NOTE: The following blog entry is a guest post written by nurse consultant Victoria Randle, APN, NP-C (pictured), proprietor of CNA Instructor Consultants LLC. Ms. Randle can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on her Facebook page entitled “The CNA Instructors’ Secret Cocktail” (https://www.facebook.com/thesecretcocktail/).
What in the world does reciprocity mean?
When you take the step to further your education and become a CNA, it is important that you know all of your responsibilities associated with this level of education. This encompasses various responsibilities to others, but most importantly to yourself. You must know your scope of practice, your continuing education requirements, how to re-certify and even how or when to obtain reciprocity.
If you are a CNA (certified nursing assistant), you may have heard others talk about reciprocity. What in the world does this word even mean? Reciprocity is the act / process of transferring your CNA certification from one state to another. Believe it or not, each state has its own laws regarding requirements of CNAs that may be different than the state in which you originally obtained your certification.
An example of this may be the number of educational hours needed to become a CNA. The number of educational hours needed to become a CNA differs in each state. For instance, the state of Tennessee requires that a nursing assistant obtain 75 hours of training to become eligible for certification as a CNA. These hours are divided up as follows: 59 hours of classroom /lab practicum and 16 hours of clinical externship.
Let’s say you obtained your CNA certification in Tennessee and decide five years later to move to Texas. Well, Texas requires more hours than Tennessee to become certified as a CNA. In Texas it is required that a CNA must have at least 100 hours of training. These hours are divided up as follows: 60 hours of class/lab practicum and 40 hours of clinical externship. In this case, the CNA is lacking one hour of classroom instruction and 24 hours of clinical instruction.
It is up to the accepting state of Texas to determine if they are willing to accept this CNA’s education from Tennessee for certification as a CNA in Texas. Some states may respond with a solid NO, and therefore require the individual to re-enroll in another CNA program that adheres to the new state’s requirements.
Some states may accept the CNA from Tennessee based on their number of years of experience accrued since obtaining the CNA certification. Other states may accept the CNA pending conditions such as additional training hours, continuing education hours, or the ability of the individual to pass the new state’s CNA state exam.
So, it is extremely important that once you obtain your CNA certification, you become knowledgeable in how many hours you have in classroom versus clinical education. It is also important that if you anticipate moving, you fully understand the new state’s requirements for CNAs. Nothing is worse than moving out of state and having a hard time finding work because you were not aware of how reciprocity works beforehand.
The best of luck to you in your journey to become a CNA. The career is so rewarding! If you are looking to start a CNA school or already own one, maybe I can help. Contact me for consulting assistance for your CNA school. I will be happy to help!
Victoria Randle NP-C, CNA Instructor Consultants LLC
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