Nursing Assistant
CP = Certificate of Proficiency | 10 hours

Nursing Assistants, also known as nurses' aides, orderlies, client care technicians, and home health aides, work under the supervision of a nurse and provide assistance to clients with daily living tasks.

Upon successful completion of the Nursing Assistant Program, graduates may apply to take the National Council Licensure examination for Nursing Assistants.

Working closely with patients, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are responsible for basic care services such as bathing, grooming and feeding patients, assisting nurses with medical equipment, and checking patient vital signs. CNAs give patients important social and emotional support and also provide vital information on patients' conditions to nurses.

Campuses Offered At
D = DeWitt Campus
H = Helena-West Helena Campus
S = Stuttgart Campus
In Person

Possible Careers

  • Home Health Agencies
  • Nursing Homes


As an integral part of the larger college system, the Nursing Assistant program faculty endorses the mission of Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (PCCUA) which is committed to helping every student succeed. The College provides high-quality, accessible, educational opportunities and skills development to promote life-long learning and engage in the lives of its students and communities (College Catalog). The Nursing Assistant faculty adheres to that mission when offering the Nursing Assistant program. The mission of the Nursing Assistant program is to provide a high quality educational program that prepares the student to use basic nursing assistant skills when caring for individuals at home or in acute- or long-term care facilities.

End-of-Program Student Learning Outcomes

  • Administer safe and effective care to one or more assigned patients.
  • Use appropriate communication techniques and interpersonal skills when interacting with patients and members of the healthcare team.
  • Follow universal precautions to protect the health of patients and members of the healthcare team.
  • Implement interventions that maintain patient safety when providing routine patient care and care during emergency situations.
  • Apply principles of delegation as they relate to the role of a nursing assistant in a clinical setting.
  • Promote patient independence and right to actively participate in healthcare decisions.
  • Adhere to professional ethics and legal responsibilities when practicing as a nursing assistant.
  • Demonstrate competence in providing personal care and basic nursing assistant skills to patients.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of basic restorative services provided by the nursing assistant as well as agency policy and procedures when administering patient care.
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of patients’ cognitive, behavioral, and social characteristics that impact patients’ health and well-being.


In accordance with college policy as stated in the College Catalog, this publication is not to be construed as a contract between the student and the Nursing Assistant Program. All programs within the Division of Allied Health reserve the right to make changes at any time in individual courses, the curriculum leading to a degree or certificate, as well as policies contained in the NA Information PacketPCCUA College Catalog, student handbooks, and web. Students must be familiar with, observant of, and subject to all rules and regulations of PCCUA.

General Information

The Office of Long-Term Care approves the Nursing Assistant Program. Graduates are eligible to apply to take the Written and Skills Assessment Exams for certification. Graduates should be aware that violation of any federal, state, or local drug law or conviction of a crime may prohibit the student from entering a clinical agency to care for clients. In addition, clinical facilities also may require a criminal background check and/or drug test as a condition of clinical practice in the respective facility. Inability to complete the clinical course because of failure to meet these requirements will result in course failure. Applicants also should be aware that violation of any federal, state, or local drug law or conviction of a crime may preclude certification as a nursing assistant. The Office of Long-Term Care may be contacted at:

Post Office Box 8059
Little Rock, AR 72203-8059

Financial Aid

Students interested in obtaining financial assistance should contact Ronda Golden at 870-946-3506, ext. 1602, on the DeWitt campus or Barbara Stevenson at 870-338-6474, ext. 1160, on the Helena-West Helena campus.

FERPA Policy  

PCCUA complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. A student has the right to inspect and review all of his/her records that meet the definition of educational records. No third party has the right to review student records without the student's consent, with very few limited lawful exceptions. Directory information can be provided, unless the student requests that it be withheld (PCCUA Student Handbook).

Health Insurance

Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas does not provide insurance for its students. The College strongly encourages each student to have personal health insurance, and for that reason, the College has contacted an insurance agency. Forms for this insurance are available in the Registrar’s office.


The Arkansas Course Transfer System (ACTS) contains information about the transferability of courses within Arkansas Public Colleges and Universities. Students are guaranteed the transfer of applicable credits and the equitable treatment in the application of credits for admission and degree requirements. Course transferability is not guaranteed for courses listed in ACTS as “No Comparable Course.” Additionally, courses with an earned grade of “D” or less frequently do not transfer and institutional policies may vary. ACTS may be accessed on the Internet by going to the ADHE Website and selecting Course Transfer.

Students may be admitted to the Nursing Assistant Program (NA) every semester. Students who wish to be considered for enrollment in the Nursing Assistant Program must meet the following criteria: 

  1. Fulfill all college admission requirements.
  2. Be at least 18 years of age.
  3. Submit official high school transcript documenting graduation from high school or official Arkansas High School Diploma/GED certificate to the Registrar’s Office.
  4. Document a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average in all courses taken at PCCUA.
  5. Provide SAT, ACT, NG ACCUPLACER, scores taken within the last 4 years that meet the minimum skill level in reading, math, and English or have an 8th grade reading level on the TABE test.
  6. Students who speak English as a second language must also take the NG ACCUPLACER ESL exam to prove proficiency in English. The following scores are required in each category:
    • Listening: A minimum score of 106
    • Reading: A minimum score of 116
    • WritePlacer ESL: A minimum score of 5
  7. Students who meet the minimum criteria may enroll for NA courses. Enrollment is first-come, first-served until the class is filled.


Title: Taking Care: A Guide for Nursing Assistants (6th ed.)

Author: Spencer, C. (2018)

ISBN #: 978-0-9700845-6-9


Uniforms and Supplies

The following items are required for clinical experiences. Uniforms may be purchased from a store that has professional scrubs.


Ceil Blue short sleeve, V neck scrub top with front pockets
Ceil Blue pants or skirt   


Ceil Blue short sleeve, V neck scrub top with front pockets
Ceil Blue pants


Name pin      
Watch with a second hand
White mid thigh lab coat (optional)

After Enrollment

The student must provide the following documents before going to an assigned clinical agency for clinical practice:

  1. Completed Health Statement
  2. Proof of immunization compliance
    a.    Current Td or Tdap
    b.    Two (2) Varicella or a positive titer
    c.    Two (2) MMRs, if born after 1957, or positive titers
    d.    Initiation of Hepatitis B series or a positive titer
  3. Proof of a TB skin test (Must be valid for the entire semester.)
  4. Signed Communicable Disease Statement
  5. Current US federal or state issued photo ID, examples include:
    a.    US passport
    b.    US military ID
    c.    State driver’s license
  6. Comply with drug testing
  7. Provide proof of professional liability insurance. Professional liability Insurance must be valid for the entire semester the student is enrolled in the NA course.
  8. Complete a criminal background check
  9. Provide proof of current flu immunization
    Comply with clinical affiliation agreements and facility policies pertaining to COVID. 
  10. Any student who does NOT meet each expectation will NOT be allowed to attend clinical in an affiliated agency and may NOT be able to meet respective course requirements. This policy is effective for students enrolled in allied health and nursing courses.
  11. Any student testing positive for COVID-19 will follow PCCUA’s and the clinical agency’s protocol BEFORE being allowed to return to class and the clinical setting.

Students are expected to furnish their own transportation to school as well as to and from the clinical area.

Immunization Policy

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a serious communicable disease that can cause extensive damage to the liver and may result in death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified health-care workers who come into contact with blood or body fluids as being at increased risk for Hepatitis B infection. Nursing assistants and nursing assistant students fall into this category. The CDC recommends members of high-risk groups be vaccinated against Hepatitis B and that vaccination should be completed before coming into contact with blood. Based on this recommendation, PCCUA NA program requires initiation of Hepatitis B vaccination series before entering the nursing program or a positive immunity titer.

Three (3) doses of Hepatitis B vaccine, given at specific intervals, are required for full protection. The vaccine is 80-100% effective and can be obtained from your private or public healthcare provider.


The most effective ways to stop the spread of seasonal flu is for an individual to frequently wash hands and get an influenza (flu) vaccination each year. This vaccination takes one (1) to two (2) weeks to start working and is 70 to 90 percent effective in preventing the seasonal flu. The flu vaccination does not give you the flu! The vaccination helps to protect an individual against the seasonal flu virus but does not protect the individual from all flu strains. Students are required to provide written proof of receiving an annual flu immunization by November 1st of each academic year. In addition, all students will abide by agency policy regarding flu immunization before caring for patients in all affiliated clinical facilities.

Measles, Mumps, and Rebella (MMR)

Individuals born after January 1, 1957, must furnish proof of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines administered after the first birthday and after January 1, 1968 or positive immunity titers.


Individuals must have received a tetanus booster or Tdap within the last ten (10) years.


Individuals must furnish proof of completed varicella vaccination or a positive immunity titer.

Tuberculosis Policy

Tuberculosis is a serious communicable disease that can result in extensive damage to the lungs and respiratory system. Since tuberculosis is prevalent in the Mississippi Delta, the Associate Degree Nursing program requires students to provide written evidence of an annual TB skin test. If a positive skin test occurs, the student must comply with the protocol of the local county health department for definitive diagnosis and treatment. The test must be performed before registration for courses and can be obtained from a county health department or a private healthcare provider.

Professional Liability Insurance

All students are required to purchase and maintain professional liability insurance. The minimal amount acceptable is $1,000,000 per claim and $6,000,000 aggregate coverage. The insurance must be purchased from a company that is acceptable to the college and in compliance with the laws of the State of Arkansas. The company should provide endorsement that the insurance may not be modified or cancelled unless PCCUA receives 30 days prior written notice. Written proof of coverage must be submitted to the Dean of Allied Health or NA faculty before the student will be allowed to attend any clinical nursing assistance course.

Students applying to or enrolled in the Nursing Assistant Program must be aware that they are required to possess the following skills and abilities in order to provide safe patient care in the clinical setting.

The Nursing Assistant Program/or affiliated clinical agencies may identify additional essential functions or skills and reserve(s) the right to amend the essential functions as deemed necessary.

Visual ability

  • Read for prolonged periods of time either hardcopy or on computer screen

  • Visualize small font (6 font) written words and information on paper, computer screen, and equipment

  • Distinguish and appropriately respond to multiple visual inputs

  • Recognize subtle changes in patient status (ex: patient responsiveness, drainage, cyanosis, etc.)

Auditory ability

  • Hear monitor alarm(s), emergency signals, telephones ringing, telephone interactions, calls for assistance

  • Respond and react immediately to spoken instruction and/or monitor equipment

  • Tolerate occasional exposure to loud and unpleasant noises

  • Distinguish changes in tone and pitch in heart, lung, and bowel sounds using a stethoscope or modified stethoscope

  • Distinguish sounds and understand verbal communication in environments with multiple auditory inputs

Olfactory ability

  • Ability to detect smoke and odors

  • Ability to tolerate occasional unpleasant odors

Tactile ability

  • Palpate for pulses, temperature, texture hardness or softness, physical landmarks etc.

  • Discriminate subtle differences between sharp or dull and hot or cold

Motor function ability

  • Handle small delicate equipment/objects or hand-held devices without extraneous movement, contamination, or destruction

  • Move, position, turn, transfer, assist with lifting or lift and carry adult patients without injury to patient, self, or others

  • Lift, push, pull, or transfer (bed-to-chair, bed-to-bed) an adult or pediatric patient

  • Use hands, wrists, and arms to apply up to 10 pounds of pressure to bleeding sites or when performing CPR

  • Coordinate eye/hand, fine and gross motor movements

  • Perform electronic keyboarding/documentation and/or extensive writing with a pen and/or pencil

  • Stand, bend, walk, stoop, squat while providing patient care

Communication abilities

  • Effectively read, write, comprehend, and speak the English language

  • Communicate relevant, accurate, and complete information in a concise and clear manner both verbally and in writing to patients and health care members

  • Communicate and function effectively in environments with multiple auditory and visual inputs

Cognitive abilities

  • Perform mathematical calculations accurately for I & O etc.

  • follow directions in stressful or emergency situations

  • Function effectively in stressful situations

  • Remember multiple messages and information

  • Adapt rapidly to environmental changes and multiple task demands

  • Maintain concentration and focus in professional care settings

    Adapted with permission from the ADNP’s Essential Functions Statement at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock


Students are encouraged to disclose a disability and to request reasonable accommodation for that disability, as early as possible during a particular semester, in order that any agreed upon accommodation may be implemented as soon as possible for the benefit of the student. Written documentation of a disclosed disability must be presented to one of the PCCUA Disability Coordinators who are identified in the PCCUA College Catalog and Student Handbook.

Students with no history of accommodation or who do not utilize an accommodation granted by PCCUA during their pre-licensure educational program may be less likely to receive accommodations on the certification exam. 

Arrangements for Reasonable Accommodation

Reasonable clinical and classroom accommodation will be offered providing such accommodation does not alter the fundamental nature of the Nursing Assistant program in a major way, jeopardize the health and safety of others, or cause undue hardship on the College or affiliated clinical agencies.

  1. Make an appointment to meet with a Disability Coordinator as early as possible during a particular semester, preferably before a semester begins. A Disability Coordinator is located on each campus and identified in the College Catalog and Student Handbook.

  2. Obtain an Application for Disability Services Form from:

  3. Submit to the Disability Coordinator (1) a completed nd (2) medical documentation from providers which include, but are not limited to, a certified/licensed physician, psychologist, psychometrist, audiologist, speech pathologist, rehabilitation counselor, physical or occupational therapist. Medical documentation must reflect the student’s present level of functioning with respect to the major life activity affected by the disability. Diagnostic information must include specific recommendations as well as the rationale for each. The cost of obtaining professional documentation is the sole responsibility of the student.

  4. The Disability Coordinator will verify eligibility and discuss with the student the medically recommended accommodation(s).

  5. The Disability Coordinator and student will identify and agree upon reasonable accommodation(s).

  6. The Disability Coordinator will complete a Faculty Notification of Services Form, which identifies recommended reasonable accommodation(s).

  7. The Disability Coordinator will give the completed Faculty Notification of Services Form to the student.

  8. The student will assume responsibility for taking the completed Faculty Notification of Services Form to each of the student’s instructor(s) to discuss the identified accommodation(s) on the Faculty Notification of Services Form. (The Disabilities Coordinator will email the instructors who are teaching courses for which the student has requested accommodation(s).

  9. The instructor and student will discuss the requested reasonable accommodation(s).

  10. The instructor will sign the Faculty Notification of Services Form indicating his or her notification to provide reasonable accommodation services. Each instructor will keep a copy of the signed Faculty Notification of Services Form for his/her records.

  11. The student will return the original Faculty Notification of Services Form to the Disability Coordinator after each of the student’s instructor(s) for a particular semester has/have signed the form.

  12. The Disability Coordinator will keep the signed copy of the Application for Disability Services Form, medical documentation, and Faculty Notification of Services Form in the Disability Coordinator’s office.

  13. The Disability Coordinator will send a copy of the Application for Disabilities Services Form, medical documentation, and Faculty Notification of Services Form in a sealed envelope to the Registrar’s Office for inclusion in the student’s permanent academic record.

  14. Requests to rescind or modify any accommodation must be submitted in writing to the student’s Disability Coordinator and all instructors providing reasonable accommodation(s) for a particular semester.

  15. The request to receive accommodation services for a disclosed disability MUST BE REPEATED each and every semester the student is enrolled. However, documentation does not need to be presented to the Disabilities Coordinator each semester unless the status of a disability changes requiring a different level of accommodation.


Information in the student’s disability file is confidential. Information pertaining to the student’s disability will be maintained in a sealed envelope in the student’s permanent academic record. Information about the existence and the relevant limitations of a disability and the accommodation for which a student is eligible will be disclosed only with the student’s written permission. The student must provide written permission for disclosure to secure academic and support services (parking, library usage, etc.). The graduate assumes sole responsibility for contacting the respective state board of nursing to request accommodation during the licensure exam.


A student may appeal a decision concerning accommodation by first requesting an informal meeting with a Disability Coordinator and Vice Chancellor for Instruction and instructor if applicable. If the issue is not resolved, the student may activate the formal grievance process as outlined in the PCCUA Policy and Procedure Manual.

Criminal Background Check

All PCCUA allied health programs will require each allied health student to complete an annual, national, and State of Arkansas criminal background check, which includes a Social Security and National Sex Offenders check, and drug test. All students must complete this requirement through VerifyStudents (

In addition, all students assigned to clinical agencies in the State of Mississippi will be required to also complete a criminal background check through the Mississippi Department of Health as directed by the clinical agency. Each respective program director/coordinator will provide the student with specific instructions for background checks through the Mississippi Department of Health. No other criminal background checks will be accepted. The cost incurred for complying with the above policy is the sole responsibility of the student.

If a student has positive results on the VerifyStudents and/or Mississippi Department of Health criminal background check, the respective program director/coordinator will send the student’s positive results to the designated individual(s) at the student’s assigned clinical agency. Representatives from the clinical agency will determine if the student is eligible to access the facility to participate in clinical learning experiences.  It is the student’s sole responsibility to provide the designated clinical agency representative(s) with any documentation required to determine eligibility for access. 

If representative(s) from the student’s assigned clinical agency deny the student access to the clinical facility, the student will not be able to fulfill respective program requirements in the clinical setting.  The student will be required to withdraw from the respective allied health program, and the student will not be eligible for readmission to the respective program or any other PCCUA allied health program.  If representatives from the student’s assigned clinical agency allow a student with positive criminal background results to participate in clinical learning experiences in that agency, this does not provide a future guarantee that the student will be allowed to participate in clinical in another agency or that the student will be allowed to take the respective licensing exam.

Students who are dismissed from an allied health program for an unacceptable criminal background check will not be eligible for tuition or fee refunds for allied health courses with a NG, PNP, NA, MLS, PLB, or EMT prefix.

Annual Drug Screening Test

PCCUA will require all allied health students to submit to a drug test under any or all of the following circumstances:

  • Annually each academic year as directed by the respective program director/coordinator
  • As a part of a drug abuse recovery program

Failure to comply with the scheduled drug test may result in immediate dismissal from the program.

If a student fails a drug test, the student will be dismissed from all allied health programs. The respective program director/coordinator will refer the individual failing the drug test for therapeutic counseling regarding drug withdrawal and rehabilitation.  

The readmission process to the same allied health program or admission process to another allied health program, for a student, who has previously failed a drug test, to any allied health program will include:

  • Attendance at Narcotics Anonymous or recognized drug abuse treatment program of choice. Evidence of participation must be sent to the Dean of Allied Health and respective program director/coordinator.
    • Acceptable evidence from NA shall consist of:
      • Written record of at least the date of each meeting
      • Name of group attended
      • Meeting purpose
      • Signed initials of the group or district representative of each group attended.
    • Acceptable evidence from a drug abuse treatment program of the individual’s choice shall consist of:
      • Verifiable completion certificate
  • Demonstrate at least six (6) months of drug abuse abstinence immediately prior to admission to the same allied health program or admission to another allied health program. Annual and random testing will be required at the individual’s expense.
  • Provide positive letters of reference from employers, if any, within the last six (6) months.
  • If the student is readmitted to the program or admitted to another allied health program and the individual fails another drug test, the student will be dismissed from the respective program and will not be eligible for readmission to, or provided a reference for any allied health program.
  • Reentry policies apply.
  • Students who are dismissed from any and all PCCUA allied health programs for failing a drug test will not be eligible for tuition or fee refunds for allied health courses with a NG, PNP, NA, MLS, PLB, or EMT prefix.

Campus Contacts

Jeanne McCullars | Practical Nursing Program Coordinator & Instructor
Shanna Pryor | Dean of Allied Health & Director of ADN Program
Helena-West Helena
Carriell Brown | Behavioral Health & Psychology Instructor
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