North Dakota's Certified Nurse Aides are under the jurisdiction of the North Dakota Department of Health. Responsibility for training and oversight was transferred from the Board of Nursing in 2011.
CNAs are certified on the basis of 1) approved training programs and 2) competency evaluations. In some cases, a nurse aide may challenge the evaluation and be certified as a CNA in North Dakota without completion of an approved training program. An individual who completed a CNA program at some point in the past but has neither worked in a nursing-related role nor taken an approved course in the prior two years may also be granted permission to test.
North Dakota distinguishes between Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) and Nurse Aides (NAs). NAs are not subject to the same training and assessment regulations. Some work settings require CNA certification. Others do not. However, the Department of Health still sets minimum standards and provides some oversight.
The Department of Health has provided a flow chart to demonstrate how an aide can go from initial NA registration to certification as a CNA, Home Health Aide, and/ or Medication Aide (http://www.ndhealth.gov/hf/BON/Flow_diagram_for_nurse_aide_registry.pdf).
CNA programs located within North Dakota must be department-approved. Approved nurse aide programs are at least 75 hours in length; this is at the federal minimum. Programs take place in a variety of settings, including community colleges, state colleges, care facilities, medical centers, and high schools. There are currently 52. The Department of Health has provided a list (http://www.ndhealth.gov/hf/PDF_files/NATP/natp_oct_2014.pdf). Prospective students can visit the Division of Health Facilities website for the most current version.
Click Here to learn about Nurse Aide programs as well as other entry to nursing and health care programs in North Dakota.
Some prospective CNAs receive training while employed at nursing facilities. They must have 16 hours of training before they begin having contact with nursing home residents. They perform all duties under close supervision until such time as competency has been demonstrated.
The prospective nurse aide will need to pass a two-part assessment. One assessment evaluates knowledge; the other, practical skills. The knowledge assessment is multiple choice. It may be taken in written or oral format. North Dakota has two approved testing vendors.
The North Dakota Board of Nursing (BON) remains active in the capacity of testing vendor. The BON contracts with Pearson VUE to administer the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP).
The NNAAP knowledge assessment includes 70 multiple choice questions. Ten questions on the written version of the test are unscored; however, the test taker will not be able to distinguish these from the scored items. The oral version of the knowledge assessment includes 60 audio questions, all of which are scored. It also includes ten word recognition questions. The test taker must perform adequately on both portions of the oral assessment in order to pass.
The skills test incudes hand hygiene and other randomly selected skills. Pearson has provided a candidate handbook and practice test (http://www.pearsonvue.com/nd/nurseaides/). The candidate handbook details the skills that may be assessed.
North Dakota candidates will register for the NNAAP through the Board of Nursing. A $120 fee will be assessed. In many cases, however, this will be paid by an employer.
The assessment is administered in the following North Dakota cities: Bismarck, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Fargo, Jamestown, Grafton, Grand Forks, Mayville, and Minot. A candidate may call the Board of Nursing at (701) 328-9777 to be apprised of upcoming test dates.
Headmaster is the other approved vendor. The written/ oral assessment is based on the North Dakota state test plan. It includes 72 multiple choice questions. The skills assessment includes five nurse aide skills, drawn from the skill set outlined in the candidate handbook. The handbook is available on the ‘North Dakota’ page of the Headmaster website (http://www.hdmaster.com/testing/cnatesting/ndakota/ND_CNA_Home.htm).
Candidates can call Headmaster at (800) 393-8664 to find out about scheduling options.
Neither vendor will allow a candidate to make more than three attempts at either the knowledge or skills assessment during a single training cycle. Pearson VUE notes that there is one way an individual can restore eligibility: to complete another approved training program.
Prospective CNAs may apply simultaneously for examination and certification. Applications are available from Headmaster (http://www.hdmaster.com/testing/cnatesting/ndakota/ND_CNA_Home.htm) and the Board of Nursing (https://www.ndbon.org/CNATesting/Information.asp). The Headmaster and BON forms are not identical, but both include screening questions. Candidates who answer “yes” to these questions will undergo review. While the form available on the BON website is described as an ‘assessment program admission application’, successful assessment performance will result in registry placement.
Individuals will find applications for initial NA registration on the Department of Health website (http://www.ndhealth.gov/hf/North_Dakota_nurse_aide_registry.htm). The Department of Heath will not expect certification requirements to have been met. However, the prospective NA must demonstrate competency in required skills. Competency may be verified by a registered nurse.
North Dakota will endorse all CNAs who hold current registry status in other states, assuming that they have met the other state’s requirements and have no adverse findings (http://www.legis.nd.gov/information/acdata/pdf/33-43-01.pdf?20150307200030).
Out-of-state CNAs will find endorsement applications on the website of the Department of Health (http://www.ndhealth.gov/hf/North_Dakota_nurse_aide_registry.htm). The nurse aide will provide the last date he or she performed nursing-related duties as well as a list of states where certification is held. The Department of Education will also need information about the training program.
The application includes questions about disciplinary history, felony arrests, and conditions which could preclude safe practice. An individual who answers "yes" to any of these questions will need to provide written explanation and, in some cases, legal documents.
The endorsement form may be mailed, emailed, or faxed to the CNA Registry.
CNA certification information is available from the North Dakota Department of Health, Division of Heath Facilities. Regulations are found in Chapter 33-07-06 of state administrative code (http://www.legis.nd.gov/information/acdata/pdf/33-07-06.pdf?20150307173151).
Individuals who need more information can email 'naregistry at nd.gov' or call (701) 328-2353.
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