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Nurse aide examination results must be provided to applicants by U.S. mail. Result letters will be mailed to students approximately two to three weeks after all test materials have been received from each test site. Information will be available on the Health Care Worker Registry approximately two weeks after testing. Registry status may be verified through the Health Care Worker Registry website at http://www.idph.state.il.us/nar/home.htm. VERIFICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT PURPOSES MUST BE DONE USING ONLY THE NURSE AIDE'S SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.
Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines and the Privacy Act of 1974 as Amended forbids the Nurse Aide Testing Project from releasing by phone, fax or e-mail any personal information regarding an applicant for the nurse aide examination.
The result letter you receive from the Nurse Aide Testing Project is NOT an official document and serves no purpose other than to communicate to the individual his/her exam result. The Illinois Department of Public, Health-Health Care Worker Registry provides employers with immediate access to information regarding nurse aides’ status. Illinois state law requires employers of nurse aides to verify a nurse aide’s status through the Health Care Worker Registry and they are NOT to accept a result letter as proof of eligibility. If an individual wants a duplicate letter for his/her records, he/she may send a $10 money order along with a written request including his/her name, social security number, approximate month and year of testing and current address to the Nurse Aide Testing Project and a duplicate letter will be sent.
English as a second language is not considered by the Illinois Department of Public Health to be a disability under which special accommodations may be made for testing. However, if an applicant is working for a facility that can verify their resident population is 50% of a particular language, a translated exam may be made available.
The Illinois Nurse Aide Competency Exam is a pass/fail exam. The cut-off score for the pass/fail result is information that cannot be released according to the agreement between the Illinois Department of Public Health and Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
The results letter you receive by mail from Southern Illinois University is NOT an official document and serves only to communicate your testing result. An employer is required by state law to contact the Illinois Department of Public Health, Health Care Worker Registry in order to verify a nurse aide’s status on the Health Care Worker Registry.
It has been more than 2 years since I have worked as a nurse aide. Do I have to take the training program over again?
If a nurse aide is in good standing with no findings of abuse, neglect or theft and has not worked for pay in the nursing-related services for 24 consecutive months or more, he/she may be able to re-certify by either retraining and testing or testing only. Contact the Illinois Department of Public Health at 217-785-5133 for re-certification information.
Nursing students who wish to take the Nurse Aide Examination must first be approved on the Illinois Health Care Worker Registry. Contact the Illinois Department of Public Health at 217-785-5133 to obtain the form to submit for approval.
Individuals who "No Show" for a scheduled exam will receive a letter and application form in the mail approximately two to three weeks after the scheduled examination. You must submit the application with a money order in the amount according to the current fee schedule by the postmark deadline to be eligible for the next available testing cycle.
Any questions regarding your criminal background should be made to the Legal Services Office, Illinois Department of Public Health at 217-782-2043.
A nurse aide may take and fail the examination three times before he/she is required to retrain.
I received special accommodations in my training due to a disability. Are special testing accommodations available to me for the Nurse Aide Competency Exam?
A written request for specific special accommodations from your nurse aide instructor or program coordinator along with documentation of a learning disability are needed in order to provide special accommodations for testing. This information should be provided to the Nurse Aide Testing Project at least 30 days prior to the desired testing date.
The Illinois Department of Public Health, Health Care Worker Registry’s web address is http://www.idph.state.il.us/nar/home.htm. Verification must ONLY be done by an aide’s social security number.
Certified Nursing Assistants are NOT issued a license, card or credential of any kind by the Illinois Department of Public Health. The nurse aide certification/registry number is the aide’s social security number. Approximately three weeks after testing, test result information is available on the Illinois Department of Public Health, Health Care Worker Registry at http://www.idph.state.il.us/nar/index.htm. Enter your name and verify with your social security number. The individual’s information is provided by computer system. This printable page verifies your Illinois Nurse Aide Registry status.
Why do employers want a copy of my result letter if they are required to check the registry for my employment eligibility?
Employers may wish to have a copy of the letter for your records, however the document is unofficial and cannot be used to verify your status on the Illinois Health Care Worker Registry. If an audit is conducted, a copy of your Health Care Worker Registry information from the Internet must be on file.
A nurse aide may work in a long-term care facility up to 120 days after successfully completing an approved Illinois nurse aide training program while waiting to take and pass the Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation. If the exam has not been passed within 120 days of employment as a nursing assistant, the employer is required to remove the aide from a direct care position until the exam has been passed.
Applications are frequently returned either because they are incomplete, appropriate fees are not enclosed, there is no verification of program completion, or a criminal background check is not enclosed or on record.
When will I receive notification that my application has been processed and I have been scheduled to test?
Confirmation letters are mailed to the address coded on the individual’s application form approximately 10 days prior to the scheduled test date. If you have not received your confirmation letter 5 days prior to the date you requested to test, check the Registration portion of this web-site to obtain your testing information. You are not required to have your confirmation letter to gain entrance to the examination. You should arrive at least 15 minutes before the stated testing time and bring along a picture identification, which contains a current photo and your signature (i.e. Illinois driver’s license or Illinois state ID or a Student ID) and two number 2 lead pencils.
An individual who has completed an approved nurse aide training program and has met all other requirements of the Health Care Worker Registry may take the competency exam. Those individuals placed on the Health Care Worker Registry based on reciprocity from another state are not required to take the Illinois written competency test. Also, aides approved on the ILLINOIS HEALTH CARE WORKER REGISTRY PRIOR TO January 1, 1990, are NOT required or permitted to take this test.
The number of elderly people has rapidly increased and so has America’s concern for quality care of the elderly people residing in long-term care facilities across the United States. The passage of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA) mandated that all states establish nurse aide training and competency evaluation programs by January 1, 1990. The Act established a registry of nurse aides who have passed both a certified training program and a competency exam, deeming them competent and able to work as nurse aides in long-term care facilities.
This Act requires anyone desiring to work as a nurse aide in a long-term care facility to pass a state certified nurse aide training program and a state competency evaluation exam. Nurse aides must have their names entered on that state’s nurse aide registry to be employed in that state as a nurse aide. The primary purpose of the competency exam is to ensure that individuals have the basic knowledge and skills needed to perform the skills required of a nurse aide.
The skills, knowledge, and abilities needed to perform the job of a nurse aide are the areas covered by the competency evaluation exam. The nurse aide job consists of various tasks. Each task has been analyzed and evaluated by nurse aides and their supervisors. Tasks which nurse aides perform on the job were validated in the state of Illinois in January 2000. The validated 200 tasks were grouped in six broad duty areas. The duty areas include:
- Duty A: Communicating Information – 31 tasks
- Duty B: Performing Basic Nursing Skills – 59 tasks
- Duty C: Performing Personal Care Skills – 43 tasks
- Duty D: Performing Basic Restorative Skills – 42 tasks
- Duty E: Providing Mental Health and Social Service Needs – 11 tasks
- Duty F: Providing Residents' Rights – 14 tasks
The Nurse Aide Competency Exam is overseen by a state agency. That agency establishes and governs the rules, regulations and procedures based on federal and state mandates. An advisory committee made up of nurse aides, home health care aides, supervisors, instructors, and state health care personnel establish passing scores.
The Nurse Aide Competency Exam is scheduled at various testing sites, usually community colleges, across the state on designated dates. Depending on registration levels, most sites test at least once a month. The test fees, registration deadline dates and test dates are established in a published schedule. Click on the Test Sites link to locate a test site in your area. If you have already submitted your application for testing, click on the Exam Schedule Status link to see if you are registered for the current testing cycle.
The examinee must bring at least two No. 2 lead pencils with erasers and a photo ID that contains a current picture of the individual and their signature, such as a drivers license, state ID or student ID. State ID’s can be obtained from a local driver’s examination station. Applicants MAY NOT bring notes, paper, books or other instructional aids to the exam. Test answer sheets are scored by an optical scanner, therefore, the test form must be completed using No. 2 lead pencils.
Yes! Typically, a competency exam requires the test taker to answer all of the questions on the exam. The exam score is based on the number of questions answered correctly. Blank answers are automatically counted as incorrect and will lower the test taker’s score. In Illinois, there is no penalty for guessing on the Nurse Aide Competency Exam. It is an advantage to fill in an answer for each question. Try to eliminate choices you know are incorrect to help increase your odds to guess correctly.
The most effective way to prepare for your competency exam is to:
- identify the tasks (jobs) that nurse aides perform on the job.
- review important facts and information associated with skills required to perform those tasks.
- practice doing the task.
(Repetition increases your skill and what you remember about the task.)
- study in small groups.
(Another person may be able to share information you did not know, explain a concept or procedure that is unclear, and reinforce information you already know.)
- take a timed practice exam.
(A timed practice exam can help examinees learn how to pace themselves so they can use time efficiently to complete the exam. A practice exam also familiarizes the examinee with the types of questions expected on an exam.)
- review explanations of correct answers. (May provide new facts and help understand new information, aid in applying information already known, reinforce current knowledge, increase confidence and reduce anxiety about taking the exam.)
Please visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website at http://www.idph.state.il.us/nar/cnafacts.htm.