How to Create a Course Outline for Your CNA Program

When preparing to teach your nurse aide training course, you will want to know how to disperse all of the state-required curriculum content among your course hours. This article will guide you through the steps that it takes to create a useful course outline while incorporating our August Learning Solutions CNA textbook.

  1. Know what your program hours will be.

All nurse aide training programs have different hour requirements mandated by the state. These requirements vary significantly, from 75 hours in Tennessee all the way to 160 hours in California. You will want to consider the total program hours when determining the number of hours you teach per day. You also want to keep in mind that you cannot count any time allotted for breaks and lunches. If you have a program that is from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, this is not a 9-hour-a-day program; this program is 8 hours per day. That is because you will remove one hour for breaks and lunch. What hours will you teach your course daily?

  1. Know how many days your program will be.

 In order to create an outline, you must know how many days your program will be. This is all a part of the planning process. If your state requires that your program be 75 hours, and you are teaching 8 hours a day, then your program will be 9.3 days or technically 10 days. How did I get this number, you ask? I divided 75 total hours by 8 hours per day. This helps you determine how many days you have to teach all of the content in the curriculum. Please note it is helpful to think about what days will be classroom versus lab versus clinical. How many days will your program be? How many are class versus lab versus clinical?

  1. Know all the objectives and content you have to teach.

 Every state has a list of objectives that must be followed in order to meet the requirements for its CNA program regulations. Be sure to obtain a copy of this list from your state’s regulatory body. Once you have a copy of the objectives, also known as the curriculum guidelines, you can divide that information among the days you will be teaching the course. This is where it is important to utilize your nursing knowledge. You could easily divide the number of objectives evenly among the number of days the course will be; however, the issue here is that some objectives require more time than others. For example, the time it takes to teach students how to wash their hands is much different than the time it takes to teach students peri-care. When reviewing your objectives please think about the amount of time it may take to teach the topic or the amount of time the state may require you to spend on that topic. Not all states have a required timeframe for content, but it is important for you to check to see if this is a concern for you or not. Have you determined what should be taught on what day?

  1. Know what tests and homework assignments you want to give.

A part of the planning process is ensuring that your students are well aware of what to do and when. You can help ensure that your students know what is expected of them by adding it to the course outline. Information to consider placing in your course outline would be tests and homework assignments. Think about the content you have covered and when you want to test students on that information. Do you want to do one test daily, or will you combine chapters and condensed test so maybe only one test for the entire program? Do you have the flexibility? Also think about what type of homework assignments you want to give that correlate with the objectives taught. Will you give them a case study? Will you give them a research project? Will you give them workbook assignments? Whatever you give them, be sure students know when it is due by adding it to the outline.

For more information about creating a course outline, you can check out our YouTube video here where we give you a step-by-step tutorial on how to do this for visual learners. Click HERE to view.

Ready to adopt our book for your CNA training program? Contact us HERE for more information. We are glad to help you adopt our book and provide you with resources to be a successful instructor.

This blog was written by Victoria Randle MSN, NP-C, a CNA instructor and healthcare school startup consultant, owner of The Secret Cocktail®