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Nurse Aide Training Requirements  
Nurse aides provide most of the direct care nursing home residents receive and have more contact with residents than any other staff. Their duties include helping with personal and hygiene care, meals, rehabilitative care, supervising residents, documentation and many other duties. Nurse aides are a vital part of the care giving team in nursing homes.

Do nurse aides get training?

Yes. Since October, 1990, nurse aides in Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing facilities are required to participate in 85 hours of training in a state approved program and pass a competency test. The training includes classroom, laboratory (practicing care with mannequins) and clinical (working with residents) instruction. Sixteen hours of the classroom training must be successfully completed before the aide has any contact with residents. Nurse aides must complete the training program during their first 4 months of employment.

Are nurse aides licensed?

No. Unlike registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, nurse aides are not licensed by the State of Georgia. However, once nurse aides have successfully completed the training and testing program, their names are listed on a state registry. Employers must call the registry before hiring nurse aides to find out if they are registered. If the potential employee is not a registered nurse aide, the employer must make sure they are trained and tested within the first 4 months of employment.

Can aides who haven't been trained or tested provide care?

Until nurse aides are trained and tested, they can only perform specific tasks which their instructor certifies they are competent to do. For example, a nurse aide trainee who is competent to provide bed baths can work at the nursing home giving bed baths but cannot perform other duties until the instructor certifies in writing the aide is competent.

Aides who worked for 2 consecutive years prior to October 1, 1990 do not have to take the training course. Others, such as college students, nursing school students, aides who were trained and tested in another state, and aides with 2 years of experience completed after October 1, 1990 do not have to take the 85 hour training course, but must successfully complete the competency evaluation program.

What's covered in the training program?

State approved training programs must cover residents rights, direct care (such as bathing, dressing and toileting), death and dying, restorative care, caring for people with dementia, AIDS and other illnesses, and other topics.

Who provides nurse aide training?

Training can be provided by nursing homes or educational institutions like community colleges or vocational education centers. Training programs and training sites must be approved by the state. Nursing homes with serious care violations are not allowed to provide nurse aide training for two years. However, their nurse aides must still receive training from an approved program.

What if a nurse aide doesn't pass the test?

Nurse aides have three chances to pass the test. The testing has two components: a written or oral exam; and a skills demonstration. If a trainee fails the test on all three tries, that person is ineligible to work as a nurse aide. The person could retake the 85 hour training program and take the test again.

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