November 11, 2023

STNA vs CNA: Unraveling the Differences

An STNA in Ohio sits on a couch and speaks with an elderly patient.

In the world of healthcare, one of the most vital roles is that of a nursing aide or assistant. These dedicated professionals provide essential care and support to patients, helping them with their daily activities and ensuring their well-being. There is some confusion though, around the differences between a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and a State-Tested Nurse Aide (STNA). In this article we'll explore the differences and when to use which title.

What is an STNA?

In the state of Ohio, nursing assistants or aides are referred to as State-Tested Nurse Aides (STNAs). In practice, STNAs perform the same function as CNAs (the term used in all other U.S. states). Let's explore this unique nomenclature and understand how the roles compare.

State-Tested Nurse Aides (STNAs) in Ohio

In Ohio, a CNA is officially known as a State-Tested Nurse Aide or STNA. What sets Ohio apart in this regard is its distinct terminology; STNA is a title exclusive to the Buckeye State. The role, responsibilities, and training of an STNA are essentially the same as those of a CNA in other states. Here are the key points to consider:

1. Training and certification: 

STNAs, like CNAs, are required to complete state-approved training programs. These programs teach the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their role. Upon completing the training, both STNAs and CNAs must pass a state competency exam to earn their certification.

2. Scope of practice: 

The scope of practice for STNAs in Ohio mirrors that of CNAs in other states. They are responsible for providing direct patient care, assisting with activities of daily living (ADLs), monitoring vital signs, reporting patient conditions to nurses, and maintaining patient hygiene.

3. Work settings: 

STNAs typically work in similar healthcare settings as CNAs, including nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and home healthcare agencies.

4. Licensing: 

The certification for STNAs is specific to Ohio and may not be transferable to other states. Just as CNAs in different states might need to meet specific requirements if they move, STNAs moving outside Ohio might encounter similar challenges in maintaining their certification.

Key takeaway: The role remains the same

Ultimately, whether you refer to them as STNAs or CNAs, their role in patient care is identical. These professionals are the backbone of the healthcare industry, providing essential support to those in need. The distinction of the title "STNA" primarily exists in Ohio, while in other states, they are recognized as CNAs.

In closing, no matter the title, the commitment and compassion exhibited by these caregivers remain the same. They are the unsung heroes of healthcare, and their dedication ensures that patients receive the best possible care and support, regardless of what you call them. Whether STNA or CNA, they share a common mission: to make a positive difference in the lives of those they serve.

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