Friday, October 14th, 2016

Score High in the California CNA Examination: Know The Basics of Nail Care

July 20, 2011 by  
Filed under cna state exam

California has a fairly high number of colleges and institutions that offer CNA training programs. But if you want better chances of passing the California CNA exam, you need to master every subject that will be included. And in this article, you will focus on one – nail care.

It is not everything but if you manage to nail every question under this category, it will be a big addition to your total score on that upcoming CNA exam. Of course, you should also do intensive studying on the other subjects.

Why it is necessary

Questions about nail care may appear differently on CNA State Exam Test. Mostly however, it would contain the ‘why’ question like ‘why is it necessary?’ Of course, it can be the simple answer that only calls for common sense – cleanliness. But in hospitals, nail care means so much more than just maintaining cleanliness and hygiene.

For example, a patient may be under anesthesia or sleeping drug. Under this state, the patient may easily cut himself during his sleep if he has untrimmed nails. Another reason is that the patient may not be in the physical condition to trim his own nails. Like perhaps his arms are covered in a cast or the patient is bed-ridden.

When nail care should not be done

Other things you need to know are the circumstances under which you cannot perform nail care on a patient. Take note that a Nursing Aide’s job description is limited compared to RNs so knowing your limits is very important to hospitals.

Generally, you cannot perform nail care on patients that are taking anticoagulation drugs or treatment. This is because a simple cut can cause excessive bleeding. Also, you cannot perform nail care on diabetes patients. Under such circumstances, nail care is performed either by a doctor or a certified nurse.

Knowing the steps of the procedure

When it comes to nail care, CNA exam California would almost always include questions about the procedure or how it is done. Of course, you need training for this. But for the books, preparation always starts with cleaning your own hands and readying the materials you will need. These include trimmers and scissors but these have to be sterilized.

And once you begin doing the procedure, you need to make sure that you leave the nails with no jagged or sharp edges. These can potentially cut the patient’s skin and cause infection. Part of nail care also includes examination of the nail bed. You need to look for discolorations or any signs of fungal growth, inflammation, or infection.

Knowing the basic nail parts

It may not really come up in the exam. However, nail care questions may use medical terminologies for nail parts. If you are unfamiliar with the terminologies used, it can cost you the question item.

Basically, you only need to know the nail plate which is the top part, the nail groove which is the deep set lining on the side edges, the lunula which is whitish crescent shape near the root, and the eponychium which is the skin lining where the nail plate emerges from the root.


It may also help you to know what examiners are looking for when observing a Nursing Aide performing nail care. For the books, this is the checklist of most examiners:

1) you did the preparations, 2) you washed and dried the patient’s hands, 3) you cleaned the nails, 4) you did the nails one-by-one, 5) you made sure the edges are smooth and with no sharp edges and that it is also according to the preference of the patient, 6) you filed the nails so they are smoother, 7) you did the finishing touches like applying lotion.

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