What is an STNA

What is an STNA?

Embarking on a career in healthcare can be both fulfilling and challenging, offering various pathways to make a positive impact. One such crucial role is that of a State Tested Nurse Aide (STNA), a professional who provides essential care within the healthcare system. STNAs, also known in some areas as Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), are fundamental in supporting the daily operations of facilities such as nursing homes, hospitals, and long-term care settings.

For those considering a career in the healthcare field, becoming a State Tested Nurse Aide (STNA) offers a rewarding opportunity to make a significant impact on patients' lives. An STNA, known in some regions as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), plays a critical role in the daily operations of healthcare facilities like nursing homes, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. This article delves into what it means to be an STNA, the responsibilities involved, the training required, and the career prospects in this essential field.

Definition of an STNA

A State Tested Nurse Aide (STNA) is a healthcare professional who provides direct patient care under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN). The title "State Tested" indicates that the individual has met specific competency standards established by the state’s health department.

Responsibilities of an STNA

The day-to-day duties of an STNA are both varied and vital, focusing primarily on assisting patients with their basic needs. Here’s what an STNA typically does:

  • Basic Patient Care: This includes bathing, dressing, and feeding patients, as well as assisting them with mobility and ensuring their comfort at all times.
  • Vital Signs Monitoring: STNAs are often responsible for taking and recording vital signs like temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration rates.
  • Patient Observation: They must be keen observers, noting any physical, emotional, or mental changes in their patients and reporting these to the supervising nurse.
  • Supporting Medical Procedures: While STNAs do not perform medical procedures, they assist nurses and doctors during examinations and treatments.
  • Documentation: They are responsible for accurate documentation of patient care and condition, which is crucial for ongoing treatment planning.

Training and Certification for STNAs

Becoming an STNA requires completing a state-approved education program and passing a state competency examination. Here's an outline of the typical process:

  1. Education Program: STNA training programs are offered at community colleges, technical schools, and through healthcare facilities. These programs typically last from a few weeks to several months and include both classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience.
  2. Certification Exam: After completing the training program, candidates must pass a state-administered exam. This exam usually consists of two parts: a written (or oral) test and a practical skills test, where candidates demonstrate their ability to perform typical nursing aide tasks.
  3. Registration: Successful candidates are listed in the state’s nurse aide registry, which qualifies them to work as an STNA.

Career Prospects and Advancement

Working as an STNA offers a stable career path with opportunities for advancement, particularly for those who wish to continue their education in nursing. Many STNAs go on to become LPNs or RNs, using their experience as a stepping stone. The demand for STNAs is high, as they are essential in providing ongoing care to the aging population and those with chronic conditions.


Being an STNA is about more than just fulfilling job responsibilities; it's a role that demands compassion, dedication, and a genuine desire to help those in need. STNAs make a profound difference in the lives of their patients and their families every day. If you are looking for a career that offers both challenges and significant rewards, becoming an STNA could be the perfect choice. Whether you are starting out in healthcare or looking to switch to a more fulfilling role, the path of an STNA offers numerous opportunities to learn, grow, and contribute to the well-being of other