What is an STNA?

An STNA is a medical professional or nurse aide who works with healthcare professionals to provide patient care. Some people may not be familiar with the term STNA, which is actually a title for an individual who is state-tested to work as a nurse aide in the state of Ohio. The terms, STNA, CNA, NA or LNA all mean basically the same thing. What determines the title is the state in which the individual works.

For instance, the CNA title is used in states like Delaware, Florida, and Maine while New Jersey and Connecticut use the titles NAs. In Ohio, they are known as State Tested Nurse Assistants or State Tested Nursing Aides. Ohio is the only state to use this acronym for their nurse aides or nursing assistants.

What Does an STNA Do?

An STNA is a trained, skilled medical professional who works with nurses and doctors and assists them in providing patient care. They provide a variety of services for patients, including changing bedding; bathing and grooming patients; feeding or assisting patients with meals; recording and monitoring patient vital signs; helping with ambulation; setting up and assisting with medical procedures; assisting with cleaning and dressing wounds, and monitoring patients throughout their shift.

While most STNAs work in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, many of them also work in clinics or hospitals. STNAs cannot perform medical procedures on their or prescribe medication. STNAs must complete a formal training program or STNA classes, pass a criminal background check and pass a certification exam to obtain state licensure.

Where Can I Find State Tested Nurse Assistant Classes?

Candidates interested in taking STNA classes can find them in various locations, including community colleges, technical schools, high schools, and some hospitals as well as the Red Cross. Many places in Ohio offer free STNA classes for aspiring STNAs. There are also websites and places that offer STNA practice exams so students can better prepare for the certification exam and determine what areas they may need to study.

How Long Does it Take to Get STNA Certification?

There are certain requirements an aspiring STNA must meet before he or she can take the STNA certification exam. Candidates must successfully complete the training program, which is known as the Nurse Aide Training Competency Evaluation Program (NATCEP). According to Ohio law, the program must be at least 75 hours of training. Of this total, 59 of the hours are spent in the classroom, and the remaining 16 hours are spent working in a long-term care facility working under the supervision of a medical professional. After the first 16 hours of training, the student may begin interacting with patients.

The NATCEP can take from a couple to several weeks to complete. After the student has successfully completed all the required STNA classes, he or she will get a Certificate of Completion from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and can register to take the certification exam, which is known as the Ohio Nurse Aide Skills Test. The STNA certification exam is administered through the ODH and managed by the D & S Diversified Technologies. Candidates can take the exam at one of several D & S Diversified Technologies testing sites located throughout the state.

The certification exam is a written test that consists of 79 questions revolving around five nursing aide skilled areas. The exam must be completed in 90 minutes. Once the candidate has successfully completed the exam, he or she may enroll in the Ohio Nurse Aide Registry.

STNA Salary in Ohio

The salaries for nursing aides, CNAs and STNAs can vary from state to state. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that nursing assistants across the nation earned annual wages ranging from $20,680 to $38,630 with the average wage at $28,540 as of May 2017. STNAs in Ohio earned average annual wages of $26,740. Their average hourly wage was $12.85.

Wages can be affected by various factors, including experience, training, employer, and location. Geographic location plays a big part in wages. For instance, the highest paying wages for these professionals are in Alaska, where the wage is $37,950. The lowest paid wages for this occupation are in Louisiana, where the annual average wages are $21,880.

Career Outlook for STNAs

As much of the elderly population ages, CNAs and STNAs will be needed to provide the necessary care to the elderly. The one thing that limits their employment is that many of them work in agencies that are government-funded. As government spending gets decreased, programs like Medicare and Medicaid also get their funding decreased, which makes it difficult for patients to pay for care. However, many CNAs and STNAs work in hospitals and clinics, which are both in need of qualified healthcare professionals like STNAs to help provide care.

CNAs nationwide are expected to see a job growth of 11% during the 2016-2026 decade according to the BLS. STNAs in Ohio are predicted to see a growth of 5.2% during the period. The smaller growth projection may be attributed to the fact that Ohio is a relatively small state. While the 5.2% is lower than the predicted growth across the nation, it should still result in about 3,580 new STNA jobs created.