Northwest students take their CNA exam


Northwest's nursing fundamentals students pose for a picture during the skills part of the exam. All 19 students passed the exam and can add CNA to their name.

Recently, 19 students in the nursing fundamentals class at Northwest Guilford passed a test to become certified nursing assistants (CNA). These nurses are responsible for caring for the elderly and providing much needed human comfort and assistance.

To receive the certification, participants must take a written and then a demonstrative exam.

“First I took my written exam, which is multiple choice. It was pretty easy just because it’s all application,” senior Abby Helton, who is now certified as a CNA, said. “Then you have the skills exam afterwards, where you have five skills. The first one is hand washing, and you get four other skills– either water skill or measurement skill or a random skill.”

Once students gain the certification, they are able to practice, assisting the elderly.

“I can take vitals and I can assist the elderly in nursing homes. I bathe them and stuff like that,” Helton said.

The test is a big step for the future careers of their medical careers.

“This is an enormous test for them,” nursing fundamentals teacher Angela Hamilton said. “This is an important step in pursuit of a future in healthcare. They have all worked hard and are now entitled to add three initials (CNA) after their name while still in high school.”

The journey up to taking the exam is arguably involved. Students must take two classes and then gain first-hand experience by working in actual nursing homes.

“I was at carriage house for a week,” Helton said. “Then we were at Friends Homes (a local continuing care retirement community) for the next couple of weeks.”

Going forward, Helton plans to continue pursuing a medical career.

“I don’t plan on staying a CNA,” Helton said. “I want to become a surgical nurse, and become a travel nurse in third world countries.”

She is attending the University of North Carolina at Wilmington this fall to study nursing.

Regardless, the certification is an important step in the process in ultimately become a practicing nurse in settings such as a hospital.

“Absolutely (it is important), because if you don’t have your CNA, then you can’t get into nursing school,” Helton said. “Pretty much every nursing school requires it now, so it’s important to have it and the experience.”

The following are the 19 students who passed this exam:

Samantha Gregory, CNA
Abby Hall, CNA
Abbie Helton, CNA
Gracie Herndon, CNA
Grace Kilmartin, CNA
Chloe Mabe, CNA
Imani Mayers, CNA
Rylee Petty, CNA
Benjamin Ring, CNA
Jenna Peyton Smith, CNA
Laurene Abaka-Mensah, CNA
Alexis Barton, CNA
Austin Byrd, CNA
Richard Ben Greenly, CNA
Asia McCray, CNA
Charde Miles, CNA
Jenna Oliver, CNA
Brittany Ratterree, CNA
Tia Testerman, CNA