The online portion of the NextStep CNA program covers important categories of CNA skills such as communication, health and safety, and infection control. Skills are grouped into skill sets made of about five skills each. You can complete these skills in any order you want within a skill set, but the next skill set will not be unlocked until you finish all the skills in the previous set. In each CNA skill, you’ll read information, watch videos from nurse instructors, then take quizzes and tests to see how much you’ve learned. When you complete a skill, you’ll see a checkmark on the skill icon. It’s as simple as that! Keep in mind that you can access all of the skills you’ve completed at any time. This can be helpful if you feel like you need to go back and review something to understand it better.

When you’ve gotten a few CNA theory skills under your belt and are ready to start planning for the in-person portions of the CNA program, you can access requirement checklists, videos and scheduling information in the app that will prepare you to stay on track for graduation and make the most of the in-person learning experience.

You can also get online support from your NextStep mentor. Their job is to help keep you on track from the day you enroll through your first 90 days on the job! 

2. Practice labs

During practice labs, you’ll get a chance to practice the theory knowledge you’ve been learning online. You’ll have the support of our nurse instructors and your fellow learners to help build your confidence in your newfound abilities. And, you can still reach out to your mentor at any time for guidance or encouragement.

Find out more about practice labs.

Practice labs take place once you finish the majority of your theory skills in the app. Our labs are conveniently located in the Denver, Seattle and Portland metro areas. You can check out our locations page to find out where you’ll attend practice labs if you enroll. NextStep’s practice lab schedule is designed to cause as little disruption to your daily schedule as possible. And, to make sure you finish strongly, open lab time is available for practicing any skills you don’t feel confident performing. The main thing to remember about practice lab is that it’s your chance to try out all your new knowledge in a fun, supportive, real-world environment!

3. Clinical rotation

“I was able to do the clinicals in Denver for NextStep and it was really nice... Just wonderful training. You really absorb what you're learning there and they're thorough. The RNs explain everything in detail. They make sure when you're doing your labs that you really absorb the process.” — April L., NextStep graduate

Once you’ve successfully completed practice labs, you’ll move on to one of the most important parts of your CNA training — clinicals. This is where you’ll get real-world experience in a long-term care setting such as a nursing home or retirement community. You’ll shadow a working CNA and learn to take vital signs, help individuals bathe and dress, and provide other basic care.

Learn more about clinicals.

Clinicals are required by each state in order for you to receive CNA certification because they give you a chance to put the skills you’ve learned in the app and at practice lab to work in a real-world setting. This portion of the program lasts anywhere from two to five days, depending on your state’s requirements, which gives you plenty of time to polish up the skills that will help you jump successfully into your first job as a CNA.

"All the tools that [learners] need are either in the app or a mentor can tell you, or you'll learn it in the lab. If you haven't learned it in labs, you’ll learn it in clinicals. There's no way you're going to go to state [exams] and not know everything there is to know about what you need to do." — Maisha D., NextStep graduate

NextStep’s blended-learning CNA program offers an ideal mix of the online and in-person learning that are essential to the process of becoming a CNA. Add in our tuition-free training option, an experienced mentor to guide you,  and a guaranteed job offer after graduation, and starting a career as a Certified Nursing Assistant couldn’t be easier!

To find out more or to begin your CNA journey, click below!

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